This past Friday the Athena Cinema celebrated a special occasion as the 40th anniversary of the Athens International Film Festival kicked off from April 12-18th. Since the founding of the festival in 1974, thousands of independent films from across the globe have competed for the coveted Golden Athena Award.
“Our festival has taken a remarkable journey for the past 40 years,” said festival director Ruth Bradley. “When I think of the films and filmmakers that have participated it’s really quite breathtaking. All Athenians should be really proud that our community sponsors and celebrates this renowned event. There are only a handful of festivals that have thrived for as long as we have.”
Over the past 40 years the Film Festival has acquired a rich history and tradition that has a distinct position in the Athens community. During the first festival that ran for three days, around 3,000 participants were in attendance; in just three short years, attendance was up to more than 10,000 viewers. Since the first festival, renowned film directors have graced the event, it was extended from three to five days, it was broadcast over PBS channels, a battle of the bands was organized as a fundraiser and a mini festival was planned for children in the area.
Preparation for the 2013 Film Festival began earlier this year as more than 1,000 entries were submitted for review. A pre-screening committee made up of artists, students and community activists watched every submission and narrowed their selection to 250 to be shown throughout the festival. Some of this year’s submissions have traveled far and wide from India, Senegal, Norway, Mexico and NYC. Cash prizes will be awarded at the end of the festival in the categories of documentary, experimental, narrative and animation.
For screening times, descriptions and prices please visit http://www.ohio.edu/orgs/athensfest/
-Ashleigh Mavros, Events Publicity Assistant