12th International Archaeological and Cultural Film Festival – Day 4

Entertainment  -  Cinema

23 May 2024


Greek Film Archive

Megalou Alexandrou 136, Athens


The 12th edition of AGON International Archaeological and Cultural Film Festival is here. The organization celebrates its 28th anniversary and is happy to announce that the Selection Committee has selected the films to be included in this year’s program. From 20 to 25 May, 61 films from 22 countries will be screened at the Greek Film Archive.

For another year, the Festival invites old and new friends to enjoy watching, apart from archaeological films, a wide thematic range of films, including documentaries, reportage, fiction, animation, research, and educational films, among others, always with a focus on the human being. This year’s films are recent creations (from 2019 onwards) that will take us not only to excavation sites in Greece, Egypt, Pergamon and Mesopotamia, Madagascar, Kyrgyzstan, India… but also to Trikala.

We will also learn about forbidden love stories of antiquity, the Stone Age in Sweden, the mysteries hidden at the bottom of a lake in Turkey, the secrets of Louis XIV, the life of horsemen in pre-Christian Siberia, the legends of the Castle of Mytilene, and for the first time a prehistoric woman, Lady Sapiens, will ‘narrate’ her story. All are films that bring the science of History, Archaeology, and Folklore Studies closer to the art of cinema.

Through these films we witness the quests of the scientific community, the juggling between digital and analogue documentation in scientific research, the challenges of excavation in adverse conditions, the joy of discovery, and slowly fading traditions that are captured by the cinematic lens.



Mamody, the Last Baobab Digger | France, 2022, 50 minutes
Director – Producer: Cyrille Cornu
In the southwest of Madagascar, the Mahafaly plateau is an extremely arid land. Here, the rains fall only a few times a year. In these very difficult living conditions, the inhabitants of the small village of Ampotaka found a unique solution to store water.

A Jewel on the Ground | Iran, 2022, 39 minutes
A documentary about the ups and downs history of the historical village of Faryomad and its thousand-year-old mosque, whose glory and beauty have been described in the researches of many experts such as André Godard, Donald Wilber and Sheila Blair.

Philae, the Sunken Sanctuary | Germany, 2023, 55 minutes
Director: Olivier Lemaître – Producer: ARTE – NDR – HISTOIRETV
An important place of pilgrimage in ancient times, the island of Philae has fascinated travelers for centuries. On this rock rising from the Nile, nicknamed the “pearl of Egypt”, powerful sovereigns built monumental sanctuaries from the time of the last pharaohs to the Romans. Subsequently, the temples were looted, vandalized or transformed, before the successive constructions of two dams in the 20th century sealed the fate of the island. To save the precious vestiges of the rising waters, an international campaign coordinated by UNESCO was undertaken in the 1970s. The objective: to dismantle the monuments stone by stone to rebuild them on a neighboring island. This race against time represents an immense technical challenge, but its success will allow Egyptologists to explore these ancient monuments like never before. Since then, researchers have been trying to reconstruct the history of the site and its great buildings, but also to understand the mysterious cult that was celebrated there.
Scientific exploration
From the wonder of Napoleon Bonaparte discovering the remains in 1799, the day after his conquest of Egypt, to recent archaeological research, including the visit of the writer Pierre Loti, at the beginning of the 20th century, to an island already partially flooded, authors Claudine Le Tourneur d’Ison and Olivier Lemaître retrace the different stages of the scientific exploration of this bewitching place. Using unique archives and insights from researchers, his documentary lifts the veil on the enigmas of the temple-sanctuary saved from the waters, from its creation to the present day.

Palatiano, a Roman City on the Kroussia Mountains of Kilkis | Greece, 2021, 10 minutes
Director: Thanos Kartsoglou – Producers: Seagul Productions, Ephorate of Antiquities of Kilkis – Ministry of Culture
In a magical place, on the top of a hill, the ruins of the ancient city of Palatiano are preserved. Visitors can walk around the ancient city’s authentic ancient streets and climb all the way to the top of the hill, where the sanctuaries of the gods –the centre of public life– probably used to be located.
How did the people who lived in these houses feel, walking in the alleys on their way to their shrines or, at dawn, going out to their fields? What stories can we think about them by looking at their personal belongings?
Palatiano is a lively city! A city that still exudes the aura –the joys and woes, the failures and successes, the romances and the laments– of a society that is complex, but also simple.

Gordion’s Shepherds | Turkey, 2022, 20 minutes
Director: Kadir Uluç–Producer: Kadim Koç
The ancient city of Gordion is located in the middle of Anatolia, the cradle of civilisations, and has a history dating back to the 1200s B.C. For thousands of years, its most abiding inhabitants have been shepherds and their herds… The shepherds of Gordion set out with the first light of dawn, just as their ancestors have been doing for millennia.
The documentary narrates the story of the shepherds and their herds at Gordion, where its inhabitants’ routine has remained unchanged for thousands of years, in and around this ancient city.

Mission Mediterranean, The Abyss Museum | France, 2023, 56 minutes
Director: Thomas Marlier, Mathieu Pradinaud – Producer: GEDEON Programmes
Between the Italian and Tunisian coasts lies a vast maritime area of shallow waters, sweptbyantagonisticcurrentsandpunctuatedbymercilessunderwaterrockypeaks: the Skerki Bank. Over the centuries, it has become a true “boat trap”. To save this fantastic underwater museum while there is still time, UNESCO is launching the first mission to explore the Esquerquis Bank, together with representatives from 8 countries that signed the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Askòs – Mermaid’s Call | Italy, 2023, 62 minutes
Director: Antonio Martino – Producer: Alessandro Gordano
It was 1988 in Strongoli, in the province of Crotone. A group of farmers comes across a mysterious archaeological find. The circumstances of the find are unclear. However, the path that the find, the Askòs of Murge, has followed from that moment on is clear, passing through clandestine sales worth millions of euros and finally arriving at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, from where it was then recovered by the Unit for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Carabinieri. Four characters tell the story from their own perspective, each giving a different view on the issue of archeology and the importance of protecting the heritage that is hidden under our feet, which is constantly threatened by illegal excavations and trade.

Closest Metro Station: Keramikos

Metro to Venue: 5 minutes walking

Wheelchair Accessibility No


See on the map the event's location