Byzanfest: Orthodox Film Festival

Byzanfest: Orthodox Film Festival

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Byzanfest is the world’s only online Orthodox Christian film festival streaming the very best short and feature-length films. OCN is a proud media partner of Byzanfest. Join us around the world and view short films and feature-lengths on-demand. The Festival showcases films which reflect Orthodox Christian themes, beliefs, culture and values. All films tell visual stories which are inspired and guided by living a life in Christ. Purchase a festival pass 30% off. This Pass grants access to all 8 ticketed feature films with 7-days access.

Established in 2014, Byzanfest aims to be continuously innovative, reaching out to wider audiences, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox. The goal is to raise greater awareness of Orthodox cinema and at the same time generate a more sustainable future for the industry.

The name ‘Byzanfest’ is in honour of the great Byzantine Empire, a place of great wisdom, art, & faith. Although it may no longer exist, the spirit and values of Byzantium shine out in the works of Orthodox
Christians in the Digital Era.

All films will be available to view on-demand – globally – from October 23rd until November 8th.

FEATURED FILMS

THE HEALING
A monk seeks out an isolated hermitage, but his peace is short-lived by the sudden arrival of two people. Realizing his wartime past has come back to haunt him he cannot bring himself to forget nor forgive the pain he has suffered. This is a story of reconciliation, forgiveness and about the big question posed after every war: how to forgive your enemy?

Genre: drama
Country: Serbia

THE HEALING from Byzanfest_2020 on Vimeo.

SCIENCE AND ORTHODOXY AROUND THE WORLD
This documentary was produced within the framework of the research program “Science & Orthodoxy around the World” (SOW) of the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. The major goal of the program was to chart a previously unknown field: the different views and positions on the relation between Science and faith
across the entire Orthodox Christian world.

Genre: documentary
Country: Greece

NEW MEN
“New Men” chronicles one year in the life of a Russian Orthodox monastery in rural West Virginia. The monk’s reflections on shedding former identities to embrace new lives of prayerful asceticism are woven together with rarely seen moments of the community’s 1,700-year-old
monastic tradition. As the brotherhood prepares for Pascha, Father Justin contemplates his upcoming final vows to live in the monastery until his death.
Genre: documentary
Country: USA

NEW MEN from Byzanfest_2020 on Vimeo.

The Face of God: The Orthodox Church and Climate Change

A film about God and nature, faith and climate change, the experience of Orthodox communities around the world facing and experiencing changes in their lives now. This is a film about beauty, ecology, theology, sanctity, our relationship to the natural world, love, asceticism, and always it is about the radiant living icon of the face of God in creation.

Genre: documentary

Country: USA

Lethal Nationalism: Genocide of the Greeks 1913-1923

A historical documentary that for the first time charts Ottoman Empire’s and Turkish Nationalists Genocide of its 3,000-year-old ethnic Greek population, it took only 10 years to destroy over 3 Millenia of history.

Genre: documentary

Country: USA

Made in America

Explores the trauma of war; domestic and abroad. The story contrasts the life of a young man growing up in urban America against a young Iraq veteran. The two seek healing in a country vexed with screens, brands, and isolation.

Genre: documentary

Country: USA

Ancient & Marvelous: The Life of Father Nicola Yanney

In 1892, Nicola Yanney left his home in the coastal foothills of Lebanon in search of a better life. Personal tragedy and an unexpected midnight visit from someone who would become a saint changed the course of his life. Heeding God’s call he became a circuit-riding priest to thousands of parishioners in the farmlands of Nebraska and beyond.

Genre: documentary

Country: USA

ANCIENT and MARVELOUS: THE LIFE OF FATHER NICOLA YANNEY from Byzanfest_2020 on Vimeo.

All These Flowers

“All These Flowers” tells the emotionally charged story of 6 people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder from across the United States. Shot over the course of 2 years, the film captures the struggle of mental illness and how our healthcare system is unequipped to help. It speaks of the love and support necessary for recovery and the consequences possible when the support is not there.

Genre: documentary

Country: USA

In the Name of Choice

A docuseries of 9 episodes about women who feel trapped into abortion and those who are responding with help.

Genre: documentary

Country: USA

Saving North: Rescuing The Wooden Churches of Northern Russia

Saving North is the story of a struggle for human and cultural survival in the mysterious and insular world of the Russian North. An outsider from England, photographer Richard Davies, enters this mysterious and vast region of the world with the hope of documenting both the glory and the tragic demise of its rapidly disappearing Wooden Churches.

Genre: documentary

Country: USA

Letting in the Light

A documentary that follows Sister Thekla, an iconographer who travelled to Wellington from the Congo in Africa, to paint the Pantocrator on the dome of Wellington’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the Evangelismos church.

Genre: documentary

Country: New Zealand

Kalimera from Beirut

Sixteen years ago, George Eid made an oath to his dying Greek grandfather in Beirut: to find the roots of his family who moved from Smyrna to Lebanon in 1922 and reconstruct the history of the Greeks in Lebanon. ‘Kalimera from Beirut’ is the first documentary about the Greek community in Lebanon.

Genre: documentary

Country: Lebanon

SHORT FILMS

THE RITE OF HOLMGANG
A young Viking warrior must overcome both sword and shield as well as the rage behind them, when he takes his father’s place in a duel to the death.

Nominated for BEST SHORT-FILM, BEST DIRECTOR (SHORT-FILM) &  BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Drama
Country: Australia
Director: Stephan & Andrew Robinson

A WOODLAND STROLL
An Orthodox reader is taking his daily stroll, during which he encounters supernatural forces.Nominated for BEST SHORT-FILM & BEST DIRECTOR (SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Animation
Country: Serbia
Director: Bojan Teodosijevic

2 (ii)
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the global population in drastic ways. Supporting and protecting older people living alone in the community is everyone’s business. Families in Greece are living in the same buildings, but the floor separates them. Three generations can & meet each other, but what gives happiness to the aged people?

Nominated for BEST DIRECTOR (SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Documentary
Country: Greece
Director: Fanis Topsachalidis

THE STORY OF PROPHET JONAH
Prophet Jonah, from the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8 th century B.C, is called upon by God to travel to Nineveh and warn its residents of impending divine wrath. Instead, Jonah boards a ship to Tarshish.


Nominated for BEST SHORT-FILM
Genre: Animation
Country: Serbia
Director: Maria Chaika

500
Maria saves a man from drowning only to find out that small kindnesses can come back and change your life.

Nominated for BEST SHORT-FILM, BEST DIRECTOR (SHORT-FILM) & BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
(SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Drama
Country: Romania
Director: Bogdan Albu

SORROW
In a life full of struggles, an old man finally encounters one that he cannot overcome. For the first time, he is unable to fight back. Past, present, and future are torturing his mind. There is no escape, no way out. He’s trying to ignore anxious thoughts, but is repeatedly brought back to them.

Nominated for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Drama
Country: Serbia
Director: Stefan Teofilovic

CHILDREN OF SAVA
A story about St. Sava of Storozha through children’s eyes. St. Sava was one of the first disciples of St. Sergius of Radonezh. He was the founder of the monastery to the Nativity of the Theotokos in Zvenigorod, which was later given the name of St. Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery.

Genre: Animation
Country: Serbia
Director: Jakov and Zlata Popov

THE GOOD STRUGGLE
An intimate and rare portrayal of an Orthodox Christian monastic community in Lebanon as they go about their simple, traditional and almost silent way of life.

Genre: Documentary
Country: Lebanon
Director: Celia Peterson

FATHER GABRIEL’S PRAYER
Father Gabriel, an Orthodox Christian Priestmonk, is on a journey to spread the love and faith of Jesus Christ to all he encounters. Witness Father Gabriel as he applies prayer throughout his day.Genre: Animation
Country: United States
Director: Nicholas Tamraz

DOOR OF PARADISE
A man is locked in a cell. Though he has the key to open the door, he needs strength greater than himself to use it.Nominated for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Drama
Country: Jamaica
Director: Joseph Thompson

THE THIRD GRACE
In Mayenne, a historic region of French heritage, there is an Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Holy Mother of God. The film is an intimate window on the life of the sisters of the monastery from Morning Prayer until Evening Vespers.

Nominated for BEST SHORT-FILM & BEST DIRECTOR (SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Documentary

Country: France
Director: Duval Louis-Pierre

CUPPA
A filmmaker explores his love of tea and friendship.

Nominated for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (SHORT-FILM)
Genre: Documentary
Country: Australia
Director: Stephan & Andrew Robinson

ORTHODOXY IN THE SHADOWS OF COMMUNISM
Romania, one of Europe’s most religious countries, has endured the horrors and brutality of a communist regime only to emerge victorious.

Genre: Documentary
Country: Canada
Director: Andrei Russo

SEARCHING FOR HAPPINESS
What are people searching for most? Isn’t the happiness they have enough? And, if we all want it, are we searching it as it should? Let’s be happy, all of us! In this short film, the kids from Pro Vita orphanage are playing a game that makes them understand this.

Genre: Documentary
Country: Romania
Director: Dinu Cristian

 

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Chris Vlahonasios

Chris Vlahonasios is a law graduate from Victoria University and Orthodox media writer for TRANSFIGURE Media.