‘Democracy & Film’ weekend

Costa Navarino hosted a special ‘Democracy & Film’ weekend, as part of The New York Times  ‘Athens Democracy Forum’

An immersive event about the future of film as an agent for political change

Costa Navarino hosted the third immersive weekend as part of The New York Times ‘Athens Democracy Forum’, engaging participants in a discussion about “Democracy & Film”.

The 3-day event that took place 15-17 September, featured a series of film screenings, Q&As, cultural activities, and culminated in a lively debate set against the Messinian backdrop. Exploring how film and filmmakers are shaping viewers’ perception of current events and the world at large, the journalist and filmmaker Paul Mason and New York Times Op-Ed columnist Roger Cohen, engaged with the audience in an interactive discussion curated and hosted by artist and producer Ali Hossaini.

Welcoming the audience, Mark Thompson, President and CEO of The New York Times Company, said: “Particularly over the last couple of years, ideas are swirling about around democracy and its future. Film can make a decisive difference at the way you look at the world and think about these issues”.

For over five years, The NYT Athens Democracy Forum has been convened to identify and assess the critical questions affecting the enduring nature of democracy. Film has long been a powerful medium to frame and influence political discourse so we are thrilled to have brought this discussion to life within the framework of the Athens Democracy Forum here at Costa Navarino”, said Achilles Tsaltas, Vice President, International Conferences, The New York Times Company.

“Costa Navarino is proud to have been the filming location for international productions and also hosted for the second consecutive year the Faliro House | Sundance Institute Mediterranean Screenwriters Workshop. It is our hope that such initiatives will help showcase Messinia’s unspoiled, diverse landscape which, together with the full support we provide, make our region a great filming location” mentioned Achilles Constantakopoulos, Chairman and CEO of TEMES S.A. – Developers of Costa Navarino, in his welcome speech.

As the enduring nature of democracy comes under question, the role and power of film have come into focus. “Democracy falters when we lose our sense of common purpose. At its best, film creates empathy for opposing views by unraveling the easy truths of social media” commented Ali Hossaini, while Paul Mason focused on the changes in our societies: “In the past 20 years elites tried to reduce our concept of human life to homo economicus; zoon politikon, was eroded or sidelined. Above all we face an attack on universalism – on the concept of human rights“. Roger Cohen summed up this thought-provoking discussion which sought to define the industry’s role and responsibility in the future: “We need to provide a ‘reservoir of reason’ that can constitute a compass for the lives of our audience”.

In addition to the discussion, participants had the chance to view screenings of “The Untold History of the United States, Episode 4: Truman, Wallace, Stalin, Churchill & The Bomb” by Oliver Stone, “Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere” by David Lan, Tim van Someren, Paul Mason & Ali Hossaini, and “Democracy Road” by Michael Anton & Dan Joseph.

Authentic cultural experiences complemented the weekend, including a Philosophy Walk amidst the olive groves about ‘Democracy and Ancient Drama’, as well as guided art tours of original works from the 17th to the 19th century at Costa Navarino, an astronomy night and many more.