Athens Open Air Film Festival (AOAFF) was originally established in 2010, being a result of the fruitful collaboration between Athens’ International Film Festival and the renowned magazine ΣΙΝΕΜΑ, as an attempt to promote not only the art of cinema, but also to highlight the importance of the city’s urban landscape and character. The festival -which after 5 successful years is ready to celebrate its sixth birthday- organizes film nights at numerous neighbourhoods of the city; places such as museum yards, the Lycabettus Theatre as well as others of special significance, such as archeological places or historic squares transform into outdoor cinemas, offering the opportunity to locals and tourists alike to enjoy a variety of film genres with a free entrance.
The festival usually begins towards the end of May and continues throughout the summer until late September, taking advantage of the ideal weather conditions that characterise this period. Most film viewings begin at 9, when the summer breeze gently takes the place of the frequently exhausting daytime heat. The program includes various movie genres, from classic noirs to modern blockbusters; a wide range is covered, so as to both to familiarise the public with the rich history of cinema and to attract the interest of viewers of different backgrounds. Special viewings of short-films, usually by new Greek directors are added to the program each year, as the festival also functions as a promotion of the local art scene and production.
The festival typically includes four different movie categories: classics, greek movies, premieres as well as viewings accompanied by live music. Other festivities however complement the program, many of them being usually kept as surprises; last year, the Oscar-awarded musician Alexandre Desplat made the public go wild with his performance on the closing day of the festival. It’s continuously growing appeal resulted in the winning of the gold medal in the Tourism Awards 2015, in the category of Travel and Hospitality. This distinction highlights the contribution of the festival to the development of the touristic interest of Athens as a destination, as well as the power of art to bring people together through its beauty.