EXCLUSIVE: The Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival in Northern Greece will cancel its closing ceremony Sunday as the country continues to mourn following a fatal train crash that killed at least 57 people, Deadline can reveal.
The winners from the festival’s competition strands will be announced virtually on Sunday afternoon through a press release. The competition winners will be photographed with their awards, but there will be no closing ceremony.
Last week, festival organizers also canceled the opening ceremony following the train crash and said the festival would continue, but all “festive events and concerts” would be canceled.
“In these hours of grief and pain, our thoughts are with the families of the victims, to whom we express our most sincere condolences,” the festival said in a statement at the time.
The fatal crash took place in Tempe, north of Athens, and involved a packed commuter train colliding head-on with a freight train at high speed. The commuter train was traveling north from Athens to Thessaloniki.
The collision occurred just before midnight local time. The country’s transportation minister has since resigned, and the stationmaster at the train’s last stop, Larissa, has been arrested and faces felony charges. At least 200 survivors were taken by bus to Thessaloniki, about 80 miles north after the crash. Many of the passengers on the train are believed to have been university students.
The deadly crash has sparked widespread protests across Greece over the past week about the government’s responsibility for the disaster. Last week, more than 40,000 people marched in central Athens. Thousands also took to the streets in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-biggest city. The protests also coincided with a 24-hour workers’ strike.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has since issued a public apology for the crash and has promised to overhaul the country’s railway network.
“As prime minister, I owe everyone, but above all the relatives of the victims, a big sorry,” Mitsotakis said in the statement. “In the Greece of 2023, it is not possible for two trains to run on opposite sides of the same track without anyone noticing.”
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