Masterclass with Pawel Pawlikowski | 17-Sep-2022


Among the undisputed highlights of this year’s programme at the Drama International Short Film Festival was the masterclass with Oscar-winning creator Paweł Pawlikowski. Held as part of the Cinematherapy programme of the Festival and followed by a discussion between the Festival’s artistic director Yannis Sakaridis, psychotherapist Denise Nikolakou, and – naturally – the audience, the event proved to be a very successful part of the ‘DISFF in Athens’ function, with crowds filling up the great hall of the Greek Film Archive building.

The four-day event of the Drama Festival which took place at the Greek Film Archive was successfully concluded last night, with sold-out screenings of films from the Festival’s National Competition Programme.

The Cinematherapy programme, curated by Denise Nikolakou, is now synonymous with Paweł Pawlikowski, as it was the Oscar-winning director himself who inaugurated the programme with his film Cold War (2018) during the 43rd event of the Drama International Short Film Festival in 2020.

During the event at the Greek Film Archive, the audience enjoyed a cinematic collage of the director’s prolific work, with excerpts from the important period of his BBC documentaries (1990-1995 – From Moscow to Pietushki, Dostoyevsky’s Travels, Serbian Epics, Tripping with Zhirinovsky), from the second period of his fiction filmmaking (1998-2004 – The Stringer, Last Resort, My Summer of Love), as well as works from his third (The Woman in the Fifth) and fourth (Ida, Cold War) periods (2011-2018).

You can watch the entire masterclass and discussion with the director here:

DISFF45 LIVE STREAMING - Pawel Pawlikowski

Talking with Denise Nikolakou in the discussion that ensued, Paweł Pawlikowski was charming, expressive, and humorous. The creator revealed that he loves, empathises and identifies with the heroes of his films from a psychological point of view, even when the characters are unlikeable. “Of course, that does not mean I consciously try to deliver any kind of cinematherapy when making these films”, he clarified. “When I feel I am starting to lecture the audience, I am immediately deactivated; I push the OFF button, because this is something I don’t want to be doing. I have always made films that expressed what was in my mind at the given time”.

Regarding the documentaries he filmed in the 1990s, produced by BBC (editor’s note: Pawlikowski lived in England since he was 14 years old), the director said he was influenced by documentaries made in the country by great creators like Kieślowski. This influence led him to give this Polish “approach” to his films, which were more artistic and lyrical than the conventional British documentaries of the era. “Polish creators functioned within a different framework, that of totalitarian state control”, he explained. “Thus, they were forced to invent ways to deceive the regime in order to say what they wanted to say, which had an impact on the aesthetic of their films”.

In his documentaries, he captured “the birth of nationalism in Europe during that time”. “It was interesting to capture it all not with today’s digital means, but rather on 16mm film”, he said. “Today we are trapped in a virtual reality, but back then making films was much more interesting. Today we film current events endlessly and without critical thought. Back then we used film, so everything we shot was selected very consciously, as it had a specific purpose; we did not shoot in a general and vague manner. We wanted to capture a poetic or funny scene”.

Talking about his documentaries in contrast to the fiction films he created, the director said that “even though the framework is more realistic in one case and more imaginary in the other, I never discriminated fully between the two, as it always felt like I was “toying” with reality and using a kind of stylisation, at least to a certain extent. That is maybe due to the fact that I really hate the way in which the media depict the world and “reality”. Just look at the way they portray Russia and France today…”.

Using his film “Tripping with Zhirinovsky” as an example, the director underlined that “Zhirinovsky was a deplorable, terrible guy; his time was before the era of Trump, but his course is very indicative of what happened to the vast and incredible country of Russia”. Still, much like it happened with his documentary “Serbian Epics”, which he shot in Bosnia during the 1992 war, he said: “You fall in love with your subject matter. Something inside you motivates you and rings a bell within”.

Speaking of his incredible film “Ida”, which he shot in Poland, Paweł Pawlikowski confessed that, during his puberty, he also discovered that his paternal grandmother was Jewish. “I had no idea, and then suddenly I found out about this adventure of my family, about Auschwitz… In that sense, Ida was a very personal film for me”.

In Poland “we have this obsession with history, to the extent that it crushes everything else. I want to create real, three-dimensional characters – besides, truth is a very controversial concept…”.

When asked about which stage in the creation of a film fascinates him the most, he answered with a big laugh: “None! It is a very stressful procedure. Perhaps the only enjoyable part is the moment that something clicks, you get an idea and you think, “Great, that might just work””. And when asked about the moment he realises his film has achieved its goal? “You cannot know that”, he said. “You often wonder, “Ok, what do I do now?”. The thing that offers a kind of satisfaction is holding a first screening for selected friends. If they like it, you feel that something beautiful is happening. When people start discovering your work, you feel that your efforts are being rewarded”. Regarding his relationship with actors, he said that it doesn’t fit the mould. “There is no standard method, because each and every actor is different”.

Discussing the effects of the pandemic on filmmakers and cinema in general with Yannis Sakaridis, he noted that “as a creator, I feel that in today’s age of digital communication, it is getting harder and harder to make a film that has a purpose, a film with cultural content. In my 68 years of age, I admit that I often think: Why should I even bother? Why make the effort? Who cares? At the beginning, digital platforms pretended to care about cinema, but it is now clear they are all exclusively oriented towards making marketable films. At the same time, film crews are either extremely expensive, or they are busy making blockbusters. How can you make a film like Ida today? I grew up with a kind of cinema that is starting to disappear…”.

He concluded: “After the age of 60, it is difficult to maintain the same level of enthusiasm. I wish I were younger so I could fall in love with cinema all over again…”.


DISFF 45 (2022) And the winner is…!!!



Jury Head: Konstantinos Giannaris, Director

Jury Members:

  1. Markella Giannatou, Actress
  2. Marina Gioti, Filmmaker and visual artist
  3. Aris Dimokidis, Journalist
  4. Ioakim Mylonas, Director, Artistic Director of International Short Film Festival of Cyprus


Thank you Drama and Drama International Short Film Festival for the hospitality and for giving us the opportunity to be here. Thanks to a successful preselection process, we had the opportunity to judge a wide and strong range of films, from first time directors to established filmmakers. Our main interest was the sincere and sometimes successful attempt of the creators to deal with current social issues but also – something very pleasant to us – with different genres of cinema. They conveyed it to us in their own unique and quirky way and impressed us with their maturity, passion and humor.

We felt very satisfied that the issues related to the personal and social life of women were high up in the agenda and also with the strong presence of female creators, regardless of the fact that we often had objections to the final result, and that we would definitely like even more strong female roles. At the same time we saw surprisingly mature and sensitive depictions of both toxic and non-toxic masculinity, while also successful and hilarious satire on male narcissism.

The social integration of immigrant communities, or more to the point: the depiction of the lives of second generation children were themes that pleased us with their presence. However, we would also have liked a more robust and contemporary approach, devoid of stereotypes and facts deriving from past times.

Sexual identity, in all its forms, was depicted in a guilt-free mood, finally conveying real life without prudence or deciet. But still, in some cases, we would have liked a more complete result in terms of script and direction.

Regarding the depiction of urban violence and marginalized groups, there was an honest attempt from the creators to convey these worlds to us, but we also believe that the strength and effectiveness of this brave effort was undermined by fruitless obsessions with ethics and morals.

The sea and the water elements have obviously been the protagonists of this year’s prοductions, and we hope next year you will take the mountains!

Above all, however, as our role as jury demands, we looked without prejudice for quality and for the finest exploration of cinema as art.


  • Golder Dionysus – Best Film Award

To the film “5pm seaside” directed by Valentin Stejskal

A truly sensitive and beautifully simple cinematographic narrative which has been with us ever since we watched the film and has succeeded in effortlessly transmitting the wounded, inner world of its main characters.

The award is accompanied by three prizes: Finos Film offers a cash prize of 4,000 euros, ERT offers a cash prize of 3,000 euros and the Hellenic Film Center offers a cash prize of 2,500 euros.

  • Best Direction Award “Tonia Marketaki”

To Michalis Kimonas for the film “KIDDO”

A refreshing and surprisingly enjoyable directorial perspective that masterfully manages to maintain the pace in a film shot in one room.

The Award is accompanied by a cash prize of 3,500 euros offered by the Hellenic Film Center as well as Post Production services worth 2,500 euros offered by Stefilm.

  • Special Jury Award

to Evi Kalogiropoulou for the film “On Xerxes Throne”

Because it is a film that depicts the male, female and non-binary body at the limits of fluidity and seeks forbidden affection and contact within a harsh and archetypal masculine industrial environment.


to Nasos Gatzoulis for the film “Toxic Magnus”

An inventive hybrid documentary, a torrential and honest confession of an insecure and self-destructive protagonist-victim of toxic masculinity, which also made us honestly laugh with our hearts.

The award is accompanied by two cash prizes: 3,500 euros from the Greek Cypriot Association and 1,000 euros from ERT.


to Thanos Tokakis for the film “Tokakis or What’s My Name”

A complete and enjoyable, even hilarious, satire of Greek kitsch and the frenzy surrounding our public image, full of self-criticism.

The award is accompanied by a prize of 3,500 euros, offered by the Greek Cycladic Society.


to Dimitris Zouras for the film “Cactus”

A bold perspective that is particularly well served by the performance of its up-and-coming young protagonist who wanders in an inhospitable Athens looking to find himself.

The award is accompanied by a prize of 2,000 euros, sponsored by Onassis Culture.


to Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos for his performance in the film “5pm Seaside” by Valentin Stejskal

Because Tsitsiopoulos, with finesse and austerity – and with a wounded interiority – managed to convey the psyche of a man trying to negotiate love and lust.


To Niovi Charalabous for her performance in the film “Daphne” by Tonia Misiali

For the honest and direct performance on a difficult subject matter discussing female sexuality and the female body.


To Vasilis Gerodimos for the film  «PENDULUS» by Dimitris Gkotsis

For the clean and realistic feel of the sometimes inhospitable urban space.

The award is accompanied by a prize with sound design and mixing surround 5.1 services from the company DNA LAB.


To Nikos Linardopoulos and Leandros Ntounis

For the film «Under The Lake» by Thanasis Trouboukis

We were pleasantly surprised by the harmonious coexistence but also by the simultaneous contrast between the natural and the industrial environment.


to Nikos Vavouris for the filmLast Sigh by Haris Raftogiannis.

In this film, we really liked the masterful, sharp and yet simple changes of pace.


to Yiannis Kanakis for the film “Magma” by Lia Tsalta

An impressive picture that effectively served a difficult cinematic genre with consistency and perfection, creating a fantastic world of its own.


to Alexandros Drymonitis for the film “Magma” by Lia Tsalta

For the evocative musical score that decisively contributes to the creation of the film’s cinematic universe.


to Marli Aliferi

for the film “Tokakis or What’s My Name” by Thanos Tokakis

A film with a dizzying change of attires with references to Greek kitsch that delightfully followed the speedy pace of the film.

The Greek clothing company Enjoy Fashion Point dresses the next film of the costume designer with its products.


to Eva Goulakou for the film “KIDDO” by Michalis Kimonas

Because he experimented with conventions of the traditional form successfully bringing them into the present day and found inventive solutions that were highly imaginative and artistic.


To Ioanna Lygizou for Make-up, to Panos Kondylis for Special Make-up Effects and to Michalis Gkiokas for Special Effects in the film KIDDO by Michalis Kimonas

Because it is an extremely successful achievement, reminding us of the work of the pioneering photographer Cindy Sherman, using a grotesque approach managed to skillfully serve the tone of the film.


Head of Jury: Vasilis Kekatos, Filmmaker and Visual Artist

Jury: Claire Diao, Distributor and Film Critic

Basim Magdy, Filmmaker and Visual Artist


To the Film Techno, Mama by Saulius Baradinskas from Lithuania

The 2022 DISFF Grand Prix goes to a striking film which combines toughness and tenderness in a unique way through music, frantic rhythm, daring acting and impressive mise-en-scène. This punch-in-the-face experience is a masterful demonstration of the complexity of expressing love and the urgent need to leave.

The award is accompanied by a 4.000 euros cash prize, a contribution of the company Raycap.


To the film «The Saboteur» by Ansii Kasitonni from Finland

Goes to a fearless director who made a memorable film that captures the magic of the process of filmmaking with humor and innovation. This love letter to cinema employs action to create a film within a film.


European Film Academy Award Nomination for Best Short Film – EFA 2022

To the film The Salamander Child by Théo Degen from Belgium

Goes to a film that successfully combines the wild imagination of a teenage boy with an absurd sense of humor. The tenderness used to film his two alienated worlds mirrors his escapist process of mourning and invites us inside a surprising world of dreams and wonder.


To the film Under The Lake by Thanasis Trouboukis from Greece

Goes to a captivating 16mm experimental film that seizes the stillness of submerged and forgotten villages. While drifting through smooth and meditative footage, the filmmaker manages to recall the ghost story of invisible lives.


To the film «Cherries» by Vytautas Katkus from Lithuania

Goes to a producer who trusted a filmmaker with a very strong and personal vision. Through their collaboration, the film brilliantly transcends a seemingly banal father-and-son relationship into poetry.


European Values Award #ThisisEU 2022, under the auspices of the European Commission in Greece

To the film «August 13th» by Ventsislav Lyubenov Sariev from Bulgaria

Goes to a debut film that also made its World Premiere at DISFF. It deals with human dignity and the right to fight for freedom and equality. This emotional short, shot in Eastern Europe, confronts us with the darkest parts of coming-of-age, and leaves the door open for a hopeful future.


To the film «Plurabelle» by Sacha Amaral from Argentina

Goes to a debut film which made its World Premiere at DISFF and gradually exposes the loneliness of youth while seeking love and exploring sexuality through emotional detachment. For its natural acting and sensitive directing, the award goes to: Plurabelle directed by Sacha Amaral from Argentina.

  • DEVELOPMENT AWARD (Onassis Film Development Grant)

to Thanasis Troumpoukis from Greece for his film “Under The Lake”

The award is accompanied by a cash prize of 10,000 euros, offered by ONASSIS CULTURE, to develop their feature film script.

  • “HUMAN VALUES” AWARD to the film “Techno, Mama” by Saulius Barandinskas from Lithuania.

The Parliament TV Station (Vouli) awards the “Human Values” prize of the Hellenic Parliament to a film of the International Competition section which, by composing with skill, narrative economy and powerful performances the portrait of a young man trying to fulfill his dreams, highlights the problem of domestic violence violence and lack of love.



Themis Bazaka, Actress
Lena Divani, Author
Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Filmmaker


First of all, let’s thank the festival and the city of Drama for the hospitality and the artistic director and the programmers for their trust. We have been thinking for a long time what we should tell you and we decided to tell you the honest truth:

We envy you!

You are living the best moments of your life. You are at the beginning of the beginning, in the phase where you can dream, take risks, get out of your comfort zone, make fantastic mistakes that may not even be mistakes and watch thousands of films. Short, long, old, new, from the International Student Programme maybe – we were constantly wondering why the theaters were half empty when the International Student Programme was on -, watch delightfully bad or irritatingly good films that will inspire you and take your work further.

We won’t keep going because we are jealous of you, instead we will reward you!

Let’s start with the International Competition awards.


  • Special Mention

To the film “Before Pandemic and War, There Were Bed Bugs and Love!” by Nuruzzaman Khan from Chech Republic and India

To a film with a cool hybrid narrative, a disarming sincerity, which convinced us that unfortunately love is not as effective as a pesticide.

  • Distribution Award “Heat Me Up!”

To the film «Love You More Than Peanut Butter» by Ariadni Aggeliki Thyfronitou Lytou from Greece

Sponsorship of Radiator IP Sales, awarded to a Greek film in the programme, and offering representation for an integrated formulation of a commercial strategy, which will be addressed to buyers abroad (television stations and platforms).

  • Queer Student Award: “Loud & Proud!”

To the film “I Should Feed My Cat” by Abram Cedra from Belgium

To a film that magnified with chilling precision the disease of our age. How can I look for a caress if I’m afraid it will end in a slap?

  • Special Jury Award: “Rising Star”

To the film “The Dependent Variables” by Lorenzo Tardella  from Italy

Because no one in the festival flirted better than these two kids!

  • GRAND PRIX STUDENT: “Almost Famous”

To the film “On The Edge” by Matteo Sanders from Austria

The main characters live on the edge, but  the film has it all, narrative skill, emotional intensity, talented actors. We hope “very famous” soon!

The prize is accompanied by the amount of 1500 euros offered by Metropolitan College.


  • Special Mention

To Ioanna Digenaki for the film “HAIR”

  • Editing Award

To Danae Xilogianni Gkontria for the film  «Love you more than peanut butter»

The company Green Pixel makes their award-winning editing suite available for their next film.

  • Best Acting Award

to Elina Tsiorbatzi & Eleni Georgakis for the film “Tsoulakia / Hussies”

  • Sound Design Award

to Giorgos Bisdikis for the film “Photosensitivity / Sun & Shadow”

The award is accompanied by sound design and 5.1 surround mixing services from DNA LAB and also a 6-month internship at Green Pixel.

  • Set Design Award

to Eva Kourelia & Eleni Sampri for the film “Tsoulakia / Hussies”. The award is accompanied by a 6-month internship at the Green Pixel company.

  • Dinos Katsouridis” Photography Award

to Michalis Gajoias for the film “Sun & Shadow”

The award is accompanied by full technical coverage for the production of the cinematographer’s next film, courtesy of the Katsouridis family.

  • Screenplay Award

to Stelios Christoforou for the film “Sammer”

The award is accompanied by a cash prize of 1,500 offered by the ANT1 Screenplay School.

  • Directing Award

to Semeli Safou for the film “All that remains”

The award comes with the free disposal of a camera for their next short film by Karamanos STUDIOS.

  • “Frida Liappa” Greek Study Film Award

to Despina Mavridou for the movie “Hussies”

The Award comes with a cash prize of 5,000.



To the film Gardens Petrified, by Ali Cabbar from Turkey

A fiction film that illustrates the selection of Short and Green in the best possible way, portraying a strong story with a well orchestrated editing rhythm.

Accompanied by a cash prize of 4,000 euros sponsored by CYCLOPS

  • Special Jury Award

To the film Aralkum, from Daniel Asadi Faezi and Mila Zhluktenko from Uzbekistan

A film that combines a unique mix of documentary and experimental form. A warning story about the uncontrolled range that a human intervention to the environmental balance can take. A new cinematic reality very well constructed by the authors, in an impressive movie.

  • Special Mention

To the film Sirens by Ilaria Di Carlo from Germany

To an impressive and poetic movie, not only for the filming, the beautiful rhythm, the harmony and the brilliant music that made it an unforgettable experience. But also for the decision to make the catastrophe a poem. For the tenderness of embracing the darkness and lighting our souls through art. Well, that’s a way to save us.



The winner of the Animation Competition is A Garbage Man by the Portuguese Director Laura Goncalves

It is a complete film where the animation technique and the storyline turn a very personal story into a story that can catch us all.

Congratulations to the Winner !



To the film ‘Tavern of Shadows” by İlyas Soner Yıldırım from Turkey

The award is accompanied by a prize of 2000 euros from FINOS FILM.


To the film “The weight of Air” by Carlos Ormeño Palma, from Peru

The award is accompanied by a prize of 1,500 euros from the Greek Cypriot Association.

Sessions of further development and script corrections on selected projects:

#bagets rider FREE HD, Lester Cristal, Philippines

HAG / Didimokorfo by Achilleas Gatsopoulos, Germany / Greece


  • ETEKT AWARD to Dimitris Gkotsis for the film «PENDULUS»

The Technical Excellence Award of the Union of Greek Cinema and Television Technicians for achieving a functionally structured result from every filmmaking aspect.

  • Union of Greek Cinematographers (G.S.C)

to Fili Olsefski for the film “Yama” by Andreas Vakalios

For the script’s robustness and inventiveness,  illuminating childhood and difficult social nuances.

The Union of Greek Cinematographers (GSC) is excited to participate, for another year, in the process of following the evolution of visual storytelling, of cinematography to put it simply, in the National Competition Programme of the Drama Festival and to distinguish a fellow young filmmaker.

This year the committee members were Olympia Mytilineou, Christos Karamanis and George Fredzos.

The award is accompanied by a prize worth 2,000 euros, an offer by the ANMAR image laboratory in services for colour correction and DCP.

  • Federation of Cinematic Clubs of Greece (OKLE)

in the film “No Tomorrow” by Amerissa Basta

For the realistic depiction of the main character, who, inside a problematic environment, with the absence of a father being strong, carries the burden of the family and holds morality and dignity high and for the immediacy of the image, the creative use of hip hop music and the atmosphere of the natural spaces, which contribute positively to the artistic effect and the truth of the story.

  • Panhellenic Union of Cinema Critics (P.E.K.K.)

in the film “Pendulus” by Dimitris Gotsis

For the director’s ability to balance the internal pendulum of the hero’s search for identity. After all, nationalism has no identity!

  • International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI)

in the film Under The Lake by Thanasis Troumpoukis

The committee decided to award the prize to a film that impressed us for its enchanting images. A film that directly flirts with fiction, documentary and experimental montage. With truly beautiful photography, on film, the director takes us on this almost hypnotic journey through the water.


The 2022 Audience Award goes to the film“PENDULUS” by Dimitris Gotsis