Friday, March 9, 2012

First Champaign Greek Film Festival a Success

Photo credit: Nikos Vergis

The First Champaign Greek film festival, which took place March 2 and 3, was a great success. In total, 226 people attended the festival over a day and a half (7 films in total), which is among the best attendance rates for a foreign film festival in our town. Attendance was almost equally split between students and non-students, with non-students being both UI faculty and members of the community at large, many of whom had never seen a Greek film before. 

The festival was organized by the program in Modern Greek Studies in collaboration with the Chicago-based group FilmHellenes. FilmHellenes President and film director Niko Franghias attended the festival and gave a brief introduction about Greek film-making on both days. All films were introduced by Dr Vassiliki Tsitsopoulou, Visiting Lecturer in Modern Greek Studies, who is teaching a course on contemporary Greek culture and film this semester. Feedback about the festival has been overwhelmingly positive, with the audience clapping at the end of the last film, Attenberg. (You can read a review of the film in the New York Times). Many asked about next year's festival, treating this as the first of what should become an annual event.

The festival also received good press coverage. It was featured in the Inside Illinois and the Chicago-based Greek Star newspaper issues of February 16, in the mt217.com of last week, as well as on WILL AM 580, WEFT and WPTO radio. Channel 15 news and UI-7 also provided TV coverage of the festival.

Initiatives such as this help enrich the cultural life of our local community and are important to the University's mission of outreach and public engagement 

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