Greece - Crete - Ierapetra August 2022
9th International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards
3rd International Film Festival of Crete & Awards

My dear friends,

As the Artistic Director and Founder of the “International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards”, the “International Film Festival of Crete & Awards”, the “International Music Festival” and the “Gastronomy Festival of Eastern Crete”, I welcome you, from 6th to 20th of August, to the 9th year of our five-star cultural institutions, here in the South, in Ierapetra, the Gate of the Mediterranean Sea, cradle and crossroads of cultures and continents.

Since 2014, we have raced upwards with the speed of light so that our Festivals are today main protagonists in the international cultural firmament. Fulfilling the highest criteria, they were evaluated with the Quality Label “EFFE” (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe), were ranked five-star film institutions by FilmFreeway in Hollywood and skyrocketed to the top of the world’s largest international festivals. We established cultural ties with countries-pioneers in the global film industry, such as China, in our magnificent cooperation “China Dream”, under which I stand as President of the “Silk Road International Film Festival” - one of the major international festivals. We attracted into the city of Ierapetra a multitude of professionals of the inland and international art scene, cultural ambassadors from all over the world and especially the cinephile audience, turning in just 9 years a popular travel and gastronomical destination into a center and pillar of a cultural and festival institution of international range.

In just nine years, we made our Festivals a meeting point and highlighting stage of the most renowned creators and young talented artists. Over 2.500 documentary and fiction films from all over the world have been screened and competed in our screening venues, from the Seaside Square of Culture to the Venetian Fortress and the Ottoman Mosque, while in parallel our Festivals have traveled live to 78 countries around the world. Our Juries, which each year consist of the most distinguished and acclaimed personalities of Letters and Arts, awarded prizes and honors to films which afterwards participated and stood out in other major international film festivals. With the arrival of the pandemic, we continued the flow of our Festivals with consistency - in contrast to other international festivals - and realized the coexistence of the digital reality with the live one, by screening all our films on our “digital square” through our website and which were viewed by thousands of spectators from even the most distant countries of the planet.

As part of the strategy-planning of our cultural diplomacy, we innovated once more this year, continuing our international co-productions with China, Israel, USA and expanding our collaborations with France, South Africa, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Ethiopia, but also with India – where I followed the footsteps of Alexander the Great up high in the Himalayas, in a documentary that will be screened in our open-air cinema in Mosque Square on Thursday August 11th at 9 p.m. For the first year we started our great collaboration with the Cannes Festival and the “Best for Fests” by Bruno Chatelin, as well as an international co-production with the USA and Oscar-Winners actors from Hollywood - which will grace our next year’s screenings in our 10th birthday.

On August 7th, the “3rd International Music Festival” will take place, which offers stage to young and established musicians and performers of our country, to the students of the Lasithi High School of Music, as well as to artists of international impact, bridging different sounds from West to East, in a unique opportunity to present their works on stage. On the same day, the “3rd Gastronomy Festival of Eastern Crete” will take you to a feast of flavors from restaurants of Ierapetra, distinguished chefs of Crete, local housewives and cultural associations.

As each year, this year again we present a multi-diverse program with a series of parallels events and tributes. Under the “9th Film Academy” August 12th to 17th, we will shine light on new talents from Crete and the rest of Greece through the films: “The new student” by the E2 Class of the 2nd Junior School of Ierapetra, directed by Athena Spyropoulou and Myron Siderakis, “With the musical keys in my hug” by the Lasithi High School of Music and “Sea Memory” by the General Lyceum of Saint Myron of Heraklion, as well as the “Educational Program for Young Filmmakers” of the Chania Film Festival. From August 8th to 11th at Youth Club, a Photo Exhibition of the distinguished photojournalist and war correspondent Dimitris Messinis will be presented, while again this year we are implementing the Tribute to the Amorgos Tourism Film Festival and the Poetry Collection Competition.

With great pleasure I invite you to the Opening Ceremony of the "9th International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards" and of the "3rd International Film Festival of Crete & Awards", on Saturday, August 6th at 9 p.m. at the Ierapetra Seaside Square, which this year are dedicated to the "100 Years from the Asia Minor Catastrophe" with the screening of the film "Land of the Sorrowful Virgin Mary", but also to the Greek international composer Vangelis Papathanasiou and his work "Mythodea" for NASA. The Closing & Awards Ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 13th at 9 p.m. at the Ierapetra Seaside Square, with a tribute to the "Abused Woman" and the screening of the documentary "We Stay Alive".

Awaiting you with love, here in the South, August 6th to 20th, to travel with sounds and images all over the world and live unforgettable magical August nights beside the Sea of Ierapetra and under the starlit sky of Crete.