Greece - Crete - Ierapetra August 2024
11th International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards
5th International Film Festival of Crete & Awards

My dear friends,

As the Artistic Director and Founder of the “International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards,” the “International Film Festival of Crete & Awards,” the “International Music Festival,” and the “Gastronomy Festival of Eastern Crete,” I warmly welcome you with great joy to the 11th year of our five-star Festivals, from August 3rd to August 25th 2024, here in the South, in Ierapetra, the Gateway to the Mediterranean Sea, to embark on this journey once again, exploring the whole world through sounds, images, and emotions.

In August 2014, a grand vision of mine started taking shape. To transform my birthplace, a popular travel and gastronomic destination, into a center and pillar of an internationally acclaimed cultural and festival institution. Today, after 11 years of hard work and dedication, our Festivals shine in the international cultural sphere, attracting professionals from the domestic and international artistic scene, cultural ambassadors from all over the world, and most importantly, cinephiles, to the city of Ierapetra. Our Festivals have met the highest standards, being awarded the “EFFE” Quality Label (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe), recognized as five-star “Gold” film institutions by Hollywood’s Film Freeway and ranked amongst the top international film festivals of the planet. We have forged cultural ties and established international networks with pioneering countries in the global film industry, including the USA, the UK, Spain, Japan, and China in the spectacular ongoing collaboration “China Dream,” under which I serve as the President of the “Silk Road International Film Festival,” one of the largest international film festivals.

A tremendous success and testament to the cultural quality of our Festivals, was our brilliant participation, since 2023 at the Cannes Film Festival, where  the first year we inaugurated our exhibition booth at the Palais des Cannes - a rare honor for a Greek film festival. Cannes gave us an excellent opportunity to promote Greek productions and Greek film culture, as well as to showcase and elevate contemporary Ierapetra as a focal point of culture in the Mediterranean and Southern Europe, a city with a rich history, whose geographical location has been a crossroads of different civilizations and a gateway between continents for thousands of years.

This year, we will screen 320 films from 67 countries in our Official Competition Sections, under the critical eyes of our Juries, which include distinguished personalities from the fields of Literature, Arts, and Sciences. Additionally, our program will feature Panorama, Tributes and the “11th Film Academy of Crete”, along with the “Educational Program for Young Filmmakers” from the Chania Film Festival, attracting young talents from all over Greece.

In parallel, a series of events will creatively accompany our institutions, with lectures, educational seminars, photography and painting exhibitions, book presentations, poetry and lyric writing competitions, Cretan mantinada competitions, childrens’ activities, as well as Τributes, like the one this year to Latin American Cinema. The culmination of our cultural pluralism will be two exceptional one-day Festivals on August 4th at 9:00 PM at the Ierapetra Seaside Square: the “5th International Music Festival,” , where we will enjoy performances by young and established musicians. Simultaneously, the “5th Gastronomy Festival of Eastern Crete,” which will take us on a unique gastronomic journey through Cretan flavors, competing for the Awards of the Tasting Committee, composed of distinguished Chefs from all over Greece.

With great joy, I invite you, on Saturday, August 3rd, at 9:00 PM, at the Ierapetra Seaside Square, to the Opening Ceremony of the «11th International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra & Awards», dedicated this year to Diversity, as well as of the «5th International Film Festival of Crete & Awards», this year dedicated to Marine Tourism. Let’s celebrate our 11 years, with a spectacular music and dance program featuring international acclaimed artists, paying tribute to the 110th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Greek operatic tenor of 20th century, Maria Callas. The evening will conclude with the Honored Screening of the film "The Street Kids”, which will take us on a journey through the paths of diversity and human rights.

As always, all films will be available online, 24/7, on our “Digital Square”, through our official website Moreover, all live events will be streamed via live streaming. The Closing and Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, August 11th, at 9:00 PM at the Ierapetra Seaside Square, closing this year’s celebrations with an impressive artistic program full of surprises, including the Honorary Screening of the award-winning documentary “Gold Island".

I eagerly await you with love, here in the South, from August 3rd to August 25th, to travel with sounds and images, and to experience unforgettable magical August nights by the Sea of Ierapetra and under the starlit sky of Crete.

A heartfelt thank you for these invaluable 11 years.

Εleni Vlassi
Artistic Director