With all the recent economic difficulties around the world (understatement), you’d think cultural festivals and celebrations of artistic expression would be the first to go. Fortunately, this is not so. In fact, artistic endeavors like the Athens International Film Festival (AIFF) have dug in and flourished, creating jobs in local economies, opportunities for the reinforcement of international fraternity, and some much needed diversion for festival-goers and the residents of host cities.
Scheduled to take place September 18-30, the 18th edition of AIFF promises all of the above and more. This year’s program is still being completed (which means it’s still open to submissions for all of you aspiring filmmakers out there), but if years past are any indication, the selection should be choice indeed.
Founded by the Athens Film Society in 1995, the event organizers aim to foster lesser-known aspects and genres of independent cinema, introducing audiences to some of the best productions available each year that might not receive their due attention elsewhere. The offerings are sufficiently tantalizing to attract as many as 50,000 visitors each year, so book your festival passes and accommodations early.
While you’re in the city, be sure to save time to tour the many astonishing sites that the area has to offer. If you have a day or two to spare on either end of your trip, a visit to one of the islands in Saronic Gulf comes highly recommended and can be surprisingly affordable.