The Director


The award-winning director Iannis Smaragdis has had a long-standing and creative career, counting many commercial and artistic successes in cinema and television. 

His most significant feature films are:

* Cavafy (1996)

The film won the following Greek State Awards: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Role for Maya Limberopoulou. It received two international music awards for composer Vangelis at the Int’l Film Festival in Ghent and the Int’l Film Festival in Valencia respectively.

Official participation at the Toronto Film Festival, the Berlinale, as well as over 50 other International Film Festivals. It was nominated for Best Picture at the Int’l Film Festivals of Ghent (Belgium), Mar del Plata (Argentina), Sao Paolo (Brazil), Setubal (Portugal), Jerusalem (Israel), Montpellier (France) and many more.

Screened for 12 consecutive years at the Accattone movie theatre in Paris.

* El Greco (2007)

International Greek-Spanish-Hungarian co-production. A so-far unbreakable box-office hit in Greece with 1.200.000 viewers.

The film amended the wide misconception that El Greco was a Spanish instead of a Greek painter.

The film was chosen as one of five golden films by CBC at TIFF 2008.

The film won the following Greek State Awards: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Set Decoration, Best Music for Vangelis and Best Supporting Actor for Sotiris Moustakas. During the Thessaloniki Film Festival, it also received the Audience Award and the Greek Union of Film and Television Technicians Award.

On an international level, Spanish costumer Lala Huete won the Goya Award for best costumes, while Juan Diego Botto received the Best Actor Award at the Cairo Int’l Film Festival.

Iannis Smaragdis was also awarded the International Award for the Best International Director “GIUSEPPE SCIACCA 2008“, in Rome, as well as the Wisdom Award (Vraveion Sophiis) from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Delphi, Greece.

International distribution in Spain, France, Hungary and Russia.

In 2014, the Year of El Greco, many screenings were organized in various countries around the world (Peru, Chile, Canada, USA, Japan, China, India, Russia, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Ethiopia, Uganda, and more) with the collaboration of the Greek and Spanish Embassies.

* God Loves Caviar (2012)

A film honoring the Greeks of the Diaspora, about Greek benefactor Ioannis Varvakis, who became a respectable merchant in Russia. International co-production with an international cast (Sebastian Koch, John Cleese, Katherine Deneuve, Juan Diego Botto, Evgeni Stychkin among others) and a successful box office in Greece with 380.000 admissions. The film was picked up by US distribution company Vision Films Inc. and has been released in DVD and Blu-ray in the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, Russia, China, etc. Official participation at the Toronto Int’l Film Festival, the Shanghai Int’l Film Festival, the Pantalla Pinamar in Argentina. Following the release of the film, Iannis Smaragdis was voted on the Greek web the most popular artist in Greece for the year 2012.

* Kazantzakis (2017)

Iannis Smaragdis’ new film, whose script is based on the author’s highly acclaimed autobiography Report to Greco. The film is currently in its post-production phase and will be released in theatres in the coming fall.

* Iannis Smaragdis has directed many successful TV series for National Television, such as Hadjimanuel (1984) and Ave Taso Karatasso (1986), which was awarded with the Best Director Award.

His 13-episode cinematic series Hush… Our Country is Sleeping… in 1989, was considered the best TV series since the beginning of television broadcasting in Greece.

* He also touched the hearts of audiences with his TV film Good night to you, Mr. Alexander in 1980, about the life and work of Greek writer Alexandros Papadiamantis. It was the first film ever produced for the National Greek Television and with great success. It was screened at the Pompidou Modern Art Museum and the University of Harvard. In December 2015, it was screened in selected theatres in Athens.

* He created various documentaries for the Greek National Television, such as Looking for Ioannis Varvakis (2010) and the dramatized documentary Spyros Louis (2004), which was awarded the First International Award “Guirlande d’ Honneur 2004” at the Sports Movies Festival in Milan.

* In 2017, he directed Opera of the Shadows for the Athens Opera House.

* Professor of Mass Media at the Panteion University.

* In 2014, he was appointed president of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, but resigned after a 10-month tenure.

* In 2012, his film El Greco reached 5th place in the 10 Best Greek Films of All Time list on IMDB (

* In an article released in 2014, he was among a number of non-political personalities recommended for the supreme position of President of the Hellenic Republic.

* In 2015, the director donated 14 recreated pieces of painter Domenicos Theotokopoulos to the Orthodox Academy of Crete.