National Student Competition 2023

46th Drama International Short Film Festival

Very often, when referring to short films, I conjure up the story of French author Georges Perec. Perec found that creativity was better served by imposing upon himself authorial constraints, completely arbitrary and by and large hampering his work. When asked to justify his inclination, he provided the following explanation: If I don’t impose these constraints on myself —given that I lack imagination— then I won’t be able to write. And he wrote a book without using the letter ‘e’. The book is titled La Disparition. Many of those who read it did not realise that the letter ‘e’ was missing. It is almost impossible to write even a single phrase in French without the letter ‘e’. Perec wrote 300 pages. Obviously, in order to work around the difficulties he had imposed upon himself, he was forced to unearth words from which ideas and grammatical types sprang up.

When it comes to short films, their running time dictates from the very beginning a set of constraints and particularly demanding rules. In the words of Manos Zacharias during the Microfilm seminars of 2004, shorts are the most difficult category of audiovisual narration, and perhaps this is why it is young people —young in body or also in mind— that delve into them. They are the most resilient ones.

To make a short film is to perform a great labour, even more so when it comes to student shorts, encumbered by yet another significant constraint: zero or minimum budget. The makers of shorts are required to cash in their passion and enthusiasm; and then some. Perhaps also their desire to graduate with a good grade.

Nevertheless, it appears that Greece has nurtured a brave new generation, willing to take this step. Year after year, they are making more and more audiovisual narrative shorts. Last year was the first time when, with an eye to finding a place for these narratives, Yiannis Sakaridis and I agreed to set up the new national student competition section. It was a pilot launch. We received a hundred and one entries for the preselection phase and went on to put together a section that included 21 shorts in all. We must have done something right last year because this year the applications were even more; we received a whopping one hundred and sixty student shorts, amounting to an overall running time of over thirty hours. These shorts, submitted to the Drama International Short Film Festival, underscore the necessity of a framework of expression and communication between young filmmakers and the wider public, the people of film and TV production.

Just like last year, we had a hard time deciding which films would make it to the National Student Section. Our work was complicated by the sheer number of applications, but also by the quality of many of these films. We eventually picked twenty-three shorts from eleven film schools in Greece and abroad, both public and private, at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Among them, Université Paris 8 | Vincennes—Saint-Denis, the Cinéma at École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ÉCAL), the Atelier de Réalisation de l’ INSAS, the AUTH School of Film of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Hellenic Cinema and Television School Stavrakos, the department of Film Studies at New York College, SAE Athens-Creative Media Education BA/BSc (Hons) Film Production, Film, the postgraduate programme of the University of Western Macedonia.

These films include fiction shorts, documentaries and animation. They represent almost every technical and aesthetic approach to audiovisual narration whilst their themes span a particularly broad range: stories about relations, identity, inclusion and isolation, social critique and self-critique, trauma management, personal and social responsibility. In spite of their relatively heterogeneous characteristics, we believe that as a whole they make up a hologram of sorts—a magical picture that if someone endeavours to take in as one, they will be able to grasp the new face of filmmaking in the country.

P. Iosifelis
Head of the National Student Competition Section

  1. A diary of sexual solitude by Nina Alexandraki
  2. The Parade by Michalis Galanopoulos
  3. Greenhouse by George Georgakopoulos
  4. Góos by Flora Ilia
  5. Ketchup to your mustard by Ifigeneia Theodoridis
  6. Days of a lilac summer by Ariadni Angeliki Thyfronitou Litou
  7. Athens, my love by Dimitris Kechris
  8. A very small gentleman by George Kleanthous
  9. The chaos she left behind by Nikos Kolioukos
  10. Scorched earth by Markela Kontaratou
  11. Why won’t you dance? by Penelope Mavropsaridi
  12. Love is a heavy load by Marianna Bozantzoglou, Katerina Roussiaki
  13. Little doggie by Giorgos Ntounis
  14. The legend of Kavalawood by Melina Xypolitaki
  15. Unicorns do exist by Milena Perdikari
  16. The knock by Ismini Proiou
  17. Farewells by Savvina Samioti
  18. Sea urchin by Alex Scholz
  19. How to light a cigarette without burning yourself by Constantinos Spanoudakis
  20. One and a half by Odysseas Spyropoulos
  21. Birds don’t look through the windows by Eirini Tampasouli
  22. Eau en noir / Water in black by Vanessa Ferle
  23. Lou by Antonina Frokou
  24. Watering hole by Fivos Chalkiopoulos
  25. Justis [out of competition] by Aggelos Barai, Nikitas Sifonios