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Podeswa’s Fugitive Pieces to open TIFF May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life.
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Jeremy Podeswa’s Fugitive Pieces will open the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, having come through a strong field of Canadian contenders to grab the prestigious date.

The Roy Thomson Hall screening will be the world premiere of the page-to-screen adaptation of the Anne Michaels novel, about a seven-year-old boy who moves from escaping the Nazis in World War Two Poland to adulthood in Greece and Canada. Stephen Dillane (The Hours), Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice) and Rade Serbedzija (Batman Begins) lead the cast. TIFF organizers announced the decision on Thursday.

The selection marks the tenth time that a movie produced by Robert Lantos, first with Alliance Communications and now with Serendipity Point Films, has kicked off the festival.

“Having Fugitive Pieces selected for the opening night of the Toronto Film Festival is an incredible honor,” said Podeswa, in a statement. His two previous feature films, Eclipse and The Five Senses, also unspooled in Toronto. “I am so grateful to the festival and its programmers and organizers who have supported my work from the very start.”

Lantos, Sandra Cunningham, Julia Rosenberg, Takis Veremis and Dionyssis Samiotis share producer credits on the $9.5-million Canada/Greece coproduction.

Fugitive Pieces beat out a stellar list of available Canadian films to open Toronto, led by Deny Arcand’s L’Âge des ténèbres, which is closing Cannes’ official program, David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, starring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen, and François Girard’s period drama Silk, starring Keira Knightley.

Other top-drawer Canadian films now eyeing Toronto berths include Paolo Barzman’s Emotional Arithmetic, Roger Spottiswoode’s Rwanda drama Shake Hands with the Devil and Kari Skogland’s Margaret Laurence adap The Stone Angel, starring Ellen Burstyn.

Toronto has blown hot and cold with its opening-night selections in recent years. Deepa Mehta’s launching the festival in 2005 with Water was judged a critical coup, while last year’s opener, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, directed by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, flopped with the first-night audience.

Related Links > http://www.torontointernationalfilmfestival.ca

What’s cooking at the Athens Concert Hall? May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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A world renowned chef, a leading chemist and a prominent jazzman cook it up at the Megaron

What’s cooking at the Athens Concert Hall? An exciting, culinary event is scheduled to take place at the venue’s Alexandra Trianti Hall tonight as world renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire, innovative chemist and co-founder of molecular gastronomy Herve This and jazz drummer Daniel Humair join forces.

What has this unexpected trio come up with? All three will use the same utensils: a state-of-the-art kitchen as well as carefully chosen ingredients. The evening will focus on a tomato sorbet, a honey, lemon and oregano mousse, a Vauquelin au cassis, without discarding a little bit of feta cheese. In the end, what is dubbed as “constructive” cuisine will lead to a real work of culinary art.

Part of the Megaron Plus series, the event is organized in collaboration with the French Embassy and the French Institute in Athens.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333. Nearest metro station “Megaron”.

Are images on crisis and order? May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The work of Manolis Baboussis is shown at Thessaloniki’s 19th International Photography Meeting

As a professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, photographer Manolis Baboussis has often attended meetings and has found himself at both ends of criticism. He has witnessed situations in crisis, after the Greek word krisis, both in the sense of something which is judged and of something that is at a critical point. Often times, he has also noted how decision-making exercises power and maintains institutional authority.

As a photographer, he has opted to render what he sees as control mechanisms in visual terms and as an architect has noted how particular spaces, for example, a conference room, are structured in a way that reflects order and authority.

In “Crisis”, the artist’s solo exhibition held on the occasion of the 19th International Photography Meeting which is taking place in Thessaloniki, the large festival organized by the city’s Museum of Photography, a photographic installation that shows the interiors of established, public institutions, meeting rooms at Universities, the Holy Synod, a courtroom, provide an almost clinical, unyielding take on how space and architecture regulate behavior and channel emotions.

In the main part of the exhibition, the photographs are projected in pairs, one not always in synchronicity with the other, on a huge screen. Large, printed photographs are shown in the rest of the exhibition space. Interestingly, all the spaces are shown void of human presence. They all include chairs, the “chair” of the decision maker. Moreover, in each, a religious icon hangs in a prominent place to connote the idea of “higher” judgement.

The exhibition is held at the Yeni Tzami, a former mosque that was built in the early 20th century and was attended by Jews who had converted to the Muslim faith. The building subsequently became a refugee shelter and was later turned into an Archaeological Museum. It it now used as a cultural venue. The disused mosque is the perfect location for a body of work that raises the issue of institutional power. The resemblance between the empty interiors in Baboussis’s photographs and the stripped interior of the mosque establishes a connection between religion, politics and various forms of power.

The sense of emptiness is gripping: It mirrors a reality that is hard, and at times manipulative, but melancholy in all its vanity and self-importance. A photograph showing a cemetery and another that depicts a freshly covered grave underline the idea of vanity. The grid-like structure alludes to order and control, yet both ideas are rendered futile and meaningless when considered in relationship to mortality. Close by, a photo showing a collection of trophies creates a juxtaposition that further underlines the vain struggle for power.

Most of the photographs are built from recurring units of the same shape. A photo from the interior of the Greek Parliament, for example, shows rows of identical seats, while another photo depicting the interior of a bouzouki club shows rows of identical tables. Repetition expresses order but is also used to allude to the stifling of individuality and differences.

Baboussis’s photographs depict contradiction and show the fine balance in decision-making processes: crisis in the sense of judgement and crisis in the sense of a rift. Many of the photographs were also presented in a huge exhibition on the artist’s work that was shown several months ago at Italy’s Spezia Modern and Contemporary Art Center. Published on that occasion, a book on Baboussis’s work provides probing analysis, texts are written by Bruno Cora and Denys Zacharopoulos, on the work of this well-known Greek artist. The exhibition was one of the highlights of the 19th International Photography Meeting known in Greek as Photosynkyria. It also showed the openness of the event to a kind of photography that is usually represented by contemporary art galleries and does not strictly fit the category of pure photography.

“Crisis,” at the Yeni Tzami, 30 Archeologikou Mouseiou Street, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 857978, to May 16.

Marcos Baghdatis shines at Rome Masters May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Cypriot tennis star Marcos Baghdatis, ranked 18th in the world, advanced to the third round of the Rome Masters after rebounding from a set down to defeat Czech Radek Stepanek, the world’s number 29.

Baghdatis went down 6-3 in the first set and snatched the second set 7-6 before taking total control in the third and final set for a convincing 6-3 win. The Cypriot now faces 20-year-old Serb Novak Djokovic in the next round.

Baghdatis began his quest at the Rome Masters with a straight-sets (6-2, 6-3) victory over Spaniard Carlos Moya, ranked 34 in the world. Moya had won the 2004 title in Rome in straight sets against Argentine David Nalbandian.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the world’s number two, has won the past two titles at the Rome Masters. Last year, he defeated the world’s top player Roger Federer in five sets for the title.

Nicosia > Turkish oil search plans illegal May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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A Turkish oil company would be violating international law if it went ahead with plans to explore for hydrocarbons in an area of the sea already claimed by Cyprus, the Republic’s Energy Minister said on Tuesday.

The company, TPAO, has opened a tender for seismic studies in a 4,000-kilometer area in the Mediterranean, apparently falling within an offshore area Cyprus plans to open for exploration. Cyprus, the northern part of which has been occupied and military controlled by Turkey since 1974, has said it is still checking the report, which appeared on TPAO’s website on Sunday.

“If this is true, it would be in violation of international law,” Energy Minister Antonis Michaelides said on state radio. “If it plans to carry out research within this zone, then obviously it will be violating the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.” Officials said it was not clear precisely where TPAO planned to carry out research. Cyprus launched an international licensing round for offshore exploration of oil and gas in February. It plans to open 11 blocks rimming the island’s southern coast for exploration, covering a distance of about 70,000 square kilometers.

Cyprus has attempted to play down reports Turkey may be poised to challenge its plans. “It is very premature to make a fuss over this,” said Michaelides.

Cyprus’s present hydrocarbon project, or licensing round, involves oil majors purchasing seismic data and two-dimensional templates of the Mediterranean seabed. It will be available for sale until the end of August, and then companies can apply for exploration permits.

Authorities say they have encouraging signs of oil, and particularly gas deposits, on the seabed. Part of the offshore area, known as an economic exploitation zone, abuts Egypt’s NEMED block, where Shell is extracting natural gas.

Bob Geldof wants Greece to increase its aid to nations May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics.
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Anti-poverty campaigner Bob Geldof wants Greece to increase its aid to underdeveloped nations.

Greece is now an economically prosperous country and places priority on the development of the wider region of SE Europe with significant investment, but must increase the amount of aid it gives to underdeveloped nations, humanitarian activist and rock star Sir Bob Geldof said yesterday.

Speaking at a press briefing in Athens, he suggested that Greece, jointly with other small member states in the European Union, could undertake initiatives towards pressing the economically stronger partners to act on writing off the debt of underdeveloped countries and encourage investment in Africa.

Geldof said he was against the maintenance of subsidies to European farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy, as they have a negative impact on the competitiveness of African countries, whose products are liable to customs duties and are not supported by subsidies. “Each cow in Europe is subsidized with $2.5 a day, while each man in Africa is subsidized by the EU with $0.5 annually,” he said.

Geldof also spoke late on Tuesday at an event on corporate social responsibility organized in Athens by accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. He pointed out that the usual practise of politicians and entrepreneurs was always to promise but not always to meet their commitments, the result being either a negative impact on social groups that depend on them, or the implementation of programs doomed to fail because they are deficient.

Geldof stressed that the contribution of companies to the funding of underdeveloped nations, in the framework of CSR, should not be exclusively tied to their level of profitability, for projects are often abandoned when profits decline. Geldof said PWC Greece had developed a CSR program for aid which could set the example, as it was focused and properly structured.

Responding to questions, he said George W. Bush has been one of the most effective US presidents as regards the funding of aid programs for Africa, which had brought tangible results. He also praised British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his record in the field, while expressing the view that he will continue his efforts even after leaving Downing Street.

Cyprus Int’l Fair opens, changes name to EXPO CYPRUS May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences.
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The 32nd Cyprus International Fair opened Thursday afternoon amid declarations of ambitious plans that will transform the exhibition grounds to a modern convention centre.

The President of the Cyprus State Fairs Authority, Loris Tryfon, said in his opening speech that more than 100,000 people are expected to visit the Fair that opens to the public on Friday and is sponsored by the state telecoms group, CYTA.

In all, 300 exhibitors representing products and services of about 1,000 companies from Cyprus and 25 other countries are taking part, while Greece, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Syria and the U.S. are taking part with national pavilions. A parallel Exhibition of Research and Innovation is taking place in Pavilion 1 organized in cooperation with the Planning Bureau and the Employers and Industrialists Federation of Cyprus (OEV), with the participation of 22 companies and organizations.

“We are ready to proceed with our Master Plan which foresees the creation of a completely modern Exhibition and Conference Centre,” Tryfon said, adding that the focus will be to attract conference tourism, for which the Authority has recruited George Michalides, formerly of the Louis Group, as its new Marketing Director.

Thanking the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Antonis Michaelides, as well as the Nicosia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for their support, Tryfon said that the new centre will be ready by 2010, in time to become the host venue when Cyprus takes over the EU presidency in 2012.

“Today, we also take the opportunity to present you with the new Corporate Name for the Authority’s facilities, EXPO CYPRUS that will offer large modern and technologically upgraded halls, as well as very pleasant open areas for outdoor events. We will also have the necessary conference areas and arrangements, as well as amphitheatre to host conferences for up to 2,500 people, together with smaller auxiliary halls,” Tryfon said.

“We will soon proceed with the announcement of the architectural competition. There is a need to establish and create a dynamic Nicosia Convention Bureau which will undertake the marketing and the promotion of the European Capital of Nicosia,” he said, adding that international firms will be invited to submit proposals for the utilisation of the Fair’s other grounds through the build-operate-transfer (BOT) method.

“Our development plans include a hotel that will be linked to our conference centre, modern offices with advanced technology and various other facilities for the entertainment sector,” Tryfon concluded.

As regards community work, the Authority’s board has decided to organise an event that will tackle the vast problem of drugs. This will be done in collaboration with the Anti Narcotics Council, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, as well as the Church of Cyprus. This event is expected to deal with the analysis and discussion by experts from Cyprus and abroad about the various areas that contribute to combating the problem, such as prevention, law enforcement, therapy and social rehabilitation.