A dark tale that begins with the suicide of a girl who jumps off a balcony during her 11th birthday party earned the Orpheus Award for best feature at the 8th annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival on Sunday night. "Miss Violence," the second outing for director Alexandros Avranas, also won multiple awards at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. Actress Tracy Spiridakos "(Revolution") presented.
Actor Simon Kassianides ("Quantum of Solace") handed the Orpheus for best documentary to Spyros Teskos' "Crossed Lives," a film that traces the complicated relationship between Greece and Germany from World War II to today's economic crisis, asserting that Germany has finally had its victory. "Lives" also received the fest's Audience Choice award.
"Red Hulk," a character study of a man who gets involved with a gang of Greek thugs who target and immigrants for racial attacks, directed by Asimina Proedrou, won for best short. Actress Gia Carides ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding") handed out the honor.
The jury also bestowed two special prizes: one went to Elina Psykou's "The Eternal Return Of Antonis Paraskevas," the story of a famous TV host who purposely slips into obscurity; the second to Natassa Xydi's "Travel Express," another - but more positive - look at the impact of immigrants on modern Greece.
LAGFF also recognized two producers of Greek heritage. Twentieth Century Fox CEO Jim Gianopulos (above, left) and director James Gray (second from left) presented the first honor to producer Anthony Katagas (center), who won an Oscar for "12 Years a Slave." Similarly honored was producer Steve Nicolaides ("When Harry Met Sally").
Members of the LAGFF jury included Variety features editor Peter Caranicas, writer/producer and Emerald Peak Entertainment CEO Larry Karaszewski, theatrical and film producer Christopher Kikis, Arclight Films sales and acquisitions coordinator Athena Nash, and Loyola Marymount U. professor Katerina Zacharia.
The five-day fest took place at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Festival co-founder Ersi Danou and director Aris Katopodis said that this year has been LAGFF's most successful so far, with 28 films judged and a record 23 filmmakers attending.
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