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Athens will be focus of Toronto film fest's 2013 City to City program

TORONTO, Cananda – The Toronto International Film Festival will focus its lens on Athens in September.

Organizers say the financially strapped Greek capital will be featured in the festival’s 2013 City to City program, which looks to highlight international cinematic “hot spots” that have enough new works with interesting stories to screen.

Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey says the program will include 10 films that will largely be new, contemporary productions from emerging filmmakers.

“What’s interesting I think is that you’ve seen, in conjunction with the economic crisis in Greece, a rise in very interesting independent filmmaking — filmmakers who are working under very difficult circumstances economically but they’re really reinventing the form in terms of contemporary cinema,” Bailey said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

Greece has also seen a very productive cinematic period — “a kind of a movement” filled with energy and vitality — in recent years despite the economic setbacks, said Dimitri Eipides, the festival’s international programmer who lives in Athens.

“What I have noticed is the amount of dedication that goes into their work,” he said.

“They’re determined to turn out a good film … with very limited resources. But I think whenever there is enthusiasm and desire to make good cinema, people will succeed.”

The City to City series, now into its fifth year, has previously showcased Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Mumbai.

The program showcases filmmakers living and working in a selected city, regardless of where their films are set.

Organizers say this year’s program package will go on sale beginning in late June.

The lineup will be unveiled in July.

The 38th Toronto film fest runs from Sept. 5 to Sept. 15.