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LAist Film Calendar 06/09-06/12: Get Thee To The Greek Film Festival

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The media's current image of Greece is a country crumbling amidst financial ruin. The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival is an important reminder that the country's rich culture & history continue far beyond its financial woes. The fifth year of the festival opens Thursday night at Laemmle's Sunset 5 with the U.S. premiere of Pelican's Watch, a Dionysian documentary on Greek elders' efforts to preserve traditional winemaking. Afterwards, sample the fruits of their labors at a gala reception featuring top Greek wines, alongside an appearance by the film's director Lea Binzer & composer Laoura Gkini.

The festival continues Friday with the local premiere of romantic comedy Harisma at 5:00. My Sweet Canary is a documentary about the late Greek-Jewish folk icon Roza Eskenazy & her continuing influence across the Mediterranean. Unjustly unknown outside the region, her profile should rise following the U.S. premiere of the film at 7:30. Director Roy Sher & featured performer Martha C. Lewis will sing her praises afterwards. As Apollo's light fades, ghoulish strangers stalk the night with the local premiere of occult horror The Death I Dreamed Of. Director Panagiotis Kravvas & producer Michalis Kapetanidis welcome you to their nightmare.

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Saturday, the festival hosts a panel on transnational film production and the renewed market for foreign films at 10:30AM. The panel features distributor/producer Dionyssis Samiotis of Odeon (who have distributed everything from There's Something About Mary to Twilight to Tree of Life in Greece), writers Charley and Vlas Parlapanides (of the forthcoming mythological epic Immortals), Scott Edwards of ad agency AV Squad (who have cut trailers for films from Casino Royale to The Cove to Captain America), Lionsgate Executive VP Distribution David Spitz and ICM agent Peter Trinh. Feature programs begin at 1 in the afternoon when With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story soars onto the screen, accompanied by its super team of co-directors/co-producers Will Hess, Terry Dougas & Nikki Frakes. Knifer is a Lynchian psychodrama about a decaying middle class, which swept the Hellenic Film Academy Awards (Greece's equivalent to the Oscars). Amongst its 7 wins were best director for Yannis Economides & best picture for producer Panos Papahadzis, both of whom appear alongside the film's U.S. premiere at 3:15.

The festival continues Saturday evening with Mikis Theodorakis, Composer at 5:30. The German documentary presents a portrait of the Greek composer cum leftist radical. American film fans may recognize his score from Sidney Lumet's Serpico or Academy Award winner Zorba the Greek. The U.S. premiere of Without Borders follows at 7:15. The film is a fascinating look at the U.S./Mexico border from an international perspective, that of a Greek man in pursuit of his adopted daughter. The night closes out with A Woman's Way, an offbeat romance between a released prisoner & a transsexual.

Sunday, the last day of the Greek Film Festival opens with the local premiere of The Game Must Go On at 11:30AM. The documentary follows a Greek youth movement to build a soccer field so they can play without angering their neighbors. The festival's Sunset screenings close at 1:30 with Biloba, a fish-out-of-water comedy about a man's trials & tribulations to bring green energy to a rural Greek island. All films except Knifer, Without Borders & A Woman's Way are accompanied by award-winning Greek shorts. The festival closes with a green Greek gala & dinner courtesy of Earth Friendly Products at the Writer's Guild Theatre. The all-night event also includes the LA Greek Film Festival's Orpheus Awards, with presenters Billy Zane (Titanic) & Theo Alexander (True Blood), and the world premiere of schizophrenic family drama Burning Head, with director George Siougas and producers Dionyssis Samiotis & Joseph Alan Croisant.

If you're not into reading subtitles, the Dances With Film Festival (which we featured last week) closes Thursday with the local premiere of Delivered. The independent crime thriller stars classy actress Alana Stewart (Jonathan Demme's Swing Shift, Emmy-nominated cancer doc Farrah's Story), a classic '67 Mustang, Iraqi war vets & Japanese gangsters. Stewart recently received a Best Supporting Actress Award at the WorldFest-Houston Independent International Film Festival for her performance in the film. For two other names that aren't strangers to awards, the Hammer Museum hosts Bad Robot power player J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) & composer Michael Giacchino (Up, Fringe) as part of their Hammer Conversations series. Abrams & Giacchino's latest collaboration, Super 8, opens this weekend, so demand for seats will be out of this world. Get in line as early humanly possible.

Full list appears below. See you at the movies!

All Week
Just Like Us (2010) (Regent Theatre)
Midnight in Paris (2011) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Super 8 (2011) (The Landmark)
The Trip (2010) (The Landmark)
Viva Riva! (2010) (Nuart Theatre)

Thursday 6/9
Carmen, Baby (1967) / Little Mother (1972) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Smooth Operator: The Opulent Eroticism of Radley Metzger)
Easy Rider (1969) / The Trip (1967) (Aero Theatre) (Trips, Journeys, & The Return Home: An In-Person Tribute to Peter Fonda)
Eating Raoul (1982) (w/ Mary Woronov) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (An Evening with Mary Woronov)
The Hangover Part II (2011) (Arclight Beach Cities) (Arclight Hollywood) (Arclight Sherman Oaks) (21+ show)
Mexicali/Imperial Valley Showcase (Echo Park Film Center)
Paul (2011) / Fanboys (2008) (New Beverly Cinema)
Sakwa (2008) (free event) (Korean Cultural Center)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943) / Suspicion (1941) (Egyptian Theatre) (Suspense Account: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock)

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Friday 6/10
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) / Weird Science (1985) (Downtown Independent) (Drink-a-long & Beer Pong)
Cold Fish (2010) (free event w/ Sion Sono) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Sion Sono in Person)
The Crusades (1935) (Old Town Music Hall)
The Goonies (1985) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)
Hair Extensions (2007) (w/ Sion Sono) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Sion Sono in Person)
High Sierra (1941) / The Roaring Twenties (1939) (Egyptian Theatre) (True Story: The Films of Raoul Walsh)
The Hired Hand (1971) / The Limey (1999) (w/ Peter Fonda) (Aero Theatre) (Trips, Journeys, & The Return Home: An In-Person Tribute to Peter Fonda)
The Princess Bride (1987) (Regency Academy) (Insomniac Cinema Midnight Movie)
Spartacus (1960) (New Beverly Cinema)
Spike & Mike's Twisted Festival of Animation (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
A Summer Night in Korea (Korean Cultural Center) (Ford Ampitheatre)

Saturday 6/11
The Crusades (1935) (Old Town Music Hall)
Dirty Dancing (1987) (Devil's Night Drive In)
Glory (1989) (70 MM w/ director Edward Zwick) (Aero Theatre)
Goodfellas (1990) (Outdoor Cinema Food Fest)
I Am Cuba! (1964) (free event) (Getty Center) (Soy Cuba!)
The Jerk (1979) (New Beverly Cinema) (New Beverly Midnights)
Kelin (2009) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Kazakhstan: Montage of Cinemas)
Love Exposure (2008) (w/ Sion Sono) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Sion Sono in Person)
Mexicali/Imperial Valley Showcase (Echo Park Film Center)
The One Hundredth Birthday of Vincent Price Celebration (Downtown Independent)
Our Man in Havana (1960) (free event) (Getty Center) (Soy Cuba!)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Sins O' The Flesh Midnight Show) (Nuart Theatre)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Midnight Insanity Midnight Show) (South Coast Village Regency Theaters)
Rhythm Is It! (2004) (free event) (Skirball Cultural Center)
Shane (1953) (Autry National Center) (What is a Western? Film Series)
Spike & Mike's Twisted Festival of Animation (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) (w/ Werner Herzog) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings) (Summer Series)
Tripleplay: A Showcase of Short Films (Egyptian Theatre)
White Heat (1949) / The Strawberry Blonde (1941) (w/ special guests) (Egyptian Theatre) (True Story: The Films of Raoul Walsh)

Sunday 6/12
All Smiles: Works by Anne McGuire (w/ Anne McGuire) (Echo Park Film Center) (Los Angeles Filmforum)
The Crusades (1935) (Old Town Music Hall)
Hammer Conversations: J.J. Abrams & Michael Giacchino (free event) (Hammer Museum)Harold and Maude (1971) (w/ Peter Bart & Cameron Crowe) (Aero Theatre)
Hyper Sapien: People From Another Star (1986) (free event) (Hammer Museum) (Family Flicks)
Lucia (1969) (free event) (Getty Center) (Soy Cuba!)
Memories of Underdeveloipment (1968) (free event) (Getty Center) (Soy Cuba!)
Native Dancer (2008) / Schizo (2004) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Kazakhstan: Montage of Cinemas)
Noriko's Dinner Table (2005) (w/ Sion Sono) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Sion Sono in Person)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924) (Egyptian Theatre) (True Story: The Films of Raoul Walsh)