City Link hosted the Opening Ceremony of the 25th Athens International Film Festival

On Wednesday 18th September the opening ceremony of the 25th Athens International Film Festival took place in a celebratory atmosphere at the PALLAS Theatre in the attendance of the festival’s Artistic Director, Loukas Katsikas and the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis.

The ceremony was also attended by the President of the City of Athens Cultural, Sport and Youth Organisation (OPANDA), Anna Rokofyllou, the President of Technopolis the City of Athens, Katerina Gagaki and the Managing Director of Technopolis,  Konstantinos Mpitzanis,  the Director of Hellas Film for Promotion and Distribution at the Greek Film Centre,  Konstantinos Aivaliotis, the Director of the National Historical Museum and Numismatic Museum, Giorgos Kakavas, the New Democracy MP,  Ioannis Pappas and the Museologist and Art Historian, Katerina Koskina. Other distinguished guests representing the entertainment sector also attended such as the directors Nicos Perakis, Nikos Karathanos, Yorgos Tsemberopoulos, Yorgos Zois, Syllas Tzoumerkas, Konstantina Kotzamani, Yannis Veslemes, Rinio Dragasaki, Elissavet Chronopoulou, Panagiotis Fafoutis, Markos Gastin, Kostantis Fragopoulos and the actors Michele Valley, Themis Bazaka, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Vasiliki Troufakou, Dimitris Lalos, Theo Nicholas Pagones, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Dimitra Matsouka, Christos Stergioglou, Marisha Triantafyllidou, Yannis Kokiasmenos, Nikolas Aggelis, Yannis Stankoglou, Valeria Hristodoulidou as well as the composers-singers Kostis Maravegias and Panos Mouzourakis.

The ceremony was also honoured by international guests such as the German actor Jonas Dassler, who stars in Fatih Akin’s film “The Golden Glove”, Adam Dubin, the American director of the film “Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story”, Uli M Schueppel, the German director of the film “The Breath” and Kaili Peng, collaborator and life partner of the great Edward Yang on whom the festival will be running an extensive tribute. The international guests were warmly welcomed by the festival’s Artistic Director, Loukas Katsikas.

The ceremony began with a montage of some of the moments of the 9th Athens Open Air Film Festival. The Athens International Film Festival’s Managing Director, Tatiana Pappa, welcomed the audience and made a reference to the Athens Open Air Film Festival.  Upon finishing her speech, she invited on stage the Festival’s Artistic Director, Mr Loukas Katsikas, who had a surprise for the audience.


The PALLAS Theatre screen lit up and the audience was greeted with shots of a very familiar and beloved, to Athenians, architectural masterpiece. Loukas Katsikas greeted the audience from ATTIKON Cinema and said: “We are in the place where the Athens International Film Festival started 25 years ago. The festival’s first screening took place in APOLLON Cinema in the afternoon of Thursday 15th September. The first screening at ATTIKON Cinema took place the following afternoon. For the next 17 years, these historic cinemas of Athens gracefully stood as our base, our headquarters, our pride, our jewel. But in February of 2012, our Festival and our city were violently and unjustly deprived of these two venues. Tonight, as the 25th Athens International Film Festival commences, we are once more unable to be there. Tonight we think of our beloved venues. Tonight, let us all hope that we, the Festival, and you, the countless cinemagoers of this city, may soon return to our “home”. So that Athens may once more rediscover its beloved venues.”

The audience responded with an emotionally charged and heartfelt applause.

The Artistic Director went on to point out that “throughout these years the City of Athens has been one of the main benefactors of the Athens International Film Festival” and so he invited onto the stage the Mayor of Athens, Mr Kostas Bakoyannis, who also expressed his wish and made a promise to “wager that the ATTIKON and APOLLON Cinemas will soon open again where everyone may share this great celebration of cinema”.

Following the opening ceremony a reception took place at City Link with the music selection of Pepper FM’s radio producer Liana Mastathi.

Addressing the 25th Athens International Film Festival, Mr. George I. Kormas, Executive General Manager, Head of Group Real Estate of  Piraeus Bank Group, CEO of Real Estate S.A. and Picar S.A., administration of City Link, stated that ‘’Events of such quality are aligned with our philosophy and Piraeus Bank Group will continue to support similar initiatives that promote arts and culture’’.