Greek film-makers threaten to boycott festival

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The Independent Culture

Greek film-makers are threatening to boycott the country's leading cinema festival in a row over funding.

A group of 140 directors, producers and writers said they would not show their films at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in November unless the government took action to improve funding for the industry.

The dispute could deprive the festival, now in its 50th year, of 23 films -- the bulk of Greek cinema's output over the last 12 months.

The group, which calls itself "Film-makers in the fog", includes Yorgos Lanthimos, whose "Dogtooth" won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

Constantin Moriatis, a member of the group, told AFP the protest was not aimed at the festival, and said: "We will not give in until we have a change in the law".

The protest began in the summer to put pressure on the Ministry of Culture and has continued despite a snap election on October 4 which brought the socialist opposition to power.

"The current arrangements say the television companies are supposed to give 1.5 percent of their turnover to cinema production, but this has never happened, and public grants are handed out in an opaque way," he said.

"The whole system needs to be cleaned up and made more efficient."

The director of the festival, Despina Mouzakis, told AFP she believed the legal framework around cinema funding needed modernisation and hoped a solution to the dispute would be found before the opening ceremony on November 13.

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