Everything about 44th Drama International Short Film Festival

Everything about 44th Drama International Short Film Festival


12-18 SEPTEMBER 2021

The 44th Drama International Short Film Festival, renewed in appearance and content, looks into the future with a new exterior and a refreshing mood, as well as a wonderful trailer directed by Vasilis Kekatos.

The 44th DISFF will be held on September 12th-18th, 2021, in the city of Drama. The new visual identity, created by Dimitris Papazoglou, marches along with the visual language of a constantly evolving digital world, representing first and foremost the factual intention of the festival: to embrace and shed light on individuals regardless of origin, religion or sexual orientation, through the medium of cinema.

This year’s event, the second one with the artistic director Yannis Sakaridis on the lead, will be held in parallel with an ongoing difficult global situation caused by the pandemic, while outstanding Greek short films, by filmmakers that stubbornly continue to create despite the hardships, succeed one after another in major festivals abroad.

In order to ensure public health, the Drama International Short Film Festival will be held again this year, simultaneously in physical spaces and online.

The National Competition Program, the International Competition Program and the International Student Program are framed by the three new competition programs of DISFF: the International Animation Program, the Short & Green, but also Cinematherapy, which after its success last year, gained a permanent position in the festival’s program.

The big celebration of short films (https://www.dramafilmfestival.gr), will take place on 12-18 September showcasing the filmmakers and the audience that love and support short films. The city of Drama is preparing again this year to welcome the young Greek filmmakers in the joyous celebration of Greek cinema, which every September transforms the city center and its beautiful water park, where the Festival takes place, into an animated movie set.

The national short film festival aims to showcase new talented filmmakers in their infancy and to encourage the creation of short film as an autonomous category inviting creators of all ages.

The 44th DISFF will be held at the Olympia Cinema, the Municipal Conservatory of Drama (Antonis Papadopoulos Hall), at the Open-air Cinema Alexandros, the Drive-in Cinema which will operate exclusively for the week of the Festival, and at the multispace Eleftheria (corner of Venizelou and Koudouriotou streets).

Those who wish to watch the 44th DISFF online, should register here: https://www.dramafilmfestival.gr/tickets/

The screenings are geoblocked for the Greek territory only. For business, market and VIP accreditation contact the secretariat of the festiva: info@dramafilmfestival.gr

Registration begins with the opening of the online digital platform, on 12th September.

The platform will screen the 5 competition programs, Cinematherapy and Zagoriwood.

In total, 158 films from more than 50 countries will be presented in total at all the programs of the Festival.

As the artistic director Yannis Sakaridis notes:

“Jointly correlating with the global communities, DISFF44 proceeded in ecological actions and is launching this year the International Short & Green competition program coordinated by Vassilis Terzopoulos.

This year and for the second consecutive year, we present the Cinematherapy program led by Denis Nikolakou, with three new films from this year’s entries that stood out for their content and sensitive approach. With the intention to strengthen this atmosphere, in this year’s event we have the luck and the honour to host the author of the best seller The Gift, Stefanos Xenakis.

This year a great emphasis is also placed on Animation. In collaboration with the International Animasyros Festival, ASIFA and the University of West Attica, a new International Animation program was created, led by the excellent director and Professor at PADA (University of Western Attika), Spyros Siakas.

Once again this year we have a renewed and solid National Competition, with more female directors than their male colleagues.

At the International Competition, the pre-selection team of the award-winning director Yorgos Zois watched films from 105 countries.

The International Student Competition, led for the second year by the screenwriter and director Thanasis Neofotistos, received more than 2000 films this year, and is aiming to become one of the top programs in Europe.

We are pleased to announce that the trailer of the 44th DISFF was created by Vassilis Kekatos, the first Greek director to be honored with the Palme d’OR in Cannes, for his short film The Distance Between Us and the Sky.

You may watch the trailer here:

Airplanes by Vasilis Kekatos: DISFF 44 TRAILER

Script, Directing, Editing: Vasilis Kekatos
Narration: Glykeria Pappa
Sound Design / Sound Mix: Panagiotis Panagiotopouos
Script Translation: Alexandra Dirani-Maouni
Special thanks to: Lefteris Kokkolis, Romanna Lobach, Helene Stergiopoulou

This year’s DISFF radio spot is delivered by the actor Yannis Stankoglou.


247 Greek films were submitted this year out of which 30 films will compete for the awards of the 44th DISFF (you will find the list here: https://www.dramafilmfestival.gr/en/festival/national-competition/ in a “compact” program representing this year’s production.

The selection includes 24 fiction films, 2 documentaries, 2 animation and 2 experimental ones.

For the first time, this year, the majority of the directors competing are female (19 women, 14 men).

A lot of new talent is emerging this year along with some old acquaintances of the festival, whose films have been distinguished in the past.

The exploration of eroticism, the intimate relationships among women, allegorical matriarchal models of power, the revenge of women against abusive men and sexism – are some of this year’s themes explored in the films. Other recurring themes are bullying, religious practices and mob violence, while intolerance, immigration, troubled family bonds, separation and management of grief are also providing inspiration to young filmmakers.

The descriptions of the tourist model that prevails in Greece and Cyprus and the other side of the tourism industry, the provincial kitsch and depictions of the outskirts of the metropolis are themes that filmmakers are interested in, while they also seem to be particularly concerned with everyday life, the psychology of influencers, instagrammers, youtubers and followers, the addiction to social media and the fragile balance between what is real and what they depict in the digital era.

Although comedies are scarce this year too, the element of fantasy is very present, and also unexpected glances at shocking events exist, such as the one dealing with the Polytechnic University upheaval.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the pandemic is treated by many mainly as a background feature and not as the key element.

There are many popular actors that star in the films of the competition programs, indicatively we mention: Eleni Vergeti, Stefania Goulioti, Nikolakis Zeginoglou, Anna Kalaitzidou, Yorgos Karamihos, Kora Karvouni, Giannis Kokiasmenos, Ioanna Kolliopoulou, Romana Lobach, Laertis Malkorosis, Aurora Marion, Mary Mina, Iro Bezou, Kostas Berikopoulos, Amalia Moutousi, Kostas Nikouli, Argiris Pantazaras, Yorgos Pyrpassopoulos, Maria Skoula, Elena Topalidou, Elli Triggou, Aeneas Tsamatis, Theodora Tzimou, Marissa Triantaphyllidou, Yannis Tsorteksi and Alexandra Hassani.


The Festival marks in this edition 27 years since it received its international status and will screen a total of 23 films from 19 countries – which have been selected from films submitted from a total of 105 countries!

Among them there will be three Greek films: Motorway 65 by Evi Kalogiropoulou, From the Balcony by Aris Kaplanidis and Brutalia, days of labor by Manolis Mavris.

As the Head Programmer of the International Competition Program Yorgos Zois points out, “This year, the International Programme incorporates creations of young as well as established filmmakers, some of which have feature length films under their belt. Films that have been distinguished worldwide but also new discoveries by emerging directors, films that play with genres creating new languages of communication and focus on issues ranging from gender to class, all organically intertwined. Our programme is a rich mosaic of filmmakers from all over the world, offering us a fresh and modern outlook of the outside, as well as their inside world. This year we have chosen to increase the duration of the accepted competition films to 45 minutes and have selected films that because of their length wouldn’t make it to other short film festivals”

– Pleasantly surprising is the presence of the favorite actor Denis Lavant from the unforgettable Holy Motors and the rest of Leo Carax films in the sweet French-speaking story of Nicolas Paban, Guillaume Levil, Princess of Jerusalem.

-The Hungarian director Borbála Nagy presents Land Of Glory, an aptly sarcastic and sharply realistic film. Among her short films, as a director and screenwriter, Borbala has also worked on the feature film Jupiter’s Moon created by the famous (White God, Pieces of a Woman) director Kornél Mundruczó.

Swedish director Kezia Zurbrügg makes a double appearance in this year’s program as director of Leavers, a film tackling the new Brexit reality in the UK, but also in the cinematography team of the documentary The Game directed by Swedish filmmaker Roman Hodel. Go Sweden!

-Lois Patiño, after his feature film Red Moon Tides, collaborates with Matías Piñeiro creating Sycorax, a short film that fascinates with its poetic approach.


In the fresh and very young competition program that was inaugurated last year at the Drama International Film Festival with Head Programmer Thanasis Neofotistos, 22 films from 17 countries and 21 film schools were selected to be screened, directed by 13 women and 11 male directors – having among them 3 Greek films: Elevator Alone, by Anastasia Papadopoulou, Tolis Live or (Toronto) by Alexandros Rellos and Ante Nte by Ariadne Angeliki Thifronitou Litou.

As Thanasis Neofotistos notes, “We are very happy, as the clear goal of focusing on cinematic quality and treating the student film as a respectable piece of artistic work was recognized with the reception of 2000+ submissions (from 700 submissions in 2020) of student films from all over the world, making our job pleasantly difficult. From them, emerged a tight, high quality program, for which we are extremely proud of! Out of the 22 films we have selected, 8 will have their world premieres internationally, while other films that already had a significant festival course (Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, among others) are also included”.

He adds: “It is also very interesting for us that, due to the young age of the participants, we identified a very fresh and novel approach to issues that concern international film productions (the position of women, diversity, etc.) through films of all genres (fiction, animation, documentary, experimental). Finally, with pleasure, we noticed, unlike last year, many remarkable Asian films, mostly created by female directors and a significant increase in confessional films that tell personal stories of their creators. We are looking forward to sharing and watching with you the beautiful films of our program, at the Olympia cinema in Drama, 15th, 16th and 17th September, but also online through the platform of the 44th Drama International Short Film Festival! ”


* The National Competition Program Jury is comprised of: Menelaos Karamaggiolis – director, Eleni Androutsopoulou – head of the Greek program at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Stella Theodoraki – director, producer, Panagiotis Iosifelis – screenwriter, screenwriting teacher Christina Bitha, journalist, film critic.

* The International Competition Jury is comprised of: Afroditi Panagiotakou – Director of culture at the Onassis Foundation, Venia Vergou – director of the Hellenic Film Commission, Anna Mouglalis – actress, director, Yannis Chalkiadakis – Film editor, Lydia Georgana – director, casting director and actors’ coach.

* The Student International Competition Jury is comprised of: Nazil Elif Dourlou – director (Turkey), Kyveli Short – producer (Greece) and Thodoris Dimitropoulos – film critic (Greece).

* The Audience Award will be presented again this year: through the Festival’s online platform, the audience will be able to take part in the voting for the Audience award for the best film for all the five competition programs of the festival.


*International Animation Competition Program

A new ambitious program in this year’s edition that puts emphasis on storytelling through the art of animation.
The Head Programmer of the Animation section is Spyros Siakas. There will be 20 films from around the world competing – including the Greek film The Classmate (Anastasia Dimitra) – which will be screened on September 13 and 14 in theaters and on the festival platform.
Jury: Vassilis Karamitsanis – Artistic Director of Animasyros – International Animation Festival, Tasos Nousias – actor, Eleni Mouri – professor at the graphic design department PADA, Izabella Plucinska – director and animator from Poland.

The Animation Competition prize “ASIFA HELLAS YANNIS VASILEIADIS” will be awarded.

International Competition Program for “Short and Green” Environmental Awareness Films

There are 14 films of all cinematic genres from 12 countries participating, including one Greek film (Containers by Katerina Charalambidou).

The thematic range is wide: social films, comedies, science fiction, experimental, observational and character-centered documentaries, animation with special allegorical symbolism.

The film Sea And Sky was filmed with the use of renewable energy sources, non-waste practices and a vegan catering on the menu among other actions, with the aim of neutralizing the production’s environmental footprint.

The 1st prize will be the DRAMA GREEN AWARD (The green prize of Drama), offered by CYCLOPS (non profit organization).

Vassilis Terzopoulos is the Head Programmer of “Short and Green”

Jury: José Manuel Abad Liñan – Journalist for El Pais newspaper, specializing in science and culture, Spain
Panagos Ioakeim – Actor
Dimitris Kazakis – Member of the Ecological Movement of Drama – Teacher
Eleftheria (Lila) Tsatsi – Activist

The establishment of the new section will be accompanied by a series of environmental actions, in order to reduce the environmental footprint of the Festival.

Indicative environmental actions:

-Tree planting actions in the city of Drama in collaboration with the Green Department, Municipality of Drama – a few days before the start of the Festival.

-Collection and recycling of recyclable waste from the screening rooms of the Festival

-The screenings of Short and Green are part of the actions of the Municipality of Drama for the European campaign of the European Mobility Week (16-22 September), which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Green Fund.

* Cinematherapy: Following last year’s very successful first presentation of Cinematherapy to the festival audience, this program returns this year as a separate section in DISFF: thus, the psychotherapist Denis Nikolakou returns with three films from this year’s participations (How to train an Antihero by John Bletas (Greece), Left Unsaid by Iari Varriale (Estonia), From the Balcony by Aris Kaplanidis (Greece) which will present the opportunity for another interesting presentation and discussion.

The innovation in this year’s Cinematherary is that in addition to the special content of the films – a criterion for their selection in that particular thematic collection, is that two of the three selected films are documentaries.

The selection criteria of the three films are based on the topics they explore:

A) Acceptance of diversity, disability, social integration (How to train an Anti-hero)

B) Family ties, personality formation through the relationships of family members in a modern society (Left Unsaid)

C) Social exclusion, interpersonal relations in the light of the economic crisis imprinted in a miniature of the modern Greek reality (From the Balcony).


The Drama Festival continues to support the production of short films and to offer training to new directors: As part of the educational platform DRAMA MINI TALENT LAB, for the eighth year, a Pitching Workshop for young filmmakers, and a Pitching Producers’ Forum will be held.

The Pitching Lab teaches pitching techniques to directors / producers, while at the Pitching Forum young directors and producers from around the world present their project, in a 5′ duration pitch, to producers and potential funding partners. At the end of the Pitching Forum, participants also have the opportunity to arrange one-on-one meetings with producers interested in their upcoming films or festival directors, to promote their work.

The Pitching Lab / Forum will be presented exclusively in the English language, will be held on Friday 17th September (13.30-17.00, Municipal Conservatory of Drama) and will be also open to the public with live streaming.

Finos Film will offer a cash prize for the best film, while GFC (Greek Film Centre) will financially support the program.

This year, the Pitching Lab has accepted 15 projects to participate (here you will find the participating projects: https://www.dramafilmfestival.gr/en/festival/pitching-lab/

The director of the educational program of DISFF is the director and educator Barbara Dukas.

Masterclasses will be given by Panagiotis Iossifellis, Barbara Dukas, John Stephens and Georgina Kakoudaki (instructors of Pitching Lab), while the famous French actress and director, as well as a member of the jury of the International Competition, Anna Mouglalis, will join as a VIP guest.

The program also includes a panel with important international sales agents entitled: Festival Sales and Distribution – How does it work?.

Participants: Enrico Vannucci – Programmer at Locarno Film Festival (CH), Ben Vandendael – Sales Agent, Radiator Sales (BE) and Judith Wajsgruz -Film Distributor at Salaud Morisset (FR).


* EFA candicacies 2020: 10 award-winning European films will be screened at the European Film Academy Film Festival Network, nominated for the EFA 2020, Best European Short Film Award.

* Animasyros 2021 – International Animation Festival – collaborates with the Drama International Short Film Festival, presenting a part of this year’s tribute to Freedom at the 44th DISFF. The Freedom Tribute includes films from around the world, exploring various aspects of freedom, such as the war for liberation, the conquest of social rights, animal freedom and personal freedom. At the same time, a selection of the most important Greek animations in collaboration with ASIFA HELLAS will be presented at the Festival.

* DIAPLASIS, event in collaboration with the Television Station of the Hellenic Parliament. An inter-university programme of creative practice with the objective to create original television content with a youthful outlook and aesthetic. The students are taking part in a six months programme subsidized by the Parliament: they form groups and create the fifteen-minute documentaries of the series “Student Studies”, which will be screened on the Parliament-TV. 7 of these films will be presented at the event.

* Zagoriwood Program has been running since 2010 in the village of Kato Pedina of Zagori, operating under one philosophy: “1 person + 1 camera + 1 computer = a complete unit for creating audiovisual works”. The participants in the workshops are young or amateur filmmakers, who are being taught in depth the creative structure of the moving image. Every year many short films are produced as a result of this creative process. A selection of films created by the latest Zagoriwood will be screened at this event.

* Midnight screening of the award-winning international film’s Another Round by Thomas Winterberg at the Open-air Cinema Alexandros

Presentations of the directors with films in the competition section and open discussion with the audience of the Festival, at the Open-air Cinema Alexandros (daily at 12:30)

Fair Afternoons (13-17th September, 19:00 pm, cafe “ELEFTHERIA”) presented and curated by the poet, with origin from the city of Drama, Polina G. Bana.

The following will be presented: “Bright Darkness: texts for the cinema” by Achilleas Kyriakidis, “Children’s House” by Kyriakos Syfiltzoglou, and “1821: WOMEN AND THE GREEK REVOLUTION. From the Ottoman World to the Free Greek State” by Vasiliki Lazou. Also: the anniversary exhibition of the Benaki Museum “1821. Before and After” and the accompanying catalogue (Archaeological Museum of Drama) will be presented.

Also: the new issue of the biannual Journal of literature and art “Diodos 661”, the literature and literature review magazine “Theuth – the two facets of literature”, the historical photo-memoir “DRAMA OF REFUGEESA tribute to memory” by Georgia Bakali and Dimitris I. Sfakianakis, Short-Story Collection “Elevator – Real stories about the strength you would wonder how you found or lost” by Maria Kampantai and the “Photography Diary 2021” by the elderly care unit of Xanthi, “Megas Vasileios”.

-Finally, the award-winning films of the festival will be screened on Sunday 19/9, at 18.00 in the evening at the OLYMPIA cinema.


* A big partner and supporter of the 44th DISFF is EKOME (National Centre of Audiovisual and Media and Communication) which financially and morally supports the institution in its new educational activities, as well as in its actions related to further networking of the Festival in the Audiovisual Industry internationally.
* The support of Greek Film Centre is expanding, which in addition to the established awards that it offers, it also supports the educational program of the Festival.
* Raycap is the regular sponsor of the Grand Prix in the International Competition Program, financially and morally supports the educational program of the festival and the production of educational animation films.
* The ANT1 Screenwriting School, for the first time, will offer a screenplay award to the International Student Competition.
* The Onassis Culture will support the young filmmakers. More info will be announced during the festival.


Rendezvous in Drama, and right after in October (22-28) also in Athens, since this year the Greek program of the Festival, the award-winning films of the International Competition and some selected programs, will be screened at the Greek Film Archive theatre.

If the COVID conditions allow it, the program The Drama Festival Travels, will continue to travel in next season to even more destinations, highlighting the dynamics of the Greek cinema inside and outside Greece.


* We would like to remind you that from 13th September the entrance to the indoors cinema theatres is allowed only to vaccinated people and to the ones that had been sick with covid up to 6 months from the diagnosis or to those not vaccinated with rapid antigen test that has been performed (own means) up to 48 hours earlier.

* Do not forget to download the new version of our website application for mobile and tablets android


Here, you can select the photos you want from all the sections:


The Drama Festival is a Cultural Organization of the Municipality of Drama and is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture & Sports, the Region of Eastern Macedonia & Thrace and the Municipality of Drama. We thank the sponsors and supporters of DISFF:

EKOME – Prime Supporter








ERT, ERT3, Second Program, World, Voice of Greece, 102 fm, 958 fm
Ert Kavala, Ert Serres
TV5 World
Cosmote TV
Parliament Television
Real Fm 97.8 & Real News
Athens 9.84
In Kokkino, Thessaloniki
Journal of the Authors

PARTNERS & moral supporters

European Commission – European Delegation to Greece
Creative Europe – Media Desk Hellas
European Film Academy
Thessaloniki Film Festival
Olympia Festival for Children and Youth
ASIFA Hellas
Youth Plan / Neaniko Plano
French Institute & French Consulate in Thessaloniki
French Institute of Greece
University of West Attica
Hellenic Open University
The Greek film associations: PEKK, ETEKT, GSC
And the Network of European Short Film Festivals of the European Film Academy
Directorate of Primary Education of Serres

More information:
info@dramafilmfestival.gr (Drama Festival Secretariat)
Drama Offices: tel. +30 25210 47575
Athens Offices: tel. +30 210 3300309

Site: https://www.dramafilmfestival.gr/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dramafilmfestival/
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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dramafilmfestival/
FilmFreeway: https://filmfreeway.com/dramafilmfestival
Hashtags: #dramafilmfestival & #DISFF44

Drama International Short Film Festival

Evanna Venardou
Press Office Manager
Evanna Venardou
Press Office