When we think of Greece, we are immediately taken to its unique landscapes full of blue and white, the ocean, the pleasant climate, the history, the cultural richness, the traditions, and the welcoming people. The country, considered a tourist paradise, also stands out for being at the forefront of innovation and creativity in audiovisual tourism communication.
The Amorgos Tourism Film Festival, founded in 2010 in the enchanting Amorgos Island, aims to celebrate and reward the best promotional videos and documentaries dedicated to tourism. The event annually attracts filmmakers, productions companies, marketing agencies, and journalists from all over the world.
In addition to its outstanding video competition, activities such as film screenings, talks, workshops, masterclasses, and immersive experiences in local culture are part of the festival’s program. The winners are announced at an elegant award ceremony at Aegialis Hotel, with a fantastic view of the blue ocean, which gave the name to the 1988 movie “The Big Blue” by the renowned film director Luc Besson.
In 2017, the Amorgos Tourism Film Festival became an official member of the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals (CIFFT), joining the CIFFT Circuit, the biggest competition for Travel Video Marketing worldwide.
To find out more about the history of the festival, who is behind it, and what the 2022 edition reserves for its participants, we spoke with Irene Giannakopoulos, founder and director of Amorgos Tourism Film Festival.
Who is Irene Giannakopoulos?
Irene was born in Amorgos. In 1982 she entered the field of tourism dynamically, with great risk, as at that time, as Amorgos was completely unknown. With a lot of work and many trips to exhibitions abroad, she managed to make Amorgos internationally known, and Aegialis Hotel, a reference point, to identify Aegiali and Amorgos.
In 1993, she founded the Cultural Association of women of Amorgos, and since then, she has been continuously active in cultural and tourism issues for the benefit of the whole island.
In 2003, the year of preparation of Greece for the Olympic Games in Athens, she organized for the first time the International Conference YPERIA, which was a great success, and brought considerable international publicity for Amorgos and entire Greece. Since then, it has been established and carried out uninterruptedly for 19 consecutive years, contributing to the growth of its Tourism by promoting the culture and history of Greece abroad.
Due to the international acquaintances and collaborations, the Amorgos International Tourism Film Festival started in 2010, parallel with YPERIA. Irene established the Amorgos Gastronomy Club in 2017, and she is the author of the book “My Amorgos”, a history of the island, its gastronomic culture, its herbs, and many Greek recipes.
Could you briefly tell us about your career so far and what led you to the Travel Video Marketing Industry?
The most important thing in hospitality is to love the people. I have been in hospitality since I was a child, and I have seen the tourism development on Amorgos since its birth.
At the Aegialis Hotel & Spa and the Amorgos Festival, we welcome our guests as if they were coming into our home. There is a feeling of our personal touch, and visitors become our friends, many of them returning year after year. Of course, the most important factor in successful hospitality is the quality of the facilities and the services offered.
What inspired you to found the Amorgos Tourism Film Festival? What were the main challenges in creating an international tourism film festival in Amorgos island?
Participating in other film festivals, as a jury member, I loved to meet very interesting people in the industry, and I loved tourism videos. I had already realized how important videos are, and how much they contribute to the development of one place, so I thought that a film festival on Amorgos, would be an excellent asset for the island.
What has been your most rewarding experience as a festival director?
Amorgos Film Festival has been established as a meeting point for filmmakers, film directors, journalists, film festival organizers, politicians, and many other interesting people from the art field. Exchanging ideas, with all these people, is really fascinating. Participating in other festivals, as a colleague, is a great opportunity to travel to different countries, to get to know the people and their culture, and gather new experiences and ideas.
In your opinion, what makes Amorgos a good destination for the festival? How do the attributes of the place contribute to the attendees’ experience?
It is one of the most impressive Greek Cycladic islands, with parts of it, reaching a considerable height of sea level, offering superb views over the Archipelago. Boasting marvelous beaches with azure waters, gorgeous caves, ideal spots for diving, scenic bays, and ancient authentic footpaths leading through its deep rocky terrain. Inhabited since the Protocycladic Era, as indicated by archaeological finds brought to light in the area, Amorgos has a long cultural history and traditions, which have been preserved by the locals, who welcome visitors with a smile on their faces and make them feel like at home!
Aegialis Hotel & Spa, the venue, where the Amorgos Film Festival takes place, contributes a lot to the great satisfaction of the people participating in it.
“The Big Blue” movie was filmed in 1988 by Luc Besson and it shows the real big blue of the remarkable island.
Why should people enter Tourism Videos in Amorgos Festival?
Amorgos film Festival has been established and recognized as a reliable and serious organization with a great experience, of 12 successful editions, and now preparing for its 13th edition. Its distinguished international Jury, adds prestige, reliability, and confidence to the participants for the results.
What kind of videos are you looking for, and what should they have to become winners?
We welcome videos related to tourism, environment, cultural, and gastronomy-related experiences. Videos that provide us with a vivid representation of the subject promoted. We are looking for passionate filmmakers that as we say in Greece put “Meraki” in their work. In order for a filmmaker to become a winner, he needs two things, a remarkable idea and the decisiveness to win.
What can we expect from Amorgos Tourism Film Festival in 2022? Could you share some of this year’s highlights?
This year’s edition is going to be full of surprises, distinguished guests and, of course, it will be as always, a space for networking among filmmakers, producers, and students.
To finish, as a Tourism/Travel passionate, how do tourism videos impact you?
Tourism Videos work for me as a way of traveling, and meeting new cultures through the eyes of the filmmakers. It is always a good way to forget everything for a while and just enjoy a new stimulus.