Deadly Greece Train Crash Prompts Thessaloniki Documentary Festival to Cancel Opening Night

The Thessaloniki Intl. Documentary Festival has called off its opening ceremony on Thursday as the Greek government declared three days of national mourning following a train crash Tuesday night that claimed at least 36 lives.

In a statement posted on Facebook Wednesday evening, the festival said it had canceled its official curtain raiser, “as well as all festive events and concerts scheduled to be held within the framework of the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, taking part in the three-day mourning declared following the unprecedented tragedy of the train collision in Tempe.

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“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 statement read.

Tuesday’s fatal accident, in which a passenger train carrying 350 people collided with a freight train in northern Greece, has sparked mass outpourings of grief across the nation of 11 million. It is believed to be the deadliest rail accident in the country’s history.

Rescue workers spent the hours after the head-on collision picking through the wreckage for survivors. Images posted on social media showed long lines of volunteers waiting to donate blood in Larissa, the city closest to the accident.

Greek transport minister Kostas A. Karamanlis, meanwhile, announced his resignation, saying in a statement posted on Twitter that “when something so tragic happens, it’s impossible to continue as if nothing had happened.”

The impact of the train tragedy was also felt elsewhere in the entertainment world on Wednesday, as Prime Video said it was delaying the trailer drop for its global spy series “Citadel” because of the events in Greece. The trailer, which was expected to launch that day, is believed to feature a train accident.

Reached by Variety, Thessaloniki festival director Orestis Andreadakis said the decision to call off Thursday night’s festivities was made “without any hesitation.” “This unprecedented tragedy has left Thessaloniki Film Festival in a state of shock, numbness and grief,” he said.

He added that film screenings and events held as part of the festival’s Agora industry program will continue as planned during the three-day mourning period.

The Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival runs March 2–12.

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