Romanian film Luminita tops honours at the Drama International Short Film Festival

Indie short film Prayer, condensing the complexities of adolescence into a film heavily defined by its theme of schoolyard bullying, is Thanasis Neofotistos’ first foray into straightforward storytelling (after a few experimental and surrealistic efforts). It won him the top honours at the Drama’s Short Film Festival at the weekend, where the film snagged the Golden Dionysos, along with the event’s Sound Design Award. 

Konstantinos Samara’s meticulously staged and shot 3 Eggholders, Almost 4 picked up the Silver Dionysos as well as the Set Design Award, thus earning it second place amongst the 38 films vying for the festival's 17 prize categories. Locarno contender II by Efthimis Kosemund Sanidis won the Best Cinematography Award along with a Special Mention by the jury for the haunting visual depiction of its surrealistic surroundings.

Andre MarquesLuminita, a Portuguese/Romanian co-production, won the top honours from the International Competition’s jury, which was underwhelmed by the handful of Greek entries vying for the festival’s Grand Prix. Second place was handed to Iraq’s Jalal Saedpanah for his film Black & White, while Germany’s Still Got Lives by Jan-Gerrit Seyler won the EFA 2014 gong, which automatically lands the film in the European Film Academy’s upcoming awards shortlist. 

The great divide between the local and the international films’ production values, as pointed out by Panhellenic Union of Film Critics spokesperson Nestoras Poulakos, became the closing-night gala’s recurring theme. Evident throughout the festival’s programme of over 200 titles from around the world, the subject was touched upon by local award winners referring to the lack of state funding, while state officials reassured filmmakers of better days soon to come.

The state’s main funding springboard for short films, the Microfilm programme, was discontinued when public broadcaster ERT SA, the programme’s main fund provider, was dismantled in July 2013.

24 September 2014, by Joseph Proimakis