Mercenaries set sail for a life of action against Somali pirates. Yet, the sea is full of surprises. Or lack, thereof.
Nominated for Editing
Nominated for Directing
Nominated for Sound
Nominated for Cinematography
Original Title: Vardia Director: Gregoris Rentis Country: Greece & France Year: 2022 Duration: 78 min Producers: Florence Cohen, Clément Duboin, Vicky Miha & Gregoris Rentis

SPECIAL SCREENING: 15th of October (3:45 PM): Conversation with cinematographer Thomas Tsiftelis (Greece) and Patrick Tresch (Switzerland), both nominated for the MIRAGE Cinematography Award.

SPECIAL SCREENING: 16th of October (1:00 PM): Conversation after the screening with the eminent cinematographer Thomas Tsiftelis (Greece). One of the nominated for MIRAGE Cinematography Award.

To safeguard the passage of goods through the so-called High Risk Area off the Somali coastline, privately-hired mercenaries are placed on board vessels to tackle the threat of modern maritime piracy. Dogwatch unfolds in three chapters: Yorgos, a fresh recruit, having completed his training, craves to enter the High-Risk Area, but has to first bide his time in the Sri Lankan port-town of Galle in what seems like an endless wait for his first transit. Seasoned Costa embarks on yet another journey at the peak of his career, hoping for an opportunity to prove his worth. His disillusionment reverberates with Victor, a veteran approaching retirement, who tests his toes on land only to feel estranged. While pursuing an office job opportunity, he takes on a young recruit. Mentoring him into an exemplary mercenary becomes his swan song of bravery. The three characters are woven into one, that of a mercenary who dedicates a lifetime of shifts in anticipation of making contact with the enemy – something his very presence renders almost impossible.

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With a hint of the Greece weird wave and a delicate hand Gregoris Rentis is a rising star on the world cinema stage.

Gregoris Rentis originated from Athens in Greece. Earning a Master in Fine Arts from California Institute of Arts his short film Sundown premiered in Rotterdam Film Festival. He is known for creating award-winning commercials and music videos. A producer and director, Gregoris is well versed in different types of storytelling.

“To me it’s a film that addresses the question of what it means to be a man today, this idea of having to be the strong guy with muscles and tattoos and the biggest gun: it’s absurd”

I was introduced to the world of maritime security through my uncle. Being one of the first privately-hired mercenaries installed in what was later known as the High Risk Area, he had many tales of sightings, camaraderie and life at sea. In the years to come, during the peak of the financial crisis, many Greek men went into maritime security because of the high salaries but also because of the myth it was surrounded with. The more I researched and met mercenaries, the more I discovered that there was a common thread in their stories; a desire to come in contact with the enemy, a longing for a type of conflict that was rare. That’s when I felt that apart from an intriguing world, there was a story I felt a desire to explore.