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“As our 50th anniversary approaches, we learned today with great sadness that Dimitri Eipides has passed away following a lengthy illness. We are very proud and grateful for all the work Dimitri did throughout his career and draw inspiration from him as we continue pursuing our mission."
“As our 50th anniversary approaches, we learned with great sadness that Dimitri Eipides has passed away following a lengthy illness. Dimitri played a very important role in discovering new talents and emerging filmmakers who later shot to international renown. He took an active part in developing the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF), the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) after founding the Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) in 1971. We are very proud and grateful for all the work Dimitri did throughout his career and draw inspiration from him as we continue pursuing our mission.” - Nicolas Girard Deltruc, FNC Executive Director, January 6, 2021
Born in Athens, Dimitri Eipides studied Literature at the University of San Francisco and theatre at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts of New York. He is also a graduate of cinema from the London Film School. In Montreal, he teached cinema at Loyola College (now Concordia University) and McGill University. He co-founded the Centre du film underground at the end of the 1960s and contributed to the creation of the Cooperative of independent filmmakers and the Cinéma Parallèle. His influence on the Quebec cinema ecosystem at a pivotal time is obvious.
Picture: Bed-In, Montreal, 1969 (from left to right : Claude Chamberlan, Dimitri Eipides, John Lennon, Yoko Ono)
In 1971 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Dimitri Eipides launched the first edition of the International 16mm Film Festival, which we know today as the Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC). Quickly joined by Claude Chamberlan, the two enthusiasts will develop this festival born out of the desire to screen original and independent films, lacking any distribution in Montreal at the time. Eipides remained director for 14 years. His passion and influence enabled leading figures of international cinema to come to Montreal and take part in the great cinema celebration that is the FNC. His career then continued internationally as a programmer and film festival director.
Picture: Dimitri Eipides, Montréal, 1986 - Credit: Tedd Church, Montreal Gazette
Eipides joined the TIFF programming team as an international programmer, enriching the festival thanks to his in-depth knowledge of filmmakers from Central Europe, Eastern Europe, West Asia, Central Asia and Greece. He introduced Canadian film-lovers to filmmakers such as Béla Tarr, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Michael Haneke, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Theo Angelopoulos and Cristian Mungiu.
The Iranian Minister of Culture in Tehran even honored Eipides in 1993 for his contribution to the recognition and promotion of Iranian cinema internationally.
Back in Greece, Eipides created the New Horizons section of TIFF in 1992 and was the artistic director of this section until 2005. A fervent follower of documentary cinema, Eipides created the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in 1999. The same year, he received a FIPRESCI award for the quality of this documentary programming. From 2010 to 2015 Eipides was the artistic director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in addition to being the executive director of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival until 2016. For a few years, he also presented a weekly documentary program on Greek television.
Eipides made a Nordic foray to Iceland in 2005. He was appointed director of programming for the Reykjavik International Film Festival, a position he held until 2010.
During his career, Eipides was also part of numerous festival juries in Moscow, Seoul, Istanbul, Tehran, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastian, Vancouver, Trieste, Bilbao and Jerusalem.
Dimitri Eipides' vision and cinephilia will be greatly missed in cinema and festivals industries. His work in discovering and sharing international cinema is perpetuated in the activities of the FNC, thus honoring the legacy of our founder.
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