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Athens chosen for TIFF’s City to City program

TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Athens will be the focus of the Toronto International Film Festival's 2013 City to City program this fall.

TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey made the announcement Wednesday, saying he wanted to introduce festival audiences to "new generations of filmmakers unafraid to rewrite the rules."

TIFF programmer Dmitri Eipedes said that "after a long period of hibernation, Greek cinema has finally found its way back to the forefront. A number of young filmmakers – most of them fresh out of film school or, at best, with a couple of shorts to their name – turned things around. Where others saw devastation, they saw inspiration. There's a lot of positive energy."

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The uptick in independent Greek cinema comes against the backdrop of the country's protracted economic crisis.

With shoestring budgets, Eipedes pointed out, directors have been forced to find creative, collaborative ways to make their films, often by sharing resources and doubling up behind-the-camera roles.

"They're really reinventing the form," Bailey added. "I think our audience will be looking to see how Athens filmmakers are reflecting the turmoil there. What I'm most interested in is how cities shape filmmakers."

This will be the fifth year for TIFF's City to City series, which showcases the work of 10 filmmakers operating in a selected city, regardless of where their films are set. Past programs were focused on Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Mumbai.

The precise lineup of Greek selections will be announced in July.

Most of the films chosen will be contemporary, Bailey said, made in the past few years. The program may include a documentary or two.

Athens was chosen from a shortlist of three possible candidates.

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