On Saturday, November 21, 2020, the American School’s short film, Twelve Decades of Discovery: American School Excavations at Corinth, won the Orona Foundation Award at the 20th International Archaeological Film Festival of the Bidasoa (Festival Internacional de Cine Arqueológico del Bidasoa [FICAB]).

The Oiasso Roman Museum and City Council of Irun organize the FICAB, which celebrates and broadens awareness of short and feature films about archaeology. Every year, these cinematic works are peer reviewed and awarded prizes in four categories. Twelve Decades of Discovery took the top award in the Educational Section. The School’s Hetty Goldman: First Among Equals short film was also nominated in the same category.

With its inspiring stories and stunning cinematography, Twelve Decades of Discovery tells the story of the American School’s long history of excavations at ancient Corinth. The School began excavating at the historic site in 1896, making countless discoveries and offering students and scholars unparalleled research and learning opportunities. Featured in the short film are distinguished School scholars, including Charles K. Williams II, Director Emeritus of the Corinth Excavations; Jenifer Neils, Director of the American School; Christopher Pfaff, Director of the Corinth Excavations; Nancy Bookidis, Assistant Director Emerita of the Corinth Excavations; Ioulia Tzonou, Associate Director of the Corinth Excavations; Eleni Gizas, Steinmetz Family Foundation Museum Fellow, Corinth Excavations, and James Herbst, Architect of the Corinth Excavations.

George Orfanakos, Executive Director of the School, said, “I would like to thank the Orona Foundation, Oiasso Roman Museum, and City Council of Irun for this wonderful award. I am also grateful to everyone who contributed to this project, including the School’s leadership and staff, whose invaluable input was critical to its development and production. I want to congratulate Director Nikos Dayandas and AORI Films, whose incredible passion, direction, and talent were crucial to the film’s success. Last but not least, I must express my sincere gratitude to Charles O. Yoder, the generous donor who underwrote this short film as well as several others.”

The production of these short films commenced soon after Orfanakos joined the School in 2015. Since that time, the School has collaborated with Dayandas on ten films, with two more that are underway.

Orfanakos explained, “Together with Nikos and his team, we have been telling the fascinating stories of the School’s 139-year history. By capturing the remarkable people and work at the heart of the American School, these short films create historical records that can engage future generations of students and scholars. What makes it even more exciting is that we are just scratching the surface and look forward to sharing many more of them with the world.”

Dayandas noted, “Ancient Corinth is a place of continuous inspiration. Its unending layers of history are reflected on the surface of the stones as well as on the faces of the people who have passed and continue to pass through there. I hope we did it some justice; it deserves this honor and much more. This achievement would not have been possible without all the help, support, and most importantly, the trust we always receive from the American School.”

To watch the School’s collection of short films, please visit