MILANO DESIGN FILM FESTIVAL GREECE—ATHENS | Prelaunch mini event series 2020 | Main Event 2021

Milano Design Film Festival (MDFF) was born in 2013 to set an eagerly awaited yearly rendezvous with cinema and Design in Milan.
A four-day event — preceded by a grand opening at the Triennale di Milano— that brings together stories of architects and designers, styles, avant-garde movements, and investigations into major social issues. 

A festival that investigates our current reality and contemporary living in all its forms, presenting a variety of points of view and projects, and explaining what projecting our lives means — in the near and distant future . 

The definition of the MDFF revolves around the world contained in the word “design”, with design and architecture being the primary linguistic codes in the process of decoding our contemporaneousness. Under the MDFF umbrella lies the communal aspects of design as well as the meaning of design and architecture for our contemporary existence, reviving the notion that everything that comprises our daily living habitat is bound to design. The MDFF yearly format entails biopics, short and feature stories concerning each and every one of us. From animation to fiction movies, from historical films and great classics to new productions, the MDFF’s cinematographic articulation has a traditional and an experimental outlook. Through a universal and compelling medium, the MDFF reveals poetics, utopias, and entrepreneurial strategies, while illuminating designers, architects, and great companies via new means of communication. The goals are multiple, with the common contact point being to provide audiences with the instruments needed to grasp all the nuances of the creative production journey. In 2019, for MDFF’s seventh edition, a significant addition joined the overalled concept: The launch of the Architecture Film Award (AFA) set up by the MDFF and the Foundation of Architects, PPC of the province of Milan, to encourage the production of cinematographic works dedicated to architecture and design, and to reinforce the use of audiovisual language as a communication tool for architects.

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Milano Design Film Festival  Greece & Cyprus

Having already traveled to different cities around the world — Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Cairo, Shanghai, Paris, Seoul, Beijing, Jerusalem, Stockholm etc., design and cinema arrive in Athens, Greece hand in hand, under the title Milano Design Film Festival Greece (MDFF Greece) expanding MDFF’s successful concept and format through a series of future stopovers around Greece and Cyprus.

MDFF Greece and its director Annie Markitanis, aspire to shape the Greek community of MDFF, through a rich programme of screenings, discussions and collaborations, between organisations and communities, who are responsible for the promotion of pioneering ventures; artistic movements and international personalities—through which common places emerge, and collectives who see Athens as a creative space of action and presence of ideas, are attracted to—with a main purpose of function, the activation of relational and investment models.

MDFF Greece–Athens shares thoughts, ideas and stories from the field of Design, through the arts of speech and the 7th Art—creating new benchmarks, whilst highlighting questions arising, through its multifaceted, multicultural and multidisciplinary identity.

Following the method of “Learning by Watching” and “Learning by Dialoguing”, the event is based on the values and impetus of the cinematic language, in the digital age. An open, to all professionals of the field—but also to whomever considers, such an event, a unique opportunity, to meet the world of design and architecture—though cinema; or conversely—to utilise cinema as a tool; to get acquainted with the world of architecture and design. This project, serves, one the one hand; as a hub of communication between architects, designers, directors, producers, artists, researchers, educators and entrepreneurs—and on the other; as a channel for promoting, the contemporary trend and creativity, of important scientific fields.

The unique ability of cinema as the Seventh Art to inform, investigate, educate, entertain, engage, and bring together viewers from all walks of life (architects, curators, filmmakers, designers, journalists, entrepreneurs, critics, gallerists, professors, photographers, artists, students, civic visionaries, social innovators, cinema and design devotees, and the general public), turns screenings into opportunities for socialization and cultural exchange. An event addressed to a wide range of audiences, from specialized professionals to those who consider a festival a pleasant and unique opportunity to get to know the world of design through cinema or, vice versa, to discover cinema as a tool for describing architecture and design.

The goal is to address the audience with the idea that Design is not a profession, but rather an attitude; that everything around us, everything we use, and everything that concerns our lives is bound to Design.

From the intersection of design and cinema comes MDFF World Tour Greece Athens’s commitment to carry on MDFF’s investment in seeing the future and designing our present, through a presentation of topics of disruption within our contemporary complexity, but also the suggestion of possible solutions. Alternative realities, lifestyles, philosophies, ambitions, dreams, languages, landscapes, cities, and biographies flow on the screen, legitimating difference, proposing working methods, and displaying changes. The event projects ways of building, inhabiting, and experiencing cities, as well as delves into the relationship between man and nature, where everything is design, study, research, and innovation.

MDFF World Tour Greece & Cyprus explores and explains the different dimensions and expressions of such key themes as Architecture, Design, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, Urban Life, Biography, Art, and the Art of Thinking.
A festival that investigates our current reality and contemporary living in all its forms, presenting a variety of points of view and projects, and explaining what projecting our lives means in the near and distant future.

The Festival is a great addition to the attractive cultural panorama of today’s Athens. Athens has been named the 2018 European Capital of Innovation for the resilient and adaptable nature that the city has demonstrated, and the innovative ways in which it has overcome extreme changes, next to social and economic challenges, turning them into new opportunities. In recent years, the city of Athens has provoked new sensations. It has presented new urban perspectives, projected new realities, and promising prospects, revealing itself as a City of rising arts and cultural renaissance.

The landing of the Milano Design Film Festival World Tour in Greece Athens calls the Greek creativity, experience, expertise, and vision on screen. It comprises an open invitation to interact through film titles and topics, that will in turn travel back to the mother country of Italy, for the key MDFF Milanese event in October.

The purpose of this first edition is to introduce to the Greek public a new, different way to read, perceive, and elaborate our present, and all that surrounds us. The goal is to instill the grain of curiosity in the audience, allowing this annual event to evolve organically.

MDFF World Tour Athens aspires to form a Greek MDFF community. The event provides a new context to erect a cultural bridge between Greece and Italy through a creative import and export, building new connections, and engaging the wider audience. Most importantly, MDFF World Tour Greece Athens aims to bring forth national and international companies who see Athens as a new place, suitable to share their stories.

Within the frame of MDFF World Tour Greece Athens  the city of Athens will be welcoming an event of international prestige, carrying on the legacy of the Milanese Design and Architecture capital. The event sets the base of a broader project, a project that boosts creativity and culture, and does so with the timeless cinematic poetry. A project that has the desire to tell stories and, through them, to narrate our past, present, and future.



MILANO DESIGN FILM FESTIVAL GREECE—ATHENS | Prelaunch mini-event series | Design in Film Around the City of Athens | 2-8 NOVEMBER 2020

Although, as everything shows, 2020 will go down in history as a year of absence, ironically, it is also the year that highlighted our basic, instinctive need for physical connection. 

Following this logic, the Milano Design Film Festival Greece-Athens, which due to the worsening of the pandemic and the strict measures that have been taken, has transferred the main event to the Benaki Museum and Greek Film Archive for 2021 (Dates to be announced) chooses to introduce itself to the public with one week of prelaunch mini-event series titled, “Design in Film around the city of Athens”, which will serve as a precursor of the main event, providing the public with, in this way, a first “taste” of MDFF, for all which is to follow in 2021—whilst showcasing a unique way of viewing and experiencing, the identity of this new festival organisation.

A prelaunch mini-event series consisting of screenings, discussions, workshops, walking tours and e-bike rides with an underlying architectural theme. 

Most of these activities will take place in physical spaces or in outdoor locations in Athens, while some will be held online.

As the artistic director of MDFF Greece & Cyprus, Annie Markitanis noted: “Today’s unfavorable conditions have been the springboard, for an exchange of thoughts and ideas, with organisations/institutions/spaces, and people who support initiatives, of social and cultural interest…Our aim is to keep our contact with the city “alive” and to “marry” the curated content with the philosophy of each of the institution and initiatives involved…” “…We found ourselves in a dilemma: to present the whole program of our first edition online, or to transfer the physical event, once again, in 2021. We believe that considering that this is the first acquaintance of MDFF with the Greek public it requires – to a certain extent – the audience’s physical presence. So we chose a middle way: to transfer the key event in 2021, but in the meantime to introduce the Athenian public with a prelaunch week of mini-events, indicative of the philosophy of MDFF Greece, utilizing the current participation allowance of 9 people per gathering, and including the digital realm – as an alternative, a complementary outlet, but not as a solution.”

The prelaunch mini-event series, curated by MDFF Greece, will take place on 2 — 8 November of 2020, in collaboration with the following organizations: Italian Cultural Institute of Athens (in the context of Italian Design Day 2020, organized by the Italian Embassy in Athens with the theme: “Designing the future. Development, Innovation, Sustainability, and Beauty, and as part of Autumn all Italiana Online [online tribute to the culture of “Made in Italy” in collaboration with MDFF), Blue Cycle, Vorres Museum, Atelier Cycladon 8 (in collaboration with the architect Dionysis Sotovikis), French Institute of Greece (Designing life in space # 1 # 2), Architecture Kids Athens (AKA), Athens Municipal Maker Space (ΠΟΙΩ)/Serafeio, Typical Organisation for Standards & Order, Esperinos (in collaboration with architect Evi Sougkara and designer Stamos Michael), InMind Headquarters & Showroom (within the frame of The Future of Work Design Week in collaboration with Archisearch & Design Ambassador), Shila Hotel and the European Cultural Center.

What is the relationship of the famous actor Jackie Chan with the world’s first fully mobile plastics recycling machine – The Trashpresso?

What is the innovative material Marwoolus?

In what ways a dynamic, targeted DIY culture can be enhanced through the possibilities offered by a modern, open to the community Maker Space workshop?

In what ways drones will transform cities? In what way are drones bringing in a new special level, the aerial one? Will “Aerial highways”relieve pressure on roads as deliveries and human transportation take to the skies?

Will tomorrow’s offices be smarter or more human or both? How will technological advances speed up these new forms of working for the future digital generation?

Which are the challenges to consider when designing the practical and emotional aspects of life in space? 

How a networked understanding of materials can be applied to a more holistic approach to design, and draw connections between timber’s physical materiality and the abstract but pervasive conditions of exploitation, colonialism, and consumerism?

In what ways do ‘political designs’ shape our environment and us?

How can we can make the most of the fishing nets, ropes and mooring ropes with the help of new technologies?

What is the Power of an Archive of drafts, sketches, models, renderings, drawings, particular techniques of completed structures?

How do we interpret the new condition of the post-modern cities?

What are Earth Stations and how do they foster productive human relationships? 

How well do we know our city? What do we know? Is there more?

How can we assemble the multi-faceted portrait of contemporary Athens, and explore the notions of community, tourism, inhabitation and the neighbourhood, through architecture, typography, collective histories, urban myths and the vernacular?

Which is the notion of a subversive architecture that crosses boundaries between the disciplines, establishing itself as a socially relevant art form?

What is today’s meaning of home? Which are the living rituals that act as an experiential catalyst of living and hospitality and how can design be the propel engine of a personalized experience?

Which are the protagonists of The Golden Age of Italian automotive design?

Who designed the futuristic architecture of the the groundbreaking holiday home of Michelangelo Antonioni and his muse Monica Vitti?

Who was the first lady of Italian design?

Which is the secret soul behind objects, projects, materials, techniques and traditions?

In what way becoming familiar with one’s own modernist heritage and adapting it to the needs of today can be part of an architectural curriculum for kids and young people as a possible agency for change?

From a psychological perspective which is the architecture’s role in constructing one’s identity in respect to notions of permanence and change?

Both on and off screen, we will get a first taste of varying stories; ideas, thoughts, ways of life, innovations, and knowledges.

In the logic of “Learning by Watching” films based on principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability, will be screened, hoping to motivate and inspire the younger generations to reconsider the way in which they approach environmental challenges, such as that of plastic waste (Design and Sustainability, Sections).

In the Design Section, the films deal with the creation of innovative materials as well as design in dialogue with the daily life of an astronaut.

In the Architecture Section, important architects discuss what it means to transform an established heritage and change the way, in which we understand cities and architecture. At the same time, 530 residencies, which have literally been transposed, will function as the starting point for us to discover, new ways to inhabit and live in the city. Other examples, will “marry” two seemingly opposing arts: dance and architecture.

A first taster, on one of the Festival’s most fascinating themes, Artificial Intelligence, is the way in which drones will transform the city. The “aerial highways” will decongest roads, as transportation and human commotion, turn to the aether. Architecture itself will change completely, as ground-floor entries, will be replaced by terraces, on which there will be landing zones.  A powerful advantage to humanity, or a threat to our privacy and safety?

The human vs. nature dipole, is explored through short-films which investigate how the timber industry, has evolved over time, examining how the timber industry is connected to chronic conditions of exploitation, colonialism and consumerism, whilst at the same time, providing us with an incentive to re-consider humanity, though the prism of trees—contesting our own sense of sovereignty, in the logic of protecting these complex ecosystems— essential to our own survival.


In the logic of Learning through Dialogue, many are the topics to be discussed: How do we schedule the emotional and practical aspects of life in space? How important is the multi-disciplinary approach and the creative contact between dissimilar scientific fields, in the cultural reformation of a rapidly changing era? What could possibly be, an expected future scenario—taking into consideration, that through continuous digital and cultural changes, the way in which we work, is influenced? Will tomorrow’s offices be “smarter”, more humane, or both? In what ways, is the concept of modern, home life, enriched through empirical experience of a contemporary hospitality? What is the role of design in bridging these two conditions? What is the role of Living Rituals, as an experiential catalyst of hospitality? How can design be the driving force behind a personalised mental and spiritual experience? How do we approach the concept of subversive architecture that crosses the boundaries, between scientific disciplines—as a form of social art? How do we get acquainted with the heritage of the modern, by adapting to the needs of today? How can this constitute, as part of an architectural programme, for children and the young, as a possible means of change, on the way we view, understand and judge, our surroundings? From a psychological standpoint, what is the role of architecture, in the construction of our identity—with regards to the concepts of permanence and change?


At the same time, outdoor activities will take place, with departure points, central locations of Athens—such as walking tours in the city, titled “Hotel Village” in collaboration with Desired Landscape magazine, in a series of modern, post-war and neo-classical 19th century buildings—which where quickly, renovated and converted into hotels, during the past three years. Through the architecture and typography, of collective stories, urban myths and oral tradition, this walkabout will explore the concepts of community, tourism, housing and the neighbourhood, attempting to outline, the multifaceted portrait of contemporary Athens.

Cycling routes of an architectural interest, under the title “Riding Athens: Architectural e-Bike Tour” in collaboration with Solebike and the Hellenic Institute of Architecture, whose main aim is to act as compass—providing the coordinates of a route, from which new perspectives emerge—re-discovering the personality and transformation of the city. Historical and modern Athenian buildings, roads and neighbourhoods, narrate a journey of socio-political changes.

Additionally, MDFF Greece–Athens, in collaboration with Big Olive Athens, presents an urban workshop, starring the residents and visitors of each neighbourhood, under the title “Artful Walking. The Athenian Flaneurs”. An experiential, contemplative and visually-artistic workshop, which evokes questions, such as: What does it mean for one to be present, in the here and now?

How does the experience, of such a well-known and “familiar place,” change, when we move our thoughts away, from everything which is noisy—which distracts our attention from everyday life—whilst at the same time, new sensory receptors are opened, which allow for the reception of new information—a new stimulus? How do we associate to the environment around us? How do we observe, and what, should we focus our observation on? How aware are we, of the places and roads we already know? The workshop will explore the are of Pangrati—especially, the particular bond between the bourgeoise neighbourhood of the Old Royal Palace (Hellenic Parliament & National Garden) and the hip-neighbourhood, located east of the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro).


  1.  Each mini-event will not exceed the number provided by law, and the COVID-19 protection measures will be strictly applied, as per all the specifications set by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the National Public Health Organization (ΕΟΔΥ). 
  2.  Due to limited attendance allowance, a priority order of participation will be followed
  3.  Participants must arrive 30 minutes earlier than the start time of each mini-event
  4. Face masks must be worn by all participants at all times, both outdoors and indoors
  5.  The seating placement follows all necessary safety distances
  6. The mini-events have no commercial character
  7. Participation to the mini-events is possible only upon registration via Eventbrite.
  8. Α separate registration is necessary for each on the mini-events you wish to participate/attend





MILANO DESIGN FILM FESTIVAL GREECE—ATHENS  | Main Event | Design as seen at the cinema in Athens | 2021 (Dates to be announced)

Opening Night Ceremony | Upon registration (Dates to be Announced)
Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos St.

Official program launching | Free Entrance (Dates to be Announced)

Greek Film Archive / Tainiothiki tis Ellados, 48 Iera Odos St. & 134–136 Megalou Alexandrou St.

The first event of MDFF Greece–Athens, which is to be held in 2021 (Dates to be announced soon) titled “Lights On—Projecting our Contemporary Future”, held under the auspices of the Municipality of Athens, the Italian Embassy, Italian Cultural Institute of Athens, Hellenic-Italian Chamber of Athens, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Greek National Tourism Organisation, and the General Secretariat for Research and Technology, and whose purpose is, to investigate our current reality and the contemporary living—in all of their manifestations. The event will include, over 20 screenings of short and feature films, documentaries and biopics, as well as various lectures, workshops, discussions and parallel activities.

In its main programme, it deals with issues and thematic sections such as Architecture, Design, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, Urban Life, Biopics of protagonists/masters in the design and architecture scene, the dipole of Man & Nature, Art, the Art of Thinking. An additional important thematic section of the event, will be the “Arecibo Message”, from the world-renowned designer and guest curator of MDFF Greece–Athens, Michael Anastassiades.

During the main event, we will become witnesses—on and off screen—of alternative ways of life, philosophies, ambitions, dreams, landscapes, cities and biographies, which “legitimate” diversity—communicating alternatives and proposing solutions.

In the Main event  of MDFF  GreeceAthens 2021 (Dates to be Announced), titled “Lights On: Projecting Our Contemporary Future,” light emerges as a compass to help us navigate the skin of an era surfing the newness. The program offers to the public a wide range of films (Learning by Watching) of high value  Italian, international and Greek short or feature-length films, documentaries and biopics, along with a variety of talks, discussions, workshops, and parallel activities (Learning by Talking) that complement each other, demonstrate an innovative system of cultural communication and dissemination, with the polyphony of Design leading the way.

20+ Films, most of which have never been screened in Greece

10+ Talks & Discussions

20+ Greek + International Guests

GUEST CURATOR | Michael Anastassiades, with his dedicated section, titled “Arecibo Message.”

The internationally known and multi-awarded Cypriot-born, London-based designer Michael Anastassiades, is invited by MDFF Greece as a guest curator  for the first edition in Athens in 2021 (Dates to be announced,)  presenting a selection of films and talks conversing with “space and time.” How do we actually select a representation of the world we live in today, of our planet, and of humans? Exploring the role of design beyond standard definitions and summoning the power of film to engage audiences, Anastassiades sends his “Arecibo Message” as an ephemeral signal to negotiate our quest for evolution.