Camera Zizanio

Ευρωπαϊκή Συνάντηση Νεανικής Οπτικοακουστικής Δημιουργίας

The Value of the Olympia International Film Festival and Camera Zizanio

We reproduce here the text of Katy Kavanaugh’s short essay for Olympia International Film Festival and Camera Zizanio
It was published on

The Value of the Olympia International Children and Youth Festival in Greece

 Concurrent with the last post highlighting Renate Zylla’s view of strong European countries, I’ve learned that important film festivals, namely Amsterdam’s Cinekid and The Olympia Festival in Greece are at dire risk of losing their national funding. Like Cinekid, The Olympia Festival is unique in its concept and extends the rich cultural experience of the international film program through other festival facets that provide a place for young people to meet, collaborate and see each other’s audiovisual work through new technologies.

Olyfest’s Camera Zizanio has collaborated to bring Screen 360’s annual Bay Area Progeny program as the sole American youth voice to Greece since 2003, initially as a measure against communication collapse resulting from the bitter news of the Iraq War.
Camera Zizanio annually hosts dozens of young film/videomakers and their short works for days of art and communication exchange.

With this worldwide economic crisis demanding budget slashing, we ask for the wisdom of public ministries to stay focused on the future, its nation’s developing citizens. Disabling these established links in the media industry that deliver unprecedented impact to its audiences, education systems and across borders, would be short sighted.

Both Cinekid and “The Olyfest” provide important models and invaluable exchange points for the developing field in the United States. Cinekid is needed to extend the unique Dutch perspective and Olyfest is needed to extend the unique Greek perspective.

Olyfest hosted me in 2003 to launch Bay Area Progeny and then again in 2006 as a member of the international jury. From the warm hospitality of the robust Greek families I met there and the Olympia Festival production family, I gathered invaluable insights to family dynamics and raising children. Set in Pyrgos, capitol of Ilia Prefecture to the west of the Peloponnes mountain range and next door to ancient Olympia, Olyfest offers a particularly rich model for bringing international film to where it can make the strongest impact–in places far away from major metropolitan areas. Director Dimitris Spyrou’s model inspired Screen 360’s work in Vale, Oregon in the high desert of rural Eastern Oregon.

As we’ve learned through our FINDING FELIX research, cinematic memories – especially those affixed with discussion in the film festival model – live long and continue to contribute to the lives built upon them. For those living in rural areas or far away from cities, those memories can potentially direct a life to venture out beyond or can simply enrich satisfied lives outside of the city.

The Finding Felix Project is a work for screen and publication from Katy Kavanaugh, a curator and maker of films about and for young audiences in an effort to promote cultural literacy through international stories about childhood told through cinema ( She received a fellowship from Stanford University and The Freie Universität- Berlin to return to the home of the Berlin Film Festival’s 31 year-old Generation (formerly Kinderfilmfest) to collect evidence of the directive capacity which international films seen in childhood can have toward shaping the breadth of a person’s view of the world and the decisions they make. This investigation is focused on one eleven year-old film festival-goer whom Kavanaugh met while serving on the Kinderfilmfest’s international jury in 2001. Ten years later, Kavanaugh wants to know how a childhood with international films influenced Felix’s decisions approaching adulthood. Meanwhile, with help from Media Consultant Tina Toepfel and Gintare Malinauskaite, PhD History at Humboldt Universität, Kavanaugh is including stories from Berliners of many ages and by that, is confident that Berliners will help her find Felix.

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