2011 Directors Speak

Veni, vidi, vino… although, you will notice that none of our Visiting Directors this year made a mention to this particular incident… perhaps it was the telling empty bottles and the many empty glasses, who knows?

Sean Branney, director of feature “The Whisperer In Darkness”, winner of Audience Award for Best Director, on his experience from SFF-rated ATHENS 2011:

<<It was an honor for us to premiere our film of The Whisperer in Darkness at the SFF-Rated Film festival in Athens Greece. The festival is run by die-hard science fiction fans whose sincere affection for all things sci-fi permeates their festival. The Athens fans who attend the event also seemed uncommonly well-informed, well-read and brimming with enthusiasm to see the films screening at this festival. The festival programmers assembled a lovely collection of shorts and features from around the world. The shorts were broken into groups sharing a common theme, and each evening’s screening blended a well considered group of shorts to compliment the features.

As a visiting filmmaker, attending SFF-Rated was a terrific time. Of course Athens is among the world’s great cities, brimming with marvels of antiquity and a vibrant contemporary life. It’s a great place to visit with plenty to do outside of the funky indie movie theatre, Mikrokosmos, where the screenings take place. The festival’s team went out of their way to provide terrific hospitality for the filmmakers, making us all feel right at home. The informal and friendly operation of the festival team and their lively audience makes SFF-Rated stand out as an excellent place for any fantastic film to screen.>>

Ok Sean, dues paid.
Now, this guy, didn’t win any award, although he came painfully close. Shamus Maxwell, director of feature “The Oracle“:

<<The whole festival was a very special experience for me, thanks to wonderful organisers and a discerning audience! Particular highlights were: being kidnapped by Alecos at the last second to do a radio interview; bathing in the audience’s laughter during the screenings of my film; and, of course, watching the other movies. The screening of past and present winners on awards night was particularly stunning – to watch a sequence of seven short films of such incredible quality was truly inspiring. And it helped take the sting out of coming second or third in all the award categories … somewhat.

Being part of the festival and getting audience feedback from paying members of the public has been a huge confidence-builder, and I advise any film-maker who manages to win a place in the programme to go to Athens and experience it for themselves. And try the orange pie, available down the road from Mikrokosmos, just outside Siggrou-fix station. Like many of the films, it’s out of this world!

Long live Science Fiction, Fantasy, and the SFF-rated festival!>>

The man is able to smile, check the photo below but also the slideshow in 2011 Event Photos.

After you read the following testimonial, I guess you won’t need to be persuaded that John Edwards, director of whirling short “TIMELARKS”, is also a teacher and a professor.

<<Athens SFF Rated 2011 was for me an outstanding experience. It combined brilliantly the two key things that international film festivals have to get right:
1) an excellent and varied programme of films from all over the world
2) a great atmosphere.

In my current position as a short film maker, it was the shorts programme that so impressed. I am the sort of film maker who takes a long while to make a 15 minute film, paying attention to every detail. I like attention to detail, and the shorts programme was packed with films that shared this philosophy, great ideas, beautifully shot and acted with inventive use of special effects. Though it seems that everyone, probably including myself, is overdoing the Adobe AfterEffects. Andrew Cramer and his amazing tutorial techniques are becoming ubiquitous! Hell this is Sci Fi, bring on the AfterEffects.

Regarding the Features, you couldn’t right a testomonial for this film festival without mentioning Sean Branney’s “The Whisperer in Darkness”. It played to a packed house (as did most of the shows) and received some ecstatic applause, one lifelong H.P. Lovecraft fan looked as if he was about pass out when he was introduced to Sean Branney after the screening.

Regarding the atmosphere that I enjoyed so much at Athens SFF Rated 2011, it was created through attracting capacity audiences to a great “Indie” cinema venue. You entered past the ticket box office/DJ booth into a small bar just below street level in what felt like a safe but edgy part of Athens, just a stones throw from the Acropolis. From the woman behind the bar, to the characters propping up my side of the bar, this was a cool spot with a retro/indie feel. At the centre of the action Alecos Papadopoulos, the festival Head Honcho, controlled proceedings. Out the back was a comfortable studio cinema that probably held around 200. It was full for most sessions, and often needed additional chairs lining both walls. Projection quality was fine, sound quality for fine but volume was a little inconsistent across the shorts programme. However the knowledgeable audience showed great respect, making sure there was silence during the quieter films.

An all round A star show in a great city at a great time of year.

Thanks again for your hospitality Alecos

All the best>>

And finally the youngest ones: Oren and Noa Hamel, director and producer of “Basar Vedam/Flesh  & Blood“, a refreshing and pathbreaking short in the zombie-genre:

<<A week has past since we returned home from your wonderful festival, and the absinthe fog has finally cleared enough for me to write, I think… We had such a great time, my Wife Noa and I, coming over to screen our short film ‘Flesh and Blood’.  The movies were great, the audience cool, the atmosphere relaxed. It truly was an honour to showcase our film in your festival. My only regret was that we couldn’t be there for longer.>>

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