Cinematherapy 2023

46th Drama International Short Film Festival

Programmer Introduction note – Cinematherapy

Cinematherapy is defined as the use of films to motivate and recognise emotions or to draw conclusions in the context of the psychotherapeutic process. Cinematherapy is in fact associated with the ancient art of storytelling as an educational tool. It can be used to encourage the audience to understand almost any subject matter, as cinema covers an extremely wide range of subjects.

This year’s programme is centred upon the theme of Human Relations, their fluidity and rearrangement in the 21st century, as well as the various forms that assemble their structure. More specifically, the discussions of this year’s Cinematherapy edition will revolve around the very structure of human relations during these past years, both on a personal and family level. To what extent have our relations been affected by the economic crisis, the pandemic, sociopolitical developments? In what ways are their form and our values being shaped in our days?

Denise Nikolakou – Integrative Psychotherapist

46th Drama International Short Film Festival

DISFF – Cinematherapy Selection 2023
Head of Cinematherapy program Denise Nikolakou – Integrative psychotherapist

The 46th International Short Film Festival of Drama has announced its Cinematherapy Selection for 2023, with the ‘Human Relations’ theme. The program will explore the fluidity and restructuring of human relationships in the 21st century, specifically focusing on how recent years have shaped family and personal relationships. The impact of factors such as the economic crisis, the pandemic, and socio-political changes on our relationships will be examined, as well as how our current values and beliefs influence these relationships.

Detailed program:

  • Friday 8/9/2023 at 20:00 at the «ALEXANDROS» open-air Cinema
    The Crossing (2023) by Aeneas Tsamatis and Katerina Mavrogeorgis.
    A railway crossing in the middle of nowhere. Two wooden outposts surrounded by yellow hills and an open horizon. Two guards: solitary Yiannis and cool Antonis. Every once in a while, a voice through the speaker announces the passing of a train. Nothing seems to stir their routine until love charges in, crushing all certainties.
  • Saturday 9/9/2023 at 20:00 at the «ALEXANDROS» open-air cinema
    “Womb” (2023) by Themos Skandamis.
    A middle-aged man (Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos), on a break from a typical day, is talking to his mother on the phone when a stranger (Aris Troupakis) appears and announces some unexpected and terrible news that will change him and his sense of reality in a comically tragic way.
  • Thursday 7/9/2023 at 20:30 at “CYCLOPS” Cultural Centre.
    Opening of the program “Cinematherapy for young people 18 to 30 years old”
    The first meeting with the coordinator and head of the Cinematherapy program, Denise Nikolakou, and the participants will take place. The implementation of the program is carried out under the auspices and funding of the Ministry of Culture. There is no financial burden for the participants.

CINEMATHERAPY throughout the year

A series of newly established events and collaborations in the frame of the DISFF’s Cinematherapy section were organised throughout the year by Drama International Short Film Festival both in Greece and internationally. These confirm the significant appeal and impact of the innovative Cinematherapy programme, which has known great success over the past three years.

*Collaboration between DISFF and Rethymno Association of Parents of People with Autism 

The Rethymno Association of Parents of People with Autism, in the frame of the Think Blue events held in April —established as the World Autism Month— has hosted awareness events open to the community. The Festival had previously collaborated with the Antiheroes theatre group of People with Disabilities, during the 2021 Cinematherapy session, which was based on the film How to train an anti-hero. The said collaboration gave rise to the idea of directing a new documentary from scratch (screenplay-directing-shooting-editing).

Under the tutorship of the DISFF’s Artistic Director Yannis Sakaridis, of psychotherapist and founder of the Cinematherapy section Denise Nikolakou, and of film director Yiannis Bletas, a workshop was held during which the participants wrote the screenplay and shot a short film in the course of the two days that followed. A total of fifteen participants from the Antiheroes theatre group took part in the workshop, working from all posts of the crew (cinematography, assistant director, script, sound, acting). The result was the production of a short film.

*Cinematherapy at The Greek Film Festival in Berlin 

The Greek Film Festival in Berlin, collaborated for the first time with Drama International Short Film Festival, presenting the Cinematherapy programme based on Thanos Tokakis’ short film Tokakis or What’s My Name. Denise Nikolakou travelled to Berlin and gave a talk about the therapeutic capacity of films, accompanied by the GFFB festival’s director Sophia Stavrianidou, the DISFF’s artistic director Yiannis Sakaridis and head programmer Constantinos Aivaliotis.

*Cinematherapy at Drama schools running for the second year

Following a successful course since the 2021-22 academic year, the Cinematherapy programme continued for the second consecutive year, taking place at schools within the Drama region. Headed by psychotherapist Denise Nikolakou, the programme was yet again embraced by schools of all educational levels, was addressed to children and teenagers up to 18 and aimed at further empowering the educational role of the Festival through a diverse series of innovative programmes. Cinematherapy at schools runs entirely online during school hours and it is offered as a free and optional programme to the participants. Supported by: Raycap S.A.

*Cinematherapy at Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

Drama International Short Film Festival has established yet another invaluable collaboration: the innovative Cinematherapy programme teamed up with Los Angeles Greek Film Festival presenting to the audience of L.A. a Cinematherapy session based on the film Toxic Magnus by Nasos Gatzoulis. The event was held on 10 June 2023 at Regal L.A Live in the city centre of Los Angeles and was attended by numerous spectators who watched the screening and participated in the session that followed. The discussion, held in the presence of the director, analysed the social phenomenon of toxic masculinity, the family-related factors that contribute to this behaviour, as well as the social and psychological effects arising from it.