Cyprus is present in the international film industry, the artistic directors of the 20th Cyprus Film Days International Festival told the Cyprus News Agency. As the official competition festival of Cyprus dedicated to the art of the full-length fiction film, the festival is organized by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth of the Republic of Cyprus and the Rialto Theatre. It is hosted in Nicosia and Limassol from April 8th until April 16th.
Moreover, the artistic directors of the festival explain the criteria regarding the selection of the films, and express their vision about the future of the festival as well as their views of film making in Cyprus.
Replying to a question on the criteria on which the films of the festival have been selected, Dr Costas Constantinides, member of the European Film Academy and Co-artistic Director of Cyprus Film Days Festival since 2009, says that the selection process begins with a number of films that each artistic director will watch. Director and TV commercial producer Marios Stylianou says that more films are added in the initial list if they are considered as worthy of being played in the festival. All movies selected must be premiered in Cyprus, he adds. On her part, director Tonia Mishiali stresses that the festival pursues equal participation of male and female directors and tries to include films from the three continents that surround Cyprus. ‘We try to cover various themes and genres’, she says.
On his part, Stavros Pamballis, artistic director of the festival’s programme for children and youth, points out that he was looking for movies that focus on the concept of seeking oneself, understanding and having empathy. This year’s movies for children and youth address people aged 15-19, he says, adding that cinema is an invitation to a dialogue between the director and the spectator, so that both sides can express their concerns and feel relieved.
This year’s festival includes Dot.on.the.map Industry Days, which will take place between April 14th and 16th. Dot.on.the.map is a co-production, training and networking platform that brings producers, directors and scriptwriters from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, from across the three neighbouring continents of Cyprus, together with international film professionals. It was first organized three years ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic turned it into an online event. However, this year it will take place in the presence of cinema professionals, Mishiali says, adding that she anticipates the participation of many Cypriot film experts.
Asked about the plans for the future of the festival, Mishiali says that despite being a small scale festival, the Cyprus Film Days International Festival has expanded internationally and the main aim is to intensify its international aspect. ‘We want to host more Cypriot movies as well as films that will emerge from the collaboration between participating filmmakers’, she adds. On his part, Stylianou says that the aim is to attract more people and train them so that they can watch films that offer food for thought and are not that commercial.
As regards Cypriot film making, the artistic directors agree that Cyprus is present in the international film map. Constantinides points out that Cypriot films take part in international festivals and earn awards. Despite the limitations that arise from the fact that Cyprus is a small country, there are many talented people in the island, says Stylianou. Cypriot cinema has improved in the last ten years, states Mishiali, adding that Cyprus makes good movies. ‘This is very important and I hope it will keep going. The Ministry of Education must keep funding film making, because you cannot do anything if you don’t get help from your own country’, she concludes.