Greece - Crete - Ierapetra August 2023
10th International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards
4th 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 warmly welcome you with great joy to the 10th anniversary of our five-star Festivals, from August 5th to August 25th 2023, here in the South, in Ierapetra, the Gateway to the Mediterranean Sea, to embark on this journey once again, exploring the whole world through sounds, images, and emotions.

In August 2014, a grand vision of mine started taking shape. To transform my birthplace, a popular travel and gastronomic destination, into a center and pillar of an internationally acclaimed cultural and festival institution. Today, after ten years of hard work and dedication, our Festivals shine in the international cultural sphere, attracting professionals from the domestic and international artistic scene, cultural ambassadors from all over the world, and most importantly, cinephiles, to the city of Ierapetra. Our Festivals have met the highest standards, being awarded the “EFFE” Quality Label (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe), recognized as five-star “Gold” film institutions by Hollywood’s Film Freeway and ranked amongst the top international film festivals of the planet. We have forged cultural ties and established international networks with pioneering countries in the global film industry, including the USA, the UK, Spain, Japan, and China in the spectacular ongoing collaboration “China Dream,” under which I serve as the President of the “Silk Road International Film Festival,” one of the largest international film festivals.

A tremendous success and testament to the cultural quality of our Festivals, was our participation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where I inaugurated our exhibition booth at the Palais des Cannes - a rare honor for a Greek film festival. Cannes gave us an excellent opportunity to promote Greek productions and Greek film culture, as well as to showcase and elevate contemporary Ierapetra as a focal point of culture in the Mediterranean and Southern Europe, a city with a rich history, whose geographical location has been a crossroads of different civilizations and a gateway between continents for thousands of years.

This year, we will screen 260 films from 38 countries in our Official Competition Sections, under the critical eyes of our Juries, which include distinguished personalities from the fields of Literature, Arts, and Sciences. Additionally, our program will feature Panorama, Tributes and the “10th Film Academy of Crete”, along with the “Educational Program for Young Filmmakers” from the Chania Film Festival, attracting young talents from all over Greece.

In parallel, a series of events will creatively accompany our institutions, with lectures, educational seminars, photography and painting exhibitions, book presentations, poetry and lyric writing competitions, Cretan mantinada competitions, childrens’ activities, as well as Τributes, like the one this year to Spanish Cinema. The culmination of our cultural pluralism will be two exceptional one-day Festivals on August 6th at 9:00 PM at the Ierapetra Seaside Square: the “4th International Music Festival,” dedicated this year to the unforgettable Greek composer Manos Hatzidakis, where we will enjoy performances by young and established musicians. Simultaneously, the “4th Gastronomy Festival of Eastern Crete,” which will take us on a unique gastronomic journey through Cretan flavors, competing for the Awards of the Tasting Committee, composed of distinguished Chefs from all over Greece.

With great joy, I invite you, on Saturday, August 5th, at 9:00 PM, at the Ierapetra Seaside Square, to the Opening Ceremony of the “10th International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards”, dedicated this year to one of the world’s most crucial issues - Climate Change, as well as of the “4th International Film Festival of Crete & Awards,” this year dedicated to the most universal human contribution - World Volunteerism. Let’s celebrate our 10th anniversary with a spectacular music and dance program featuring international acclaimed artists, a unique Tribute to one of Greece’s greatest composers we recently lost, Ierapetrian Yiannis Markopoulos, honorary awards for personalities of the arts and society, live presentations by cultural ambassadors from all over the world and representatives of the Greek diaspora and the Honorary Screening of the documentary film “Malanas, the Untold Story of Alexander,” which competed for the “Iris” Awards of the Greek Academy of Cinema, taking us to a unique Himalayan community, reminiscent of Ancient Greece.

As always, all films will be available online, 24/7, on our “Digital Square”, through our official website Moreover, all live events will be streamed via live streaming. The Closing and Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, August 13th, at 9:00 PM at the Ierapetra Seaside Square, closing this year’s celebrations with an impressive artistic program full of surprises, including the Honorary Screening of the award-winning documentaries “The Dam” and “The Gorges.”

I eagerly await you with love, here in the South, from August 5th to August 25th, to spread the aroma of our birthday to the whole world, to travel with sounds and images, and to experience unforgettable magical August nights by the Sea of Ierapetra and under the starlit sky of Crete.

A heartfelt thank you for these invaluable 10 years.

Εleni Vlassi
Artistic Director