The Athens International Film Festival / Opening Nights, was founded by the Athens Film Society with the intention of highlighting lesser-known aspects/genres of independent cinema, introducing audiences to some of the best productions of the year and establishing itself as the ideal opening of the upcoming movie season. The Festival was launched in September 1995 and continues successfully until now.

According to a CINEMA magazine survey, the Festival audience roughly consists of 60.000 film-goers, who are interested in learning about the latest movie trends from all over the world and watching the most successful productions of the season before anyone else. Our goal is to present them with a handpicked selection of independent productions from all over the world.

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Features

  • Amartya Bhattacharyya speaks to Unsung Films

    Amartya Bhattacharyya speaks to Unsung Films

    Amartya Bhattacharyya, writer-director of The Lost Idea, speaks to Unsung Films The Lost Idea is a fantasy driven tale of two men, a poet and a painter, claiming possession over the same Idea, in a rural village portrayed as a wonderland. Idea…

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  • An Interview with Colin Broderick

    An Interview with Colin Broderick

    Colin Broderick is a playwright, filmmaker and author. He grew up in the heart of Northern Ireland and was raised Irish Catholic during The Troubles. In 1988, at the age of twenty, he moved to the Bronx to drink, work…

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  • Les Diaboliques: Could the Wife Not Hate the Mistress?

    Les Diaboliques: Could the Wife Not Hate the Mistress?

    When a man cheats on his wife, it is often the case that the mistress will be considered the problem. She will be despised as well as envied – representing, in the wife’s mind, the cause and result of a…

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  • An Interview with Lindy Heymann

    An Interview with Lindy Heymann

    An Interview with Lindy Heymann, Director of Showboy, Kicks and The Laughing King Lindy Heymann is an award winning director who received a BIFA for Best Directorial Debut for her feature film Showboy, which also won Best Film at the Milan…

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  • Poker Night: A Tough Market for Indies

    Poker Night: A Tough Market for Indies

    For writer and director Greg Francis, the bulk of his work has been in television, working on shows like Outrageous 911, FBI: Criminal Pursuit and Wicked Attraction. However, recently Francis made his first steps into film. Taking on a lot…

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  • Cartel Land

    Cartel Land

    Danger and documentary have always gone hand in hand. The great masters of the genre have always strived to put their art before their safety. Matthew Heineman takes risk to a new level in Cartel Land, proving himself to be…

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  • The Gambler vs The Gambler

    The Gambler vs The Gambler

    Back in 1974, New York born writer and director James Toback was able to draw on his personal experiences with gambling as well as his experiences with teaching whilst he taught creative writing to students at the City College of…

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  • Matthew Orobko’s Top 10 Films of 2014

    Matthew Orobko’s Top 10 Films of 2014

    10.  Citizenfour The year’s best documentary also happens to be one of the year’s most tense films. Chronicling the few paranoid days in which NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks with journalist Glenn Greenwald from a hotel room in Hong Kong…

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  • The Fall

    The Fall

    The bulk of dramas existing on television today seem to revolve around a serial killer hunted by a talented detective. It is also true that in these dramas, the antagonists are portrayed as genius murderers who go about their crimes…

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Founded in 1959 by a group of scholars in the humanities, anthropology, sociology, ethnology and mass-media studies, the Festival dei Popoli, a not-for-profit organization, has been active for over fifty years in the promotion and study of social documentary cinema.

Over the course of its half-century of activity, the Festival has hosted the screening of the best documentary productions at the international level and has introduced to the public the most noted filmmakers in the field: Jean Rouch, Vittorio De Seta, D A Pennebaker, Richard Leacock, Gianfranco Mingozzi, Lindsay Anderson, Abbas Kiarostami, Nagisa Oshima, Ian Dunlop, Cecilia Mangini, Fred Wiseman, Artavazd Pelechian, and many others.

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Documentaries

  • SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock

    SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock

    Mick Rock was the man behind album covers such as Lou Reed’s Transformer, and The Stooges’ Raw Power, as well as David Bowie’s iconic Starman video, and was the creator of almost literally every photograph that has built up our…

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  • David Lynch – The Art Life

    David Lynch – The Art Life

    Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes and Olivia Neergaard-Holm could have not filmed David Lynch – The Art Life differently and still paid a fair tribute to the artist. Here, Lynch is seen out of his element, but more comfortable and at…

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  • Castro

    Castro

    Castro was the name given to an old occupied building in Rome where poor people, the unemployed, the retired, foreign families would come together, live together, and find a place of their own in an attempt to re-establish their lives….

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  • Prescription Thugs

    Prescription Thugs

    There are so many twists and turns in Chris Bell’s Prescription Thugs that the viewer is left feeling slightly disoriented by the time it finishes. Whether or not you’ve seen 2008’s Bigger, Stronger, Faster, the follow-up documentary Prescription Thugs released seven…

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  • Snow Monkey

    Snow Monkey

    Anyone who has seen one or more of what could be termed the new wave of Australian filmmaking, that includes films such as Animal Kingdom and the more recent Partisan will know what I mean when attempting to describe the…

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  • Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

    Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

    Werner Herzog’s latest documentary is just as enjoyable and just as hilarious as the German master’s best; strangely reminiscent of earlier works like Little Dieter Needs to Fly – the way Herzog moves around his subjects, manipulates the angles, stages…

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  • The Ambassador of God

    The Ambassador of God

    “I’ll be right out, I’m not done playing with myself” said Brother Anthony, the Ambassador of God – the campest most eccentric, controversial ambassador God could ever hope to land. “There is no God – God is love”, he states…

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  • A Different Brain

    A Different Brain

    A Different Brain deals with a diverse group of people from different parts of Britain who have all suffered damage to the brain in one form or another. These accidents have impacted their lives enormously, leaving them not as incoherent…

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  • The Never Ending Factory of the Duomo

    The Never Ending Factory of the Duomo

    (Original Title: L’Infinita Fabbrica del Duomo) A peculiar documentary film-description-presentation of Milan’s superb cathedral. A church larger than life and perhaps as close to the sublime as we have gotten in recent centuries. A work constantly progressing, as the title…

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From the beginning, the viewer finds himself piecing everything together slowly but with great eagerness. The director, Daniel Kremer, feeds in small doses of coherence until the picture is wholly clear.

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The camera shifts from individual to individual, but Civati places most focus on a young couple living together in a cramped apartment, and as we get to know them, their story evolves into one of intense love, regret, and day to day struggle in which their conversations and outbursts shed light on national difficulties, Italy’s failings at not losing sight of the ordinary people that comprise its population, and an ongoing effort to find employment in an atmosphere that seems set on not providing it.

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Klinger layers up his tale, splitting it in three parts, exploring two different points of view, before he moves onto what really happened. His two protagonists, Jake (Anton Yelchin) and Mati (Lucie Lucas) are each broken in their way, trapped within life and crazy in the most harmless and harmful way. There’s a quality about them we cannot really explain; they’re younger than their age would suggest and rebellious in the most wonderful of ways. At the same time, they’re criminals – stalking, hurting, pushing each other away.

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McGregor has taken Roth’s novel and extracted what gives it its shape. The film is a combination of the principle events in the book – all the defining moments in Swede Levov’s descent into the American Nightmare – and a neat collection of the novels finer and more moving details.

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Film Reviews

  • Manifesto

    Manifesto

    Thirteen different Cate Blanchetts taking on thirteen very diverse roles, from a homeless man to a new reporter or a rock chick sick of it all — what else is new? Well, a lot. Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto is an overpowering eye candy,…

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  • Drowning by Numbers

    Drowning by Numbers

    Take your favourite Wes Anderson film and imagine it merged with a lesser-known Jean-Luc Godard picture and Ealing Studios’ Kind Hearts and Coronets and you’re close to understanding what British director Peter Greenaway is all about. Drowning by Numbers (1988) was played as…

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  • Una Mujer Fantastica

    Una Mujer Fantastica

    I saw Una Mujer Fantastica in this year’s edition of Biografilm Festival in Bologna, where although the filmmaker Sebastián Lelio could not be present, he had sent a little video introducing his film. That brief but striking introduction was extremely…

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  • American Scumbags

    American Scumbags

    If an attempt at describing this film is made, readers and potential viewers of American Scumbags will doubtlessly find no reason to explore Dakota Bailey’s latest film and will most likely find the idea of it reprehensible and irredeemable –…

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  • Wild

    Wild

    There’s a great reference to Cheryl Strayed‘s Wild in the Gilmore Girls reunion and it comes at the unlikeliest of times from the unlikeliest person. It’s been more than six months since the classic series’ spin-off got released by Netflix and…

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  • The Damned United

    The Damned United

    When Brian Clough took on the Leeds United of 1974, to say he had taken on more than he could chew would be an understatement. The Damned United is a fictionalized account of his brief stint with Don Revie’s team,…

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  • Look Who’s Back

    Look Who’s Back

    (Original Title: Er Ist Wieder Da) German people are not known to me for their sense of humour – they are though for their atrocities. David Wnendt changes this around completely, embarking on a highly self-deprecating comedy that is painfully…

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  • Porto

    Porto

    Porto was produced by Jim Jarmusch, and very obviously so. Long, seemingly simple and void sequences, come to conjure up life and its most beautiful and devastating moments in just a few minutes. Whoever says these are long scenes where…

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  • Raise Your Kids on Seltzer

    Raise Your Kids on Seltzer

    Raise Your Kids on Seltzer is a film about a married couple, a film about two “deprogrammers” whose job it is to kidnap vulnerable and brainwashed cult members for concerned family and friends. It makes no effort to lay it…

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Awakenings is an extremely well-written story that can perhaps be divided into three parts. Each part contributes differently to the viewer’s experience. The first half is largely comedic, offering a glimpse into a psychiatric ward that is reminiscent of McMurphy’s experience in Milos Forman’s adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…

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Interviews

  • Amartya Bhattacharyya speaks to Unsung Films

    Amartya Bhattacharyya speaks to Unsung Films

    Amartya Bhattacharyya, writer-director of The Lost Idea, speaks to Unsung Films The Lost Idea is a fantasy driven tale of two men, a poet and a painter, claiming possession over the same Idea, in a rural village portrayed as a wonderland. Idea…

    Read more

  • An Interview with Colin Broderick

    An Interview with Colin Broderick

    Colin Broderick is a playwright, filmmaker and author. He grew up in the heart of Northern Ireland and was raised Irish Catholic during The Troubles. In 1988, at the age of twenty, he moved to the Bronx to drink, work…

    Read more

  • An Interview with Lindy Heymann

    An Interview with Lindy Heymann

    An Interview with Lindy Heymann, Director of Showboy, Kicks and The Laughing King Lindy Heymann is an award winning director who received a BIFA for Best Directorial Debut for her feature film Showboy, which also won Best Film at the Milan…

    Read more

  • Brent Chesanek talks to Zachary Wyman about City World

    Brent Chesanek talks to Zachary Wyman about City World

    In support of Brent Chesanek’s new film Academy and its production campaign, here is an interview with the filmmaker about his previous film, City World. Questions were sent on April 4, 2013; answers were received about two months later. …What’s…

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  • Paddy’s Paradise

    Paddy’s Paradise

    One touch of nature makes the whole world kin -William Shakespeare When I occasionally have the privilege of watching independent films made by aspiring film directors, I am reminded of the beauty and addiction of cinema. Despite my personal disinterest…

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  • Interview: Mike Freedman on Critical Mass

    Interview: Mike Freedman on Critical Mass

    Unsung Films watched Mike Freedman’s Critical Mass this year when it screened at the Biografilm Festival in Bologna. On approaching the filmmaker with a short review of his documentary, we ended up with a great deal more: a 3000-word interview taking readers deep into the story of how Freedman’s film came together, how it affected him – both personally and professionally — and what we should expect in the years to come.

  • Pushwagner: The Man Behind The Mask, The Men Behind The Film

    Pushwagner: The Man Behind The Mask, The Men Behind The Film

    Some documentarians are not content with being journalists, searching for the objective truth of a subject. Directors Even Benestad and August B. Hanssen pushed their medium to its limits in Pushwagner, a “documentary” (if that’s the right word) tracing a Norwegian pop artist known for dystopian sketches in a disarmingly simple, comic book style. “Maybe we could do this ‘Portrait of an Artist’ in a different, new way,” says Even in Sutton Place Hotel, Toronto. Pushwagner is having its North American premiere at Hot Docs.

  • Cannes Short Film Corner: The Foreigner by Alethea Avramis

    Cannes Short Film Corner: The Foreigner by Alethea Avramis

    A short film involves an entirely different creative process to a feature or a series. A filmmaker has very little time, less than 30 minutes to tell a story, grip his audience, evoke emotions and develop characters adequately. Indeed very few filmmakers manage to come up with shorts that tick all these boxes and the fact that Alethea Avramis’ The Foreigner does all this in less than half an hour and in a subtle and artistic way, is exactly what makes this film stand out among other shorts of its genre.

  • Hot DocsToronto: The Punk Syndrome

    Hot DocsToronto: The Punk Syndrome

    Punk was always a genre that found its stripped-down groove in unqualified anger. You can forward a lot of theories on why young men and women embraced punk in the 1970s (Watergate? Stagflation? A backlash against Simon and Garfunkel?), but you cannot deny the anti-establishment philosophy that is central to its power and appeal.

Unsung Cult

 

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie travels alongside Cosmo as he moves through his life as a small-time club owner on Sunset Strip, and trying to deal with a gambling debt that he doesn’t have time for. Eventually, he is talked into killing a wealthy Chinese Mafia boss: his creditors’ rival. What is attractive about Cosmo is that you can never really figure him out…

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Unsung 90s

 

In Mike Nichols’ film women are not just out to prove their worth and climb the social and professional ladder, they’re also out to get ahead of other women with the same intentions – sometimes even to stop them from advancing altogether. They have to neutralize their competitors as well as those in their team – it’ll be either the strongest, smartest or most ruthless that will get anywhere worth mentioning.

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Unsung Journey

 

Fatah can’t confess his love to his own wife, but he does it constantly to his cow. He’s simple, but he’s also rather complex. Traditional and ahead of his time. There is a great communication gap between him and his family, but the deepest understanding between him and his cow. She’s not another member of the family, she’s the most important member…

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