Elefsina’s title year as European Capital of Culture is coming to an end with a three-day celebration filled with unique events, projects and happenings all over the city, signalling the Opening of a new era for the city and for Culture.
Elefsina celebrates the end and the beginning! Just a few days left for “Mystery 1 CLOSING: OPENING, A Ceremony,” the unequalled three-day celebration by 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture for the conclusion of the title year, which will take place in Elefsina from 15 to 17 December.
The opening of the three-day celebration, on Friday 15 December, pertains to the first axis of the 2023 Eleusis programme titled PEOPLE | SOCIETY and begins with “IN SITU REALITIES – Eleusis Documentary Festival”. Returning to Elefsina, 23 years after the iconic Agelastos Petra [Mourning Rock], the new documentary by Filippos Koutsaftis titled “The Eleusinians” premieres at the renovated Cine Eleusis and three other open-air venues, presenting a portrait of Elefsina as a marginally symbolic and visionary city, transcending geographical boundaries. The Festival continues until Tuesday 19 December with the premieres of more than 12 documentaries inspired by Elefsina and the wider region, as well as an audio-visual retrospective of the activities and projects that were held in the context of 2023 Eleusis.
Moreover, the Festival features films and Masterclasses by renowned Greek directors – Filippos Koutsaftis, Eva Stefani, Menelaos Karamaghiolis, and Syllas Tzoumerkas – as well as works by young filmmakers focusing on West Attica. In addition, through synergies with significant institutions of cinema, such as the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, the Peloponnisos International Documentary Film Festival, and the Exile Room, it presents special tributes, workshops, and documentaries for children.
The heart of the festival beats in Cine Eleusis, the central hall of which is named, by decision of the Municipality of Elefsina, “ Despina Geroulanou” as a minimum sign of gratitude for the contribution of the unforgettable Chair of 2023 Eleusis Board of Directors.
In the afternoon of the same day, the Warehouses of the Old Oil Mill Factory are inaugurated as well as the exhibition Mystery 87 My Sea Journey, I My Land Claim by visual artist Stefania Strouza.
Saturday 16 December is dedicated to the second axis of the programme, the ENVIRONMENT, where the city’s youth take over. Arkopolis, an open space of cooperation, inclusion, and free creativity, created by the Belgian collective TimeCircus, becomes the centre of a day-long celebration where Elefsina’s Cultterra youth group curates a varied programme for young and old alike, featuring skate, rollers, bmx, finger skate, screenings, crafts, live music shows and DJ sets, workshops for all ages in collaboration with artists, groups and communities from Elefsina, as well as the “Mystery 172 A Dancing Journey” by Still Pilgrim Paradox. Moreover, a special event inaugurates the first Skatepark in the wider region, which was created by the Onassis Foundation as a donation to the Municipality of Elefsina.
In the afternoon of the same day, in the framework of “IN SITU REALITIES – Eleusis Documentary Festival”, the Μasterclass by Menelaos Karamaghiolis titled “ The moving image as a starting point for actions with social impact” will be held, followed by the premieres of the documentary “Mystery 69 GREEKIES” and Yiannis Kanakis, Yiannis Panayiotarakos, and Anna Psarra’s “The Wheat on the Shirt,” as well as another screening of “The Eleusinians”. Right after, the speech-presentation “ Rituals of the Winter Solstice,” curated by Lambros Liavas, will take place at the X-Bowling Art Center, as well as the last concert of traditional music “ …it’s Christmas!” that will complete “Mystery 100 Sacred Songs”. The curtain will fall with the big party of the Closing Ceremony, which will inaugurate the renovated Eleourgiki Industrial Complex, hosting DJs Ad Mark, Eliot, FO, Thanasis Karanikas and Irini Karaoglou.
The axis of Sunday 17 December is WORK, featuring the opening of the impressive exhibition “Mystery 111 Terracotta Army of Elefsina” by Juan Sandoval at the Iris Factory: the history of human industry is artistically depicted in the form of an army, as more than 2,000 handmade clay helmets belonging to local workers and labourers occupy the former paint factory. A bit earlier, the Canteen art hub of Elefsina will be inaugurated, while the project “Immersion: an unexpected set” will also begin. In the afternoon of the same day, there will be additional screenings in the context of “IN SITU REALITIES – Eleusis Documentary Festival”, including a Μasterclass by Filippos Koutsaftis, premieres of films by Marianna Ekonomou and Pavlos Kosmidis, as well as the third screening of the documentary “The Eleusinians”.
One hundred and fifty residents of Elefsina participate in “Mystery 125 Elefsina 2023 Community Orchestra & Choir” by Aleksandar Carić, an unexpected parade starting at the Iroon Square and culminating in a great concert at Eleourgiki. The three-day celebration will conclude on Sunday night with “Immersion: an unexpected set”, in front of the Canteen art hub, marking the finale of the activities for the European Capital of Culture title year.
The circle is complete. Persephone returns to the Underworld.