12th International Archaeological and Cultural Film Festival – Day 6

Entertainment  -  Cinema

25 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.



Morning Viewings

The Festivals of Mother Food (Rice) | India, 2023, 26 minutes
Director: Nitesh Kumar – Producer: Horil Yadav
A documentary film based on the old tradition of the cultivation of rice. There are still many villages in the Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand, where paddy cultivation is being done in the same way as their ancestors used to do it 1,000 years ago.
In this film, we will see a farmer’s nine-month journey, in which we witness the process of the cultivation of rice, festivals, traditions, and customs, as well as aspects of culture such as how the Jharkhand folk festivals Karma puja and Sohrai puja are associated with cultivation and the farmers’ struggles.

Dwell | Brazil, 2023, 15 minutes
Director: Antonio Fargoni – Production: Araweté Filmes
Prehistoric dinosaurs and our indigenous care, from the daily life of a rural family, we can see how everything is fleeting.

The Tinsmith | Turkey, 2023, 11 minutes
Director: Havva Okutan – Producers: Şefika Okutan, Mehmet Ali Aksoy
Recep Öztekin, who lives in Elmali, Antalya continues his family’s craft: that of a tinsmith. Sharing his experiences on how he mastered the craftsmanship he learned from his grandfather and then his father over time, and how he continues his work until this day, since the interest in tinsmithing has now decreased. He tells us about the advantages of owning a family shop in Elmali, the future of the craft in view of the development of technology, the problems he has to face, and the lack of a person who will continue his legacy.

The Last Tanner | Greece, 2023, 15 minutes
Director- Producer: Thodoris Sdroulias

The shorts

Tasty Land | Greece, 2021, 11 minutes
Workshop leader: Nikos Anagnostopoulos – Teacher in charge: Stella Koufoudi – Director: Maria Mertzanidou – Production: Olympia International Film Festival for children and young people & Neaniko Plano
After the Balkan wars of 1912 and especially after the Asia Minor disaster in 1922, the vital space of Asia Minor was lost for Mytilene and the production did not find a way to its disposal, so many Plomarites immigrated to America, Australia, and Africa. Later in 1950 after the civil war, many Plomarites immigrated to Australia, New Zealand, many to America, and many more to African countries.
Today in Plomari many repatriated descendants of the first and second migration live permanently, many Albanians, Danes, Norwegians, Israelis, and French people of Greek origin. The students of the fifth primary school of Plomari decide to create a documentary film, exploring the multicultural character of their city and talking about their roots. Today in Plomari, different cultures, languages, tastes, music, and traditions intersect.

When Hermes was Βuried | Greece, 2023, 10 minutes
Teacher in charge: Kalliopi Tridima – Production: Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People & Neaniko Plano – Workshop leaders: Vassilis Kosmopoulos & Petros Kolotouros – Teachers in charge: Takis Georgakopoulos, Andriana Bokiou & Argyro Sarri – Director: Dimitrios Rougkas
The students of the 3rd grade of the high school of Pelopio are making a short documentary about the protective concealment of the antiquities in the archaeological museum of Olympia in 1940, filming traces, testimonies, and the adventure of creating their own documentary…

The Last Shipwright | Greece, 2020, 10 minutes
Workshop leader: Nikos Anagnostopoulos – Τeacher in charge: Kalliopi Tridima – Production: Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People & Neaniko Plano
In Plomari, Lesvos, Doukas, is one of the last remaining masters of the traditional art of boat building. The famous shipwright of the Aegean receives a visit from a group of children, who wish to discover the secrets and beauty of this ancient art, which slowly declines with the passage of time.

The Kiss | France, 2023, 8 minutes
Director – Producer: Ali Zare Ghanatnowi
Forbidden love story in an ancient bas-relief…

The Nomadic Horse Rider | Germany, 2022, 4 minutes
Director: Sarah Gorf-Roloff – Producer: Karina Iwe
This animation was created as part of the exhibition “Chic!” at the State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz (Germany). It was exhibited alongside a more than 2.000 years old ice mummy from Southern Siberia and provided storytelling and information about its tattoos – in order to illustrate the archaeological story to visitors in an engaging and vivid way.

The Reflection | USA, 2023, 2 minutes
Director – Producer: Jared D. Weiss
A dog finds a bone. Based on the fable, “The Dog and Its Reflection” by Aesop.

The Pillar of Strength | Malaysia, 2021, 8 minutes
Director: Aie Ibrahim – Producer: AI Entertainment, Creatvtoon Studio
When human beings value the life of nature, where they are shown respect and learn from it, then it can strengthen the loving relationship between nature and humans.
The ‘Pillar of Strength’ is a narrative storytelling about a child of the Iban people in the Borneo archipelago who draws strength from the spiritual energy delivered through the God of War, who comes from heaven as a dignified god and becomes an intermediary between human life, animals, and nature.

We live on Arkaim | Russia, 2022, 8 minutes
Director: Vyacheslav Alekseenko – Producer: Alexandra Pigalova
What is Arkaim? An archaeological monument of the Bronze Age, a nature reserve in the Southern Urals, a place covered with many legends, or a point of attraction for tourists from all over the world? The cartoon will answer these questions and tell the story of the Arkaim Valley from the Paleozoic to the present.
Gennady Borisovich Zdanovich, a legendary archaeologist, professor, Doctor of Historical Sciences, who revealed Arkaim to the world, became a guide through millions of years of human history. Along with Gennady, the viewer will rush through the epochs and cultures that have been replacing each other for thousands of years on the territory of the Arkaim Valley.
“We live on Arkaim” is a cartoon tale about the connection of times. This is a story about people who thousands of years ago met the dawn here, worshipped the gods, worked and tried to understand their place on this earth. This is the cosmogonic history of creation — not of the world, but of us today.

A Dream of Imera | Italy, 2022, 5 minutes
Director – Producer: Gianfrancesco Iacono
Sicily: a wizard roams the desolate plain where the ancient Greek colony of Imera once stood. The man’s power brings life to the Greek spirits for a short time. An illusion of beauty against the devastation of a territory carried out by contemporary society.

Suitable for children
Growing-up in Ancient Rome | Italy, 2021, 5 minutes
Director – Producer: Gianmarco D’ Agostino
The life of children in Ancient Rome narrated by the works of art and the images and sounds inspired by them.

Looking into The Hellenistic Pergamon | Turkey, 2022, 5 minutes
Director – Producer: Serdar Yılmaz
A documentary about Pergamon, one of the first emerging kingdoms of the Hellenistic world and Attalid rulers who designed the city almost like a stage to host religious rituals. These rituals were re-fashioned in the Hellenistic age to accommodate the rituals of kingship.

Symphony of the Knots | Iran, 2023, 11 minutes
Director – Producer: Hossein Ranjbar Shirazi
The Symphony of The Knots is showing the beauties of Iranian hand-woven carpet art, further recognizing it as world heritage.

Yarmouk’s Last Poem | Iran, 2023, 4 minutes
Director: Kioumars Mohammad Chenari – Producer: Morteza Shabani
A Syrian girl who is learning poetry in class is thrown to the corner of the classroom by the sound of an explosion and faints. When she regains consciousness, she faces a painful reality.

Comb Sister | Canada, 2021, 8 minutes
Director: Atefeh Khademolreza – Producer: Du Zilan
In this magical animated documentary, Zhu escapes a forced marriage in Shunde (China) and joins the Comb Sisters, a real-life commune of women who were sworn to a life of celibacy. A 100-year-old story, ‘Comb Sister’ follows the journey of Zhu, the last of the Comb Sisters, as she finds her way to the afterlife.

I Hate Border | Iraq, 2023, 10 minutes
This short animation talks about border policy (immigration rules) and human rights in the world.

After Death | Syria, 2022, 11 minutes
Director – Producer: Mahmoud Ahmed, Co-Producer: Fawzi Sheikho
The story of a man who returns to his city after the defeat of the terrorist organization ISIS in the Kurdish city of Kobani in 2014. He wanders through the streets of the city and picks up the remains of weapons and war remnants and makes out of them artistic shapes and statues to restore nature, spread the spirit of hope, and create a new life.

The Suitcase | Iran, 2023, 15 minutes
Director: Saman Hosseinpuor, Ako Zandkarimi – Producer: Fariba Arab
Far from his own homeland, a Kurdish refugee lives in his suitcase. In it he carries memories of his family. When someone steals the suitcase in the tumult of the foreign city center, he loses his home a second time.

Afternoon viewings

Iznik, the Sunken Enigma | France, 2023, 84 minutes
Direction: Pascal Guérin – Production: Les Batelières Productions
Following the fortuitous discovery in 2014 by a Turkish archaeologist of the foundations of a Byzantine basilica sunk in Lake Iznik, not far from Istanbul, an international team of researchers composed of French, Turks, Swiss and Americans is investigating to try to retrace the history of this mysterious basilica. Why is it underwater? What tragic story is hidden at the very bottom of this lake? What could the excavations of such a building reveal? Because if these vestiges arouse the passionate and enthusiastic interest, there is a reason: its localization, Iznik, current Turkish name of the ancient Roman city of Nicea, or rather in Latin, “Nicaea”. It brings us back to the fourth century of our era, in the arcane of the construction of Christianity. Thus, in a series of causalities, like drawers that are opened one after the other, researchers and historians reveal the secrets of this lost world.

The Alexandrian Necropolis Project | Egypt, 2023, 21 minutes
Director – Producer: Kyriakos Savvopoulos
The video documentary offers a summary of “The Alexandrian Necropolis Project: the Hellenistic Cemetery of Shatby in Alexandria (2020-2023)”, held by the Archaeological Society of Alexandria (est. 1893). It was projected in the official opening ceremony of the site (8/5/2023), in presence of Greek, Egyptian and Cypriot state representatives, in addition to delegates of several countries.
In 2020, the Archaeological Society of Alexandria (est. 1892) initiated a multi-tasking project, aiming to revisit the impressive but heavily deteriorated Hellenistic cemetery of Shatby, the most ancient site of Alexandria (in use since the end of 4th c. BCE). The project included: 1) the maintenance and restoration of the site of Shatby; 2) the consolidation of the archaeological investigation, which had remained unfinished; 3) the protection of the site from the future invasion of soil and water; 4) the upgrading of all modern installations; 5) the digital documentation of the site (production of 3D model) and the production of an up-to-date study. The project team comprises scholars and field archaeologists from Egypt, Cyprus, Oxford and Greece (University of Athens). It was sponsored by the A. G. Leventis Foundation.
During the excavation process, there were several discoveries, including uncovering the original monumental entrance to the main burial complex (Hypogeum A) and more than 300 finds (human remains, pottery, coinage and glassware). Meanwhile, the project has completed 1) the restoration and conservation of the ancient remains, 2) the construction of screen walls and drainage system for protecting the ancient underground structures, 3) the construction of a Visitors Centre for displaying media and information, 4) the creation of a labelled walkway around the site and the renovation of all modern structures. The official opening of the renovated and restored archaeological site took place on 8th May 2023.

Stories of a Necropolis | Spain, 2022, 56 minutes
Director: Javier Trueba – Producer: Madrid Scientific Films
Dra Abu el-Naga, is a fundamentally important hill in the history of Egypt. The kings of the 17th Dynasty and the first king of the 18th Dynasty were buried there, between 1600 and 1500 BC. C., until Hatshepsut inaugurated the Valley of the Kings. It also attests to the relevance of this necropolis from which also Champollion —discoverer of hieroglyphic writing and father of French scientific Egyptology— passed through, along with Rosellini, the father of Italian Egyptology.

Anima Insulae | Italy, 2024, 51 minutes
Director: Lorenzo Daniele – Producer: Fine Art Produzioni
This is a story without an end or a beginning. A story set in Sicily, flowing along a river, there where the stone is the colour of Etna, the water pulsates, and the caves are divine wombs; where people have prayed and sought protection; where they have fought for their freedom; where one lives and digs; where those who come can feel the true essence of this Island, its Soul.
This is the story of Palikè, the land of the Siculi.

Neanderthal in the Footsteps of another Humanity | France, 2022, 53 minutes
Director: David Geoffroy – Producer: Cour-Jus Productions
Endangered by marine erosion and global warming, the Le Rozel site has yielded rare vestiges of the daily life of Neanderthal.
Communities that inhabited this fascinating location on the Normandy coast approximately 80,000 years ago. Among these fragile traces, archaeologists have unearthed an astonishing collection of nearly 3,000 footprints —inarguably the world’s largest collection of prehistoric footprints.
With each new discovery, the archaeological investigation takes us on a captivating journey back in time, following the footsteps of a long-extinct humanity.

Mesopotamia, the Rise of Cities | France, 2024, 52 minutes
Director: Olivier Julien – Producer: GEDEON Programmes
Following a 50-year absence and in a context of post-war reconstruction, the return of archaeologists to the major sites of Iraq is ushering in a new era in the archaeology of Mesopotamia. The technical resources and new approaches available to this generation of researchers enable them to shed new light on the appearance and development of the first cities, while working to preserve Iraq’s heritage.

Closest Metro Station: Keramikos

Metro to Venue: 5 minutes walking

Wheelchair Accessibility No


See on the map the event's location