For the past ten years, this is the time we’ve been massively sending out invitations to the four corners of the world: The Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People is getting ready for the great celebration of children’s and young people’s cinema in the divine land of Olympia, a land filled with myth and history.
This time, however, for the celebration of our 10-year birth anniversary –the greatest thus far- we find it extremely difficult to write these few inviting words.
Our steps are heavy on the desolate hills; the scorched land; the burnt, deserted villages.
This place, where the past was once so vividly present, acted as a driving force or spontaneous mechanism to stir the knowledge accumulated therein and made us strong to face life’s hardships, is no more.
It’s as though our roots were severed. As if our shield was lost.
All over the charred landscape one can see children with an empty gaze. They are the very same children that joyfully pushed and shoved, laughed and shouted, packing themselves in the Festival’s theatres to catch a glimpse of the movies and ride the magical cinema train.
This is a gaze that tears our hearts. We want to hear their voices yet again, for these shouts are more than just agreeable: they are the future’s cries.
We cannot go back. We just don’t have that right: neither for our country, nor for its history –and most certainly not for its children.
We never, ever gave up on them against all odds. The mourning for the people we lost and the grief for the nature that was wiped out, make our souls stronger. And so we move on…
We always used to say that the struggle for life and creation is an everlasting one. Only that now it’s no longer just a struggle –it’s a war.
In this “war” we want you to be our allies.
This is a calling that goes out to all our friends, the world over, to be with us for the 10th Olympia International Film Festival and the 7th Camera Zizanio (1-8 December 2007), alongside the children of Ilia.
So that we can put some sound and colour in their silent, black and white reality.