The rapid succession of events that took place since the previous Festival, the constantly changing international political and financial circumstances and the particularly sharp financial problem of Greece, bring on huge chain changes in the people’s way of life. Primarily, they affect the financially weak classes, while at the same time, they cause “collateral damage” to what we referred to, till recently, as the social state. One of the first and most vulnerable victims of these developments is culture, which, via a catastrophic social automatism and an openly fascist populism, is characterized, as more or less, a “redundant luxury”.
The price is disproportionally heavy to pay for those independent cultural institutions that don’t rely on shiny public relations sponsorships, the ones that try to survive through the work and commitment of some dedicated people and under the meager support of state institutions, that are now dramatically cut. The Olympia International Film Festival, is paying that price. During the past year, it was tried hard, it was forced to lose valuable members, transform its structure and revise time and again its goals, with the sole purpose, its survival.
Faced with this grim reality and while going through its most critical moment in its 14-year-old history, the executives and their friends decided that they have no right to disclaim responsibility concerning the continuation of the institution’s operation. Starting almost from scratch, they wrote and rewrote this years budget again and again, cut and cut deeper even on the non-flexible expenses, asked for more volunteers to help and render their services, pleaded and demanded from the public bodies to exercise their duties. At this moment, two weeks before its opening, the Olympia Festival has procured only just the 60% of its (already cut short by 34% compared to 2010) budget and this mainly thanks to the Region of Western Greece and secondary to the Municipality of Pyrgos. In the Ministry of Culture, the committee responsible for the funding of the cinema institutions where we have filed our suggestions as we were asked to do, via the “Internet Portal” has still not conferred.
However, every one of its members, reassure you that they will be loyal to their appointment, like every December since 1997, to welcome its numerous friends from Greece and abroad, to Pyrgos. And, together with Camera Zizanio, it will give its own particular answer to the financial crises with an abundance of films, parallel artistic events and educational activities, sending messages of collaboration, participation, volunteering, invention and creation. Moreover, it sends out an invitation to all the children in Greece who are constantly besieged by negative or contradictory messages, to travel and dream through cinema and take on the role of the protagonist since the whole event is dedicated to them. For their part, the hundreds of children from Pyrgos who participate in all the Festival’s activities, are ready, with their enthusiasm and vitality, to rattle the town and transform it, in the middle of winter, into a hive of creative expression and communication.