A three-day cinematic marathon with real-time films, screenings, public speeches, interactive performances, sirens, music, dance, and the Feast Day of Saint George in Elefsina.
From the 21st to the 23rd of April a festival will be held in the city of Elefsina. This innovative festival “interacts” with a religious, historical, and cultural institution such as the Feast Day of Saint George (patron saint of the city), incorporating new features into the collective consciousness with all-day and all-night film screenings, six hours of public talks, VR performances and live filming in public space with the aim of creating two films, in real time, that will be finalised with the participation of the audience, edited on site and screened at the end of the festival. A project developed by director Syllas Tzoumerkas, co-curated by academic and cultural practitioner Maria Chatzichristodoulou aka Maria X, and film critic and programmer Lorenzo Esposito, in collaboration with the Thessaloniki Film Festival and LADA – The Live Art Development Agency (London).
For three days and two nights, in a pop-up cinema in the city which is specially designed, even for sleeping, 3,480 minutes of true real-time cinematic and new-media adrenaline await viewers who can fall asleep during one movie and wake up during another! Helena Wittman’s Human Flowers of Flesh will be screened for the first time in Greece from this year’s Locarno Film Festival, with Angeliki Papoulia and Denis Lavant, Matt Adams’ and Blast Theory’s two legendary interactive monoplanes in the films Bloodyminded and My One Demand respectively, the queer masterpiece LA Plays Itself (Fred Halsted, 1972) in a restored copy, the films of Argentinian director Eduardo Williams, Lav Diaz’s 10-hour epic The Evolution of a Filipino Family, as well as films incorporating real-time techniques by Wim Wenders, Michael Glawogger, Monika Willi, Ulrich Seidl, Alexis Damianos, Hanna Polack, JP Sniadecki, Stefan Jarl, Avo Kapraelian, and many more artists from around the world.
At the same time, on Friday evening a 6-hour marathon of Public Speech at the historic West Attica Labour Union Building begins with a series of speeches and roundtables related to the festival’s themes (working class and live cinema) with the participation of distinguished speakers such as the artistic director of the Karlovy Vary Festival, Karel Och, the curator and creative director of Future Everything, Irini Papadimitriou, the artist, academic, and performer Niya B, the director and visual artist and founding member of Blast Theory, Matt Adams, the Italian media and Arabic studies scholar and co-founder of UntoldSyria, Donatella Della Ratta, the visual artist, academic and designer Chris Salter, and many more special guests to be announced soon.
In addition, two legendary interactive VR performances by the interdisciplinary team ZU-UK – pioneers in participatory theatre and performance – turn the tables at the West Attica Labour Union Building. The interactive performances Binaural Dinner Date – ZU-UK and Goodnight, Sleep Tight – ZU-UK have sold out all over the world and are presented for the first time in Greece, in Elefsina.
At the same time, the festival is incorporated into the Feast Day of Saint George on Pagalou Street. Market stalls, games, music, dances mixed with the Sirens live installation and other surprises curated by stage designer Penelope Valti. In this festival setting, the cameras are set up and filming starts for the two live-cinema films directed by the German documentary filmmaker Elke Lehrenkrauss and Syllas Tzoumerkas, with the participation of distinguished actors and artists as well as the audience of the festival itself.
After the end of filming, the West Attica Labour Union Building is transformed into a post-production hub, open to the public who can watch the editing and technical processing of the films. The two original cinematographic works will be the conclusion of the three-day festival and will be screened at the pop-up cinema on Sunday evening.
The Festival explores both the concept and image of the working class in Europe today, and the very aesthetics of live cinema, namely cinema that is produced or reacts in real time. The concept of live cinema is a fairly new and developing genre in media art that combines experimental approaches to narrative and non-narrative filmmaking with live music and performing arts. A real-time, multi-layered, adventurous “pandaemonium pandemum publicum” to the sound of Sirens.