Greek Cinema 2012-2013: Against all odds!

If the landscape of a country’s local output is nothing less than a reflection of the country itself, then the list of fiction features that follows – all the films currently shooting, in pre/post-production, or simply waiting in line for a theatrical release – are in direct contrast to every other facet of contemporary Greece, plagued by idleness and malfunction. Against all odds, homegrown cinema continues to bloom…

The following list started out as an attempt to record as many Greek films as possible, whether in the planning stage, in production or in the can. Not an easy task, as we would soon found out. New titles kept cropping up as we went along and it’s safe to say we probably missed a few. The Flix hitlist includes films from already established, up-and-coming or even unknown directors, from the most obscure to the most decorated. Even more shocking than their quantity is the fact that very few of these projects were financed by the Greek Film Center or the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, which seems to be eternally “under reconstruction”. The number of new filmmakers who dared take their first step despite adversity, a notable decrease in commercial mainstream fare, as well as the refreshing example of local auteurs forging international partnerships, is decidedly impressive.

In a country that’s currently questioning its own identity, Greek cinema has both feet firmly planted on the ground with discernible film trends, directors you can rely on, welcomed attempts at experimentation and very few leftovers from the recent (and less than savory) past.

It wouldn’t be fair to spoil this festive lineup with anger and frustration, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the state is refusing to believe in its only marketable product, even when under financial and political attack. Showing some love for homegrown films would certainly cost less than the ineffectual tourism campaigns that are supposedly improving our image abroad. Not to mention the fact that the new government saw fit to sandwich culture between football and math in the unified ministry for Education, Religious Affairs, Culture and Sport!

But let’s not fool ourselves: the sheer volume of local production is no proof that the crisis is doing wonders for creativity and, lo and behold, it’s suddenly easier to make film in Greece than it was before. All it means is that the people who insist on making films in this country refuse to give up. And that’s the greatest sign of optimism we’ve seen in a while…

NOTE: The development stage of each of the films listed below is indicative of the stage the project was in when this list was compiled.

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Boy Eating the Bird’s Food by Ektoras Lygizos

Although he’s only ever made two shorts (“Interior with Woman Peeling Apples (Details)”, winner of the 2002 State Cinema Award, “Pure Youth”, participation at the 2004 Biennale di Venezia), Ektoras Lygizos was always one of the most hopeful up-and-comers in the homegrown scene. “Boy Eating the Bird’s Food” screened as a work in progress at last year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival and received it world premiere at Karlovy Vary, fulfilling all its promises. The film, which is not specific to the Greek credit crunch, narrates three days in the life of a 23-year-old man struggling to survive in contemporary Athens, while at the same time trying to keep his pet canary alive. It’s a struggle against all odds, but mostly against his own foolish pride that prevents from asking for help. The main character was especially written for young actor Yannis Papadopoulos.Click here to learn more about the film. [“Boy Eating the Bird’s Food” is expected to hit movie theaters this Fall courtesy of Feelgood Entertainment]

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My Blood by Diamantis Karanastasis

Based on Marianna Kalbari’s stage play "New Blood", which is, in turn, a contemporary adaptation of the Oedipus myth, "My Blood" marks Diamantis Karanastasis’ transition from stage and television actor to theater director, as he explores the common ground between theater and cinema. Despite winning the Special Jury Award at the Amsterdam Film Festival, "My Blood" is a no-budget production shot by a minimal crew that only included the director himself, DOP Simos Sakertzis and set designer Christina Kalbari. The film stars Diamantis Karanastasis, Vicky Volioti, Nestoras Kopsidas and Dora Sampsona. Click here for a full review.

The Sentimentalists by Nikos Triantafyllidis

Thirteen years after "Black Milk", Nikos Triantaffylidis returns to fiction after trying his hand at documentary with "Screamin’ Jay Hawkins" in 2001. "The Sentimentalists" is an independent production of a very contemporary black comedy, which is set to reunite him with some very familiar faces, including cult icon Apostolos Souglakos. [The film is currently in pre-production].

The Eternal Return of Andonis Paraskevas by Elina Psykou

Elina Psykou’s first feature tells the intriguing story of the title character: Andonis Paraskevas moves into a shuttered hotel. He wanders around from room to room, taking pleasure in its luxuries until he’s eventually bored. Andonis is dreaming of a triumphant exit. But he has to wait a while. There’s only one way he can make his come-back. By not coming back! It’s the only way to preserve his legacy and ensure his immortality. Starring Christos Stergioglou, Giorgos Soukses, Maria Kallimani, Theodora Tzimou, Syllas Tzoumerkas, Lena Giaka, Vassilis Dimitroulias and Youla Boudali. Produced by Elina Psykou, Guanaco, Steri and ERT SA. “The Eternal Return of Andonis Paraskevas” won the Works in Progress Award at the last Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Click here for more details [The film is currently in post-production.]

The Other Sea by Theo Angelopoulos

The first film the renowned Greek director shot in Athens and Piraeus (i.e. in an urban center) turned out to be his last, albeit unfinished, work. An amateur theater troupe composed of Greeks and economic migrants struggles to stage Brecht’s masterpiece "The Threepenny Opera" but fails miserably due to financial restrictions. Meanwhile, a businessman who’s involved in politics (played by "Il Divo’s" Toni Servillo) is forced to oversee the smuggling of illegal immigrants from FYROM and Albania into Italy, with Greece serving as a half-way stop. The Greek cast includes Irini Stratigopoulou, Christos Loulis, Dimitris Piatas, Eleni Gerasimidou, Akillas Karazisis, Gerasimos Skiadaresis, Vasilis Kolovos and Ilias Logothetis. The shoot was interrupted on January 24th due to Theo Angelopoulos untimely demise. According to rumors, the film will completed by his daughter Eleni.

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If… by Christoforos Papakaliatis

A fairytale about relationships, starring two young people in modern-day Athens, Dimitris and Christina, narrated by the main characters of an oldie but goldie, “And the Woman shall Fear the Man” by Giorgos Tzavellas, one of the most successful movies in the history of Greek cinema. 45 years after the movie was first made, the couple is still together and still very much in love, bridging the gap between past and present. Papakaliatis’ first full-length feature attempts to reconcile the history of Greek cinema with contemporary production values in a film where he doesn’t just take the driver’s seat in the directorial department but also holds the role of screenwriter and lead actor, alongside Marina Kalogirou. [The film was theatrically released on November 29 by Village Roadshow]

The Man Who didn’t Talk by Vangelis Rikoudis

Giorgos is faced with financial problems. His wife is threatening to leave him if he doesn’t pay the overdue rent. Giorgos gives her some of the money his boss has given him to buy tools and gambles the rest – and of course loses. The next day, he visits his friend Vangelis and lies about having cancer and supposedly needing money for a throat operation. When they meet again, Vangelis thinks Giorgos has had the operation and invites him on a healing trip through India. From the financial crises all the way to an exotic land, Vangelis Rikoudis’ third feature ("Bus to Goa", "To Handle With Care") participated in the 52nd TIFF’s Agora and is currently in limbo as far as distribution is concerned.

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Unknown Land by for Manuel de Coco

Arab Spring, Yemen 2011. The civil war rages on. It’s monsoon season and life on Socotra island flows in a slow, steady rhythm, until a boat sailing under a Jewish flag sinks and the search for survivors begins. A castaway is washed ashore a secluded beach, while a native living on the other side of the island, has a strange dream about a man seeking his help. Confused, he prays to God for answers unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. The castaway, an ordinary man who saw his life flash before his very eyes, realizes this adventure was only meant to shake him awake and remind him to always be grateful for what he’s got. But will he manage to change his destiny and make it home in one piece? A co-production between Greece, Cyprus and Yemen, “Unknown Land” by Manuel de Coco was shot in Yemen (Socotra) and Israel during the Arab Spring (Spring/Summer of 2011) with an non-professional cast and no script to speak of. According to the producers, the film has already been censored in several Arab countries, as some scenes were considered politically provocative. There are currently no plans for an official Greek release. Click here to learn more about the film

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Hannibal Ante Portas by Elissavet Chronopoulou

Six years after her debut ‘A Song is Not Enough’, Elissavet Chronopoulou opens the door to the unknown world of equestrian sports with a contemporary melodrama on the possibility of success. 18-year-old outcast Chara will employ any means necessary, both legal and otherwise, to become an equestrian champion. Convinced a spot on the national team will guarantee social acceptance, she’ll soon find out that dreams don’t always come true, especially in the world she’s so eager to be part of. Starring Alexia Terezaki, Yannis Kokiasmenos (previously seen in “Strella”) and Isavela Kogevina, “Hannibal Ante Portas” received its world premiere at the 17th Athens International Film Festival last September. Its theatrical release date remains unknown.

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Venus in the Garden by Telemachos Alexiou

In his first full-length movie – which premiered at the 52nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival – Berlin-based filmmaker Telemachos Alexiou pays tribute to Derek Jarman, Jean Genet, early Terence Davies, the nouvelle vague, Yannis Tsarouchis, Manos Hatzidakis, Constantine Giannaris’ early shorts and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Centered around the elliptical, heavily stylized black white story of two young boys and a pimp, “Venus in the Garden” walks the fine line between experimental film and avant-garde, introducing a young filmmaker whose notable debut is unlikely to ever see an official release.

Virus by Angelos Frantzis

Two years after his last film, “In the Woods”, Angelos Frantzis travels to Siberia to prep his new venture called “Virus”, a Franco-German co-production that won the Crossroads Award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival last November, supported by MEDIA. Athens natives Petros (40) and Anna (30) have recently relocated to Norilsk, one of the most polluted cities in the world, where the temperature never rises above -30 C. Petros, a distinguished and level-headed environmental engineer, is working on an innovative project at the city’s industrial plant. Their lives are unexpectedly disrupted when Anna gets pregnant, even though their sex life has been virtually non-existent since their arrival at Norilsk. Petros’ first reaction is to think Anna has been cheating, but her shock at the inexplicable pregnancy dissuades him. Anna, seeing her partner gradually drift away from her in an effort to explain the inexplicable, finds comfort in religion. The crisis within their relationship culminates and faith clashes with rationale in a futile struggle for meaning in a constantly changing world. Click here to read more about the film.

Lives of the Saints by Yannis Soldatos

The first installment of “The Exarcheia Trilogy”, “Lives of the Saints” is described as a puzzle consisting of St Antonios, St Sevastianos, Santa Ekaterini, the Virgin Mary and Joseph with scythe in hand, an androgynous photographer, a few publishing house employees who do porn, a boss who likes to document his wife’s adventures, a lunatic who likes to recite Baudelaire and a handful of lesbian customers who like to buy guns instead of books. Shot digitally, “Lives of the Saints” is an Egokeros, Mediavox, Sakis Maniatis and Videofactory production, screened as part of the 52nd TIFF Agora.

So She Could See the Sea by Angeliki Antoniou

Six years after “Eduart” conquered the international festival circuit, Angeliki Antoniou adapts Evgenia Fakinou’s novel of the same name about a woman who does not remember who she is, but she remembers how to cook. In the kitchen of a humble tavern, among the smells of spices and recipes of forgotten dishes, she will try to jump-start her memories and reactivate the recall of her lived experience. The customers, each in their own way, make gifts to her of things remembered and help her relocate or reinvent her memory anew. Scripted by the director herself, “So she Could See the Sea” is a Greek-German co-production between N-Orasis and Jost Hering Filme, with Yannis Exidaris on the Greek end and Jost Hering on the German side. [The film is currently in pre-production.]

Forever by Margarita Manda

Three years after “Gold Dust”, Margarita Manda is prepping new feature “Forever” and is currently exploring various ways of raising money, including direct crowdfunding. The film tells the story of Costas, a driver in the overground railroad, who falls in love with Anna as he drives her to work, day in and day out. “Forever” was invited to participate in the Paris Projects, where films are introduced to French co-producers in the hopes of securing international collaborations and funding. Click here to read more about the film. [“Forever” is currently in development.]

Wild Duck by Yannis Sakaridis

“Wild Duck”, Yannis Sakaridis’ first feature, tells the story of Dimitris, a telecommunications engineer who’s forced to shutter his business after running up a considerable debt with a local loan shark. He and his buddy Nikos, another telecommunications expert working for a big outfit, decide to get to the bottom of a big scandal. Their research leads them to a certain apartment, whose tenant Panagiota becomes the focus of their attention. Dimitris is now facing some major dilemmas and a trip to his hometown will help him clear his head and look at himself under a different light. Alexandros Logothetis plays Dimitris, Yorgos Pyrpasopoulos is his buddy Nikos, while Themis Bazaka is the mysterious Panagiota, while Yannis Stankoglou, Ilias Logothetis and Efstathia Tsapareli make up the numbers. Jan Vogel, who co-directed “Wasted Youth” with Argyris Papadimitropoulos, was enlisted as director of photography while the producer credit went to Yannis Fragos and the Athens Filmmakers’ Coop. Click here to read more about the film.

The Possessed by Yorgos Bakolas

In his first feature since 2003’s "To The Inn", Yorgos Bakolas returns to the director’s chair with a mystery focusing on interpersonal violence and state terrorism, through the story of two people in modern-day Athens. The film, starring Andreas Marianos and Stavroula Mousouli, was produced by Kimatothrafstis and screened as part of the 52nd TIFF Agora.

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10th Day by Vasilis Mazomenos

An independent no-budget production, Vasilis Mazomenos’s latest is a pared down effort focusing on a single person. Ali leads a solitary existence in a semi-basement apartment. His life is endlessly monotonous: he prepares his frugal meals, prays and then goes to sleep. His only diversion is the kick-boxing championship he’s training for. He makes a meager living by pilfering trash cans for scrap metal he hauls around town in a super-market cart. He’s plagued by memories of his home town, his family and his girlfriend, but worst of all, he’s haunted by the Ashura, a day of mourning for the majority of the Muslim people, which he always observes but never participates in. The events in the main character’s life are very similar to lead actor Ali Haidari’s reality, who also happens to be the director’s next-door neighbor. An immigrant from Afghanistan banished for fleeing the army, Haidari went from getting caught in the crossfire between the Taliban and the US army to pushing his cart in the streets of Athens without losing an ounce of pride. Click here to read more about the film..

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The Tree and the Swing by Maria Douza

Douza’s first feature stars Myrto Alikaki, Mirjana Karanović and Ilias Logothetis in a story about the absence of a real homeland, acceptance and love. Eleni, a successful doctor of Greek origin has been living and working in London, for the past fifteen years. Her father lives in Greece and has been elected mayor in his hometown. A Serbian refugee who had to fight his way back home, Kyriakos has never forgiven Eleni for leaving. When her husband loses is posted to China indefinitely, the prospect of a new uprooting prompts a unscheduled return to Greece for the Easter holidays. But when she gets home, she realizes nothing’s what she thought it would be. Kyriakos is now living with a Serbian lady friend and her 11-year-old daughter and has pretty much put her in charge of his estate. "The Tree and the Swing" received a development grant from MEDIA and is currently in post-production.

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Attractive Illusion by Petros Sevastikoglou

Shot in a record 15 days, Attractive Illusion was shot with the full cooperation of the Nigerian community in Athens. It happened almost by accident: Sevastikoglou was looking for a leading man for a version of “The Oresteia” he hoped to shoot in Senegale when he met and got involved in the lives of the people who soon became his main characters. The script, pretty much written by the protagonists, is about two men and two women who came all the way to Athens in search of a better life. The film premiered at the 1st African Film Week, which took place in Athens last February, while it also boasts an entry at Edinburgh International Film Festival. Click here to check out the trailer.

A Hungry Mouth by Argyris Papadimitropoulos

After “Wasted Youth”, directors Argyris Papadimitropoulos returns to “A Hungry Mouth”, based on Lena Divani’s novel of the same name. The script has been penned by Nikos Panayotopoulos, while Stefi’s Giorgos Karnavas is attached as producer and Konstadinos Kontovrakis has been named executive producer. It’s a psychological thriller about a young man who infiltrates the life of a wealthy, upper crust couple and manipulates them for his own amusement using basic dog training principles. “It obviously touches upon Pasolini’s “Teorema” and explores our animalistic nature and our tendency to move in herds. It’s still a very socio-political film, but this time it works its way down from the top. It moves in on the Kolonaki gentry, but old money can be tough to break”. Click here to read more about the film. [“A Hungry Mouth” is in pre-production.]

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11 Meetings with My Father by Nikos Kornilios

Nikos Kornilios’ sixth feature (his previous one was called "Tuesday") is about a girl who decides to go in search of the father she never knew. Eva is an independent young woman, who’s studying to be an opera singer. Her father, who doesn’t even know she exists, is a truck driver living in a container with no real aspirations in life. Their encounter is like two planets colliding and the bond they will develop is unusual and all their own. The script was penned by the director, starring Eva Galogavrou, Lambros Apostolou, Eva Stylander and Yorgos Tzouvelekis.

Contact by Tony Lykouresis

After period film "Slaves in The Bonds", Tony Lykouresis is prepping a new contemporary story set in modern-say Athens. It’s hot summer day, when a sudden blackout sees six ill-matched duos stuck in six different elevators across town. The trapped couples will have to get along until the power is restored, but the situation soon turns ominous. Each party sees the other person as a threat and only one duo will manage to escape their destiny by making real contact. ["Contact", a Boo Productions project, is still in the first stages of development.]

Vesper Symphony by Christos Voupouras

15 years after his last fiction film "Miroupafsim", co-directed by Yorgos Korras in 1997, Christos Voupouras was granted funding by both ERT SA and the Greek Film Center, but still hasn’t seen a single penny. "Vesper Symphony" stars Petros, a 45-year-old desk-bound archaeologist, who’s lost faith in selfless love. During a work trip, he meets a young Arab immigrant by the name of Hussam and bonds with him unexpectedly. Meanwhile, he comes across a strange mix of people, whose ideas about life and relationships are totally different to his own, and is unwillingly seduced by their point of view as we scours the town for true love. ["Vesper Symphony", a Boo Productions film, is currently in the fundraising stage.]

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The Enemy Within by Yorgos Tsemberopoulos

“The Enemy Within”, Yorgos Tsemberopoulos’ first film in 12 years tells a story about a disintegrating family that mirrors the social and financial crisis that’s plaguing Europe. 48-year-old Kostas Stasinos, the owner of a garden supply store, lives an ordinary life with his wife Rania, his 17-year-old son Andreas (a high school senior) and his 14-year-old daughter Luisa. A forward thinker and an unapologetic idealist since his student years, he has passed his values on to his children. But when his house is ransacked by a gang of hoodlums, his family happiness is destroyed, introducing violence into their everyday lives in the shape of an old rifle. Will his family find the strength to heal their wounds and move on? “The Enemy Within”, produced by Eleni Kossyfidou, has just finished shooting and is currently in post-production. Click here to read more about the film.

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The Amnesia Diaries by Stella Theodoraki

More fiction than documentary, “The Amnesia Diaries” started out when Stella Theodoraki discovered some long-forgotten Super 8 footage, which she decided to juxtapose with images from contemporary Athens, as the credit crunch deepened. Shooting and editing at the same time, the end result rewarded her efforts as the combination of old and new marked the end of innocence in a project so intimate it almost became political. Her one-woman-show (she directed, shot and edited the film) was brilliantly complemented by Christos Deligiannis’ music score, who dug into his own past, pilfering long-forgotten memories to juxtapose with the Greece of today.Click here to read more about the film.

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God Loves Caviar by Iannis Smaragdis

"El Greco" director Iannis Smaragdis is back with another multinational big-budget production. Shot in Greece (Pylos, Aegina, Crete and Psara) and Russia (St. Petersburg and Astrakhan), “God Loves Caviar” narrates the epic saga of Ioannis Varvakis with a multinational cast spanning 6 different countries (England, France, Russia, Spain, Germany and Greece). The life of Greek seafarer-turned-businessman Ioannis Varvakis had it all: open seas, high intrigue and international conspiracies. As a renowned 19th Century pirate, ship owner and shrewd merchant, Varvakis managed to infiltrate the royal court of Empress Catherine II of Russia, win her trust and evolve into a rich and very influential caviar exporter, who later returned to Greece to back the 1821 Revolution. The film was released theatrically by Feelgood Entertainment and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Hellas on October 11. Click here for a full review.

Cleaner by Nikos Lambot

Nikos Labot (aka Charalabopoulos) has worked in film and television in Greece and France and travelled the worldwide festival circuit with his second short, "The Dog", in 2009. "Cleaner" is his first feature about a 37-year-old woman, who’s forced to worked as a cleaning lady at a department story in order to contribute to the family expenses, as her husband is out of work and she’s got two young children to raise. Her first professional experience will bring her face-to-face with the tough job market in credit crunch Greece but will help her gain confidence and boost her self-respect. Until the moment she suddenly gets fired. [The project is in development.]

The Valley of the Roses by Nikos Panayotopoulos

Following "Blood Ties", Nikos Panayotopoulos is preparing a much more ambitious project, a semi-science fiction film, as he likes to call it, which he’s been working on for years. Based on Paul Amadeus Dienach’s book of the same name, it documents the author’s life in Austria, his near-death experience, his journey to Athens and a series of manuscripts he composed after his consciousness traveled forward in time, to the year 3.906 AD. His writings were later translated by the Dean of the Panteio University, George Papahatzis. The book, which others consider historical and others consider prophetic, has gained its own cult following in Greece. [The film is in pre-production.]

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The Daughter by Thanos Anastopoulos

Four years after "Correction" was featured at the Berlinale Forum and travelled the worlwide festival circuit, Thanos Anastopoulos is back with "The Daughter", the story of a 14-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy and a lumber yard about to go bust. The film, starring Savina Alimani, Angelos Papadimas, Giorgos Symeonidis, Ieronymos Kaletsanos and Ornela Kapetani was produced by Anastato Film, Fantasia Optikoakoustiki Productions and Mansarda Production. "The Daughter" was theatrically released on October 4.

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Girl with Big Eyes by Alexis Tsafas

Alexis Tsafas’ name has long been linked to Cape Verde. Having made a name for himself with documentary feature “Mindelo behind the Horizon” in 2009, he’s back with the first fiction film that’s ever been shot on the island. Based on a popular Cape Verde fairy tale, it tells the story of a Creole girl who returns home from Europe due to the sudden death of her father, faced with the harsh reality of an African country and the ghosts of her past. The Greek-Cape Verde co-production premiered at the 52nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, but it’s hard to say if it’ll make its way to movie theaters any time soon. Check out the trailer.

Lustlands by Lakis and Aris Ionas (aka The Callas)

Local band The Callas have taken it upon themselves to make a proper, full-length film, with a beginning and an end – and plenty of artistic references in-between. “Lustlands”, shot on a farm in the Argolida prefecture, is a family film noir taking place against a rural backdrop, with the sun burning up above and darkness lurking in the shadows. The storyline involves a group of unemployed girls killing time on a farm, when an age-old secret stirs primordial passions until they are forced to face the darkness behind the midday sun. Click here for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Lignite by Gregory Rentis

After a handful of short films and some exceptional music videos, Gregory Rentis is prepping his first feature “Lignite”, the story of two siblings growing up near the lignite mines of Kozani. After their father dies, the older brother is forced to take his place. The idea originated in a newspaper article about how this former cattle-farming region has now become one of the most highly polluted spots in Europe. The project took its first international steps at the Sarajevo Film Festival’s Cinelink. Click here to read more about the film. [“Lignite” is currently in pre-production.]

Luton by Michalis Konstantatos

“Luton”- Michalis Konstantatos’ first feature – was chosen to participate in “L’Atelier”, a “Cinefondation” program established within the context of the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, aiming to support and promote film development from all over the world. Speaking to Flix at the time, he described “Luton” as “a film that talks about western societies, about each and every one of us and all the things that bother us, the illusion of normality, our suspiciously “innocent” everyday life, inexplicable behaviors, the violence of listlessness and the violence that leaves paralyzed. It’s a commentary on the structures that make the western world feel comfortable. You might hate it, you might love it, it might piss you off or it might alienate you. But it’s still a film I really believe in and I really want to make.” “Luton”, written by Michalis Konstantatos and Stelios Lykouresis, was produced by Yorgos Tsourgiannis and is currently in post-production. It is expected to embark on its festival career very soon. Click here to read more about the film.

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Man at Sea by Constantine Giannaris

Although the dark, almost nightmarish, adventure "Man at Sea" already received its world premiere at the Panorama Section of the Berlin International Films Festival in 2011, Constantine Giannaris decided to reedit the entire thing upon his return to Athens, tightening the pace and giving the project a second wind at the 52nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival. His most ambitious project to date sees Alex and Kate reunite aboard the Sea Voyager after a long separation following their son’s death. On that same day, Alex rescues thirty young immigrants drifting at sea, but the owner of the nearly bankrupt shipping company pressures him to resolve the situation immediately. Meanwhile, some members of the crew form affectionate bonds with the children and even Kate resolves to give motherhood a second chance, but most feel their visitors have overstayed their welcome. Incapable of handling the mounting tension and deeply affected by the loss of his son, Alex makes some very bad decisions. The film stars Antonis Karistinos, Theodora Tzimou and Konstadinos Avarikiotis. Click here for a full review.

Α Blast by Syllas Tzoumerkas

One year after kissing “Homeland” goodbye, Syllas Tzoumerkas has a new film underway. Co-written with actress Yioula Boudali, the film doesn’t really have a definitive title yet and the name will most likely change somewhere along the way. As for the storyline, the director will only reveal the bare essentials: “I think the best way to describe what happens is to quote the tagline: ‘Maria is waiting for a blast, she has to set her life on fire’. We haven’t decided what the Greek translation will be, but I can confirm it’s about a woman that’s about to blow her life into smithereens”. The script was chosen to participate at Cinelink, the Sarajevo Film Festival’s project development workshop. [The film is still in the early stages of development].

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Breakdown Reward by Elias Georgopoulosτου

“Breakdown Reward” is a comic adventure full of likable losers, lost treasures, dirty cops and paid assassins. Two German contract killers are hired to dig up a lost treasure. Things start to go wrong when the loot accidentally ends up in the hands of three small-time criminals committing a burglary in order to pay off a debt to Munir, a local crime lord. The three friends use their connections with an underground informer to trade the treasure for cash. What they don’t know is that the contract killers and Munir’s thugs are hot on their heels. “Breakdown Reward” mirrors a society in the throes of recession, where only the strongest survive. Corruption, criminality, unemployment, isolation and depression provide the social context for “Breakdown Reward”, shot in Argos and Nafplio and starring Maria Georgarou, Yorgos Galanis, Andreas Tsiakos, David Rohrbach, Tobias Dostal and Yorgos Milonas. Click here for a full review.

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Standing Aside, Watching by Yorgos Servetas

“Standing Aside, Watching” is the second feature by director Yorgos Servetas, whose debute “The Way Things Are Determined” was screened in the 2008 Thessaloniki International Film Festival’s Digital Wave section. Antigone, a young woman in her early thirties, is back in her hometown and is determined to stay there. She reconnects with her old friend Eleni, gets a job teaching English at the local language institute and finds herself involved with Nikos, a younger man whose naivete is a breath of fresh air. Her simple, uncomplicated life turns out to be a lot more complex than she initially thought. The film, produced by Konstantinos Kontovrakis and Fenia Cossovitsa, is currently in post-production and will be distributed by Feelgood Entertainment sometime this winter. “Standing Aside, Watching” stars Marina Symeou, Marianthi Pantelopoulou, Nikos Georgakis, Yorgos Kafentzopoulos, Konstantinos Siradakis and Yorgos Ziovas. Click here for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Νumber 1 by Vasilis Myrianthopoulos

The "Just Broke Up" director is back with a film that’s basking in the glory of Eurovision! "Number 1" tells the story of four Athenians, two men and two women, who abandon the Greek capital in search of themselves and a better life on an island! A nostalgic pop musical about modern-day madness, "Number 1" utilizes a series of pop anthems that represented the country at the infamous Eurovision over the years and even boasts cameos from a series of Greek delegates to the world’s kitschiest song contest. [The project is in pre-production, hoping to start shooting in the spring of 2013].

Norway by Yannis Veslemes

Yannis Veslemes (aka Felizol) pays tribute to his successful past as a short filmmaker, by editing two versions of "Norway", a short and a feature. "Norway" tells the story of Jeanneau, a strange character somewhere between court jester and Samurai, who arrives in Athens by train for the first and final time. Photophobic, slightly vampire-like and an excellent dancer, he gets burned out on a town that’s not even on the map. The only thing he needs is a hot girl. The film, produced by Yorgos Tsourgiannis, Eleni Berdes and Christos Konstantakopoulos, stars Vagelis Mourikis and Alexia Kaltsiki. ["Norway" is currently in post-production.]

Duncharon by Athina Rachel Tsangari

After “Attenberg’s” international success, Tsangari’s next project “Duncharon” won the ARTE France Cinéma award for best project in the Rotterdam International Film Festival’s co-production forum. “Duncharon” is a science fiction film she’s been talking about for years. Details have been kept under wraps, save for the fact the film was written by Tsangari and close collaborator Matt Johnson. “Duncharon” is a Haos Film, Faliro House, Maharaja Films and Match Factory production. A few years earlier, in an interview to Austin Chronicle, Tsangari had mentioned that “Duncharon” is a black science fiction comedy with grumpy astronauts, prematurely advanced children and bionic bunnies, set on a volcanic Greek island doubling for Charon, the largest satellite of the dwarf planet Pluto. Click here for more info.

Xenia by Panos H. Koutras

Three years after the international acclaimed “Strella”, Panos H. Koutras is getting ready to shoot his fourth feature. “Xenia” tells the story of two brothers of Albanian extraction who make their way across Greece in search of their identity, marking Koutras’ second Greek-French co-production after “Real Life” first broke the ice in 2004. This time around, he will be collaborating with Movie Partners in Motion Film, while on the Greek side, the production will be divided between 100% Synthetic Films (Panos H. Koutras – Eleni Kossyfidou) and Wrong Men (Alexandra Bousiou). Belgian outfit Entre Chien et Loup has also signed on as co-producer. [The film is currently in pre-production and is scheduled to start shooting in the spring].

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Pandemic by Dimitris Piatas and Manos Arvanitakis

Dimitris Piatas directs and stars in a black comedy about a colorful bankruptcy, an attempt to merge reality with fiction in credit crunch Athens. The city is in the grips of a strange virus that causes patients to lose all touch with reality, leaving them in a state of bliss. A famous TV presenter holds the key to this strange pandemic, threatening to destroy everything. Dimitris Piatas is joined by Manos Arvanitakis on directorial duty, while the cast includes Michalis Mitrousis, Aris Hatzistefanou, Ioanna Piata and Michalis Economou. [The film is currently in post-production.]

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Papadopoulos and Sons by Marcus Markou

With the spot-on tagline “No one does the crisis like the Greeks!”, “Papadopoulos & Sons” is English-Cypriot Marcus Markou’s first feature, a comedy about the credit crunch blending British phlegm with Greek entrepreneurial spirit. Harry Papadopoulos has everything: a luxurious villa, a bunch of awards to decorate his mantelpiece with and a very expensive lifestyle. But when the credit crunch breaks out, Harry and his family will lose everything. Everything but a forgotten little restaurant called the “Three Brothers Fish & Chip Shop”, which belonged to Harry and his older brother Spiros who has alienated himself from the family a long time ago. A typically Greek and painfully contemporary film, starring Stephen Dillane (“The Hours”), Georges Corraface, Georgia Groome, Ed Stoppard and Frank Dillane. Click here to read more about the film.

Five-Shilling Nylon by Christos Siopachas

The Cypriot director is about to start shooting his fourth feature after 2003’s "Red Thursday". In 1964 Cyprus, an illicit couple arrives at a rural inn on the caravan trail. The story centers around the woman and her on-gain, off-again relationship with her partner, who comes and goes as he pleases, leaving her lost and alone at the mysterious inn. [The film is currently in pre-production and has been approved for funding from GFC.]

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A Ship to Palestine by Nikos Koundouros

“A Ship to Palestine” marks the end of a 14-year hiatus, as the 86-year-old director hadn’t made a film since 1998. The story is set in a small harbor in the southern Peloponnese. Iordanis Kyroglou, a man of great power and a preacher in the Masonic lodge, tries to collect information on the arrival of cargo ship “Naomi”, carrying wheat from Panama to Israel. In anticipation of its arrival, the leader of the Palestinian commandos, Kyroglou’s Jewish daughter, the leader of a Neo-Nazi group, the publisher of the local newspaper and 17 young women in search of a new homeland are implicated in a rather turbulent storyline. . Click here for a full review.

The City of Children by Yorgos Gikapeppas

It stood out from the very first time it screened at the 52nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI Award, as well as three Hellenic Film Academy distinctions (Best script, Best Actress and Best Special Effects), followed by a screening at the Moscow International Film Festival. "The City of Children", Yorgos Gikapeppas’ debut feature, follows four couples in modern-day Athens, as their lives are turned upside-down by the arrival of children. The film will be released theatrically by Seven Films. Click here to learn more about the film.

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The Prophet by Dimitris Poulos

After completing three shorts that travelled the international festival circuit, Dimitris Poulos enters the full-length arena with a film about troubled times. During a war, an injured soldier arrives at a monastery in search of his father, only to realize that these aren’t ordinary monks: they are people who refuse to fight in a war with no end in a land outside time. Yorgos Chraniotis plays the main character in a film that toys with the rules of the traditional spaghetti Western, while the storyline feels like a double entendre, like every good prophecy should. [The film is currently in post-production.]

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Runaway Day by Dimitris Bavellas

Shot in 16mm, Bavellas’ debut feature tells the story of Maria and Loukas, two people who decide to run away from home for no apparent reason. They start wandering around modern-day Athens, exploring the city, while each and every resident is ceased by a sudden desire to flee. "Runaway Day" is a film about zombies, but not the flesh-eating kind. Bending the rules of this well-loved genre, the villain here is the city itself and all the problems it inflicts on its long-suffering inhabitants. Starring Maria Skoula, Makis Papadimitriou, Erikos Litsis, Christos Stergioglou and Eva Vogli. Check the film’s Facebook page for more information.

Red City by Manos Cizek

First-time director Manos Cizek, with a science degree from the Lancaster University and a professional background in photography, tries his hand at the demanding genre of science fiction: A dystopian world of color and music inspired from the poetry of Dinos Christianopoulos and Maria Tataraki is interwoven within the backdrop of a futuristic Athens, which faces modern political turmoil due to a malfunction within the android population. "Red City" focuses on Antoine, an android lady escort, and its developer. Though one is a machine, whereas the other is a human, they both have a problem with authority, they are following their own individual paths towards self knowledge, both develop feelings along the way, and they become more human at the end. The film started out as a no-budget production in 2012, but ended up getting picked up by New York Entertainment, with Home Studio and Mix Productions signing on as co-producers.

September by Penny Panayotopoulou

Ten years after her feature debut “Hard Goodbyes: My Father”, Penny Panayotopoulou is back with “September”, a tale of urban alienation, loss and understanding, camaraderie and broken dreams. Anna is a 30-year-old woman who lives alone with her dog. Idiosyncratic and self-sufficient, she’s happy enough with her life until her dog dies and she loses direction. She suddenly finds herself looking around her, inside her and across the street to a neighboring family who lives a completely different life to her own. She knocks on their door, hoping they will let her burry her dog in their garden, the only patch of land in their cement neighborhood. The two women and get to know each other and silently acknowledge the fact that they are alone. Each yearns for the other’s life, because no matter what choices you’ve made in your life, there’s always something you’ve left behind. The film, a Greek-German co-production, was scripted by Kallia Papadaki and Penny Panayotopoulou and developed on a MEDIA grant. “September”, currently in post-production, stars Kora Karvouni, Maria Skoula, Dinos Diamandis, Christos Stergioglou and Gioulike Skafida, among others. Click here for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Stage Fright by Yorgos Zois

After the international acclaim of "Casus Belli", Yorgos Zois starts the long journey towards his first feature, "Stage Fright". According to the director, the term has been coined to describe the actor’s agony when appearing on stage but in reality it accurately conveys the fear of exposing our true selves in the presence of others. And that’s what interests him the most: acting out who you really are. The storyline takes place at the opening night of the most anticipated theatrical play of the year, usurped by unmasked intruders. They’re not trying to put a message across, their actions are the message. "Stage Fright" was awarded at the Sarajevo Film Festival’s Cinelink and participated at the Torino Film Lab. [The project, to be produced by Maria Drandaki, is currently in development.]

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A.C.A.B. All Cats Αre Brilliant by Constantina Voulgari

Five years after “Valse Sentimental”, Constantina Voulgaris is back with another personal story that wears its heart on its sleeve. “A.C.A.B. All Cats Αre Brilliant” is a no-budget production that was once granted funding by the Greek Film Center but never received a penny. The film documents the daily life of Electra, a girl of the anti-authoritarian persuasion, whose boyfriend is in jail – a victim of the anti-terrorism law – while she tries to stay creative without compromising her integrity. "A.C.A.B. All Cats Αre Brilliant" is a MITOS, Eleni Afentaki and Vaso Patrouba production, starring Maria Georgiadou, Dimitris Xanthopoulos, Themis Bazaka and Dimitris Piatas, among others. The film will hopefully be released sometime this Fall. Click here for a behind-the-scenes tour.

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Sotiria by Iasonas Tzavellas

An upper-crust couple decide to spend their holidays at a rural village, where a series of supernatural events will bring them face-to-face with the dead end that is their relationship, and existence in general. This is the storyline of 24-year-old Iasonas Tzavellas’ first feature, which premiered at the 52nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival. "Sotiria" is a mixture of poetry and sci-fi, shot in the Greek countryside with an abundance of classic rock anthems gracing the soundtrack. Whether the film will ever see an official release, remains to be seen…

The Last Prank by Vasilis Raisis

His first film, "Elvis’ Last Song" won the Digital Wave Award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in 2009 and was then distributed online (free of charge), which was the filmmaker’s intention all along. Vasilis Raisis’ new film, "The Last Prank", written by Raisis and Gabriel Efstathiou, tells the story of four young scientists with a very strange hobby: pulling pranks on people who pass themselves off as mediums, clairvoyants and the like, exposing them for the con-artists they really are. One of them joins a group led by a spiritual healer in order to prove it’s a hoax, but things don’t turn out as planned. Starring Nikolas Piperas, Marina Kalogirou, Nikos Monastiriotis, Giota Argyropoulou and Michalis Kaliotsos, among others. The project is currently shooting, with Digi DV Productions acting as producer.

Wednesday 04:45 by Alexis Alexiou

After gaining international acclaim with "Tale 52" (official selection at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2007), Alexis Alexiou is back with a violent neo-noir in credit crunch Athens. "Wednesday 04:45" will be a Greek-German co-production, supported by Eurimages, the Council of Europe fund for the co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinematographic works. Starring Stelios Mainas, Dimitris Tzoumakis and Giorgos Symeonidis. [The project is currently in pre-production and will start shooting early next year.]

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J.A.C.E. by Menelaos Karamaghiolis

Fourteen years after his debut "Black Out", Menelaos Karamaghiolis’ second feature opened at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, screened at the 52nd Thessaloniki Film Festival (where it won the Best Actress Award) and will soon be distributed theatrically in cinemas across Greece. "J.A.C.E." (an acronym for Just Another Confused Elephant) tells the story of a Greek-Albanian child – a latter-day Oliver Twist – who witnesses a massacre that wipes out his foster family, before he falls into the hands of ruthless gangsters who deal in slavery. The movie follows Jace’s inverted odyssey in a dark universe of abuse, murder and fear, as he desperately seeks a ‘family’ and a sense of belonging. "J.A.C.E." is a Greek-Turkish-FYROM and Portuguese coproduction, starring Alban Ukaj, Stefania Goulioti, Argyris Xafis and Ieronymos Kaletsanos. Click here for a full review of the film.

Third World by Vasilis Blioumis

Four interconnected stories cross paths at a Filippino town. A Greek kleptomaniac develops a strange relationship with a security guard. Maria is pregnant and forced to face her choices. Rosa is trying to send someone a letter but she can’t afford the stamps, while two young men are being trained to become terrorists. This is the fourth feature by Vasilis Blioumis, which screened as part of the 52nd TIFF’s Agora.

Chinatown, the Three Shelters by Aliki Danezi-Knutsen

The Greek-Cypriot film by Aliki Danezi-Knutsen tells the story of a young half Cypriot half Chinese girl trained in martial arts looking to avenge her father’s death. With impressive action sequences shot in the center of Athens and Cyprus, the film stars Katerina Misixroni, Themis Bazaka, Yannis Stankoglou, Koulis Nikolaou, Richard Ji, Chris Li, Master Tang and Tung Wing and is now one step closer to revealing its enchanting secrets. ["Chinatown, the Three Shelters" is currently in post-production.]

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Chess Games by Olga Malea

"Chess Games" marks a turning point in Olga Malea’s career, as she abandons light comedy, her usual millieu. Her new film is a psychological suspense drama about a mother-daughter relationship. Anna (11) strives to be the perfect daughter to please her mother, Mary, when she suddenly starts behaving oddly, putting herself in danger and pushing Mary to her limits. Why is a seemingly happy child, acting out so violently? Mary is trying to figure out what’s going on with her daughter, determined to keep the child on track so her personal and psychological development isn’t impaired in any way. Check out the teaser. [The film is currently in post-production].

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Fynbos by Harry Patramanis

Entirely shot in South Africa, Harry Patramanis’ first feature “Fynboss” traveled back to the Dark Continent for its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival this past July. Fynbos is a species of natural shrubland vegetation found in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, harsh yet disarmingly beautiful. It also happens to be the name of Harry Patramanis’ first feature, who has finally made the transition to full-length narrative after an illustrious career in advertising and shorts. “Fynbos” tells the story of an ambitious real estate developer on the verge of bankruptcy, who travels with his wife to an isolated corner of the Western Cape in order to seal a deal that could save his fortune. Once in Africa, he’s plunged into a mysterious world that couldn’t be further from the corporate environment he’s used to, pushing him to explore uncharted territory in the realm of human nature. Shot with a small crew and a South African cast, “Fynbos” was edited by Yorgos Mavropsaridis and scored by Coti K. Starring Jessica Haines, Warrick Grier and Susan Danford. Click here for more info.

F.L.S. by Thanos Tsavlis

One man with nothing to lose joins the "F.L.S." tournament, as his last resort, where killers from all over the world fight for money and glory. Now, against all odds he must win what might be the last fight of his life. Also known as the first independent Greek martial arts action feature, "F.L.S." (i.e. Forest of Lost Souls) is a purely DIY effort by rookie filmmaker Thanasis Tsavlis, which screened at the 52nd TIFF and is hoping to find its way to Greek theaters sometime this season. Starring Thanos Tsavlis, Giannis Karytsas, Loukia Tzortzopoulou and Dimitra Mpampadima, among others.

Frankenstein: The Odyssey of Death by Costas Zapas

After “The Rebellion of Red Maria”, Costas Zapas has a new film in the works, based on Mary Shelley’s classic masterpiece: A traveling theater troop, touring their latest spectacle, “Frankenstein”, makes a stop in a small town. A young journalist researching the legend, believes it is based on the true story of an alchemist society, lead by Victor Frankenstein, who in 1817 managed to conquer death and bring people back to life. While interviewing the troop, she comes face to face with Shelley’s characters, turning up around the city, more alive than ever. Her research catapults her into the heart of darkness, a world exclusively populated by monsters, with a new theory about life and death that leads to an earth-shattering revelation. The secret behind a deadly odyssey and an eternal love that managed to stay alive beyond the grave. “Frankenstein: The Odyssey of Death” will be entirely made in English although it’s scheduled to be shot in Greece. Shigeru Umebayashi is in charge of the score. [The film is currently in pre-production.]

Joy by Ilias Yannakakis

Seven years after his first fiction feature "Alemaya", and after havig tried his hand at documentary ("Exile Island"), Ilias Yannakakis is back behind the camera with "Joy", a film about a woman who, unable to have children, kidnaps a baby from a maternity ward. The film, shot in black & white 35mm film, stars Amalia Moutousi, Yorgos Symeonidis, Lyda Protopsalti and Nikos Flessas.

The Joy and the Sorrow of the Body by Andreas Pantzis

After "Slaughter of the Cock" and "Word of Honor", the Cypriot filmmaker once again chooses actor George Corraface as his leading man in a modern day film noir about betrayal and friendship. The cast includes acclaimed actors from Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria and was made with the financial support of the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture and ERT SA. [The project is currently in post production.]

Higuita by Alexandros Voulgaris (aka The Boy)

It’s been six years since The Boy’s (Alexandros Voulgaris’ stage name) last feature, “Pink”, although the filmmaker-cum-singer/songwriter has been anything but idle. His third upcoming feature, a totally independent production enigmatically titled “Higuita”, is a reality. The film focuses on a group of people who choose to go into self-imposed exile on the island of Makronisos in order to protect themselves from ‘The Afflicted’. 37 years later, we witness the consequences of their decision. Six people, surrounded by the remnants of civilization, wander around aimlessly, still holding on to the roles once assigned to them, while madness drives them to extinction. The Boy takes on multiple roles as director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor and composer, while sound and costume design come courtesy of “starlinescircle” – whoever that might be! “Higuita” stars Argyris Thanasoulas, Ioanna Stavropouou, Giannis Laspias, Dafni Manousou, Leonardo Sfontouris, Angeliki Karistinou and The Boy, as the all-important narrator. Click here for a full review.

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The Winter by Konstantinos Koutsoliotas

Eccentric Niko lives in London, a young writer in a bit of a dream world: telling his mother back in Greece that he is a busy, successfully published author with a beautiful girlfriend. Unfortunately he’s been spending beyond his means to keep up the pretense, and the market downturn has arrived. Losing his lowly temp job, with no girlfriend and under pressure to pay off his debts, Niko runs away to his abandoned 16th century family home in Siatista, a picturesque but small fur trading post in the mountains of Northern Greece. He’s hoping to find the inspiration and focus to alas write a viable novel. "The Winter" is a European co-production by special-effects wizard Konstantinos Koutsoliotas, who lives and works in London. The score comes courtesy of B.D. Foxmoor of Active Member fame and the cast features Thodoris Albanis, Vangelis Mourikis, Efi Papatheodorou and Titika Sarigouli, among others. To find out more about the film, currently in post-production, visit the official blog.

Home Sweet Home by Kyriakos Tofaridis

A comedy about the divides between countries, cultures and people, as interpreted by Cypriot filmmaker Kyriakos Tofaridis. The film follows a dysfunctional family, forced to share an isolated house in the middle of nowhere due to financial difficulties. All of a sudden, their remote village becomes a focal point for political power games and everything changes. Starring Kostas Dimitriou, Karmen Rouggeri, Stelios Kafkaridis, Yannis Tsimitselis and Bollywood starlet Neetu Chandra."Home Sweet Home" is a co-production between Avra Productions and the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture. Tanweer Alliances, who also signed on as co-producer, hopes to distribute the film sometime this season.

The Dragonphoenix Chronicles: Indomitable by Thanos Kermitsis

"The Dragonphoenix Chronicles: Indomitable", the first Greek feature to raise money through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, is a sword & sorcery film set in the fictional world of Elebros, based on the homegrown fantasy comic book series “The Dragonphoenix Chronicles”. According to 27-year-old rookie filmmaker Thanos Kermitsis, it’s about a savage warrior who escapes slavery. Hunted by his former masters, he begins a perilous journey back to his homeland and his wife. Taking the daughter of a General hostage to secure his passage, he will have to face the past, the present and the dark future that lies ahead. [The project is currently in production.]

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Big Hit by Karolos Zonaras

After cult favorite “Charlie’s Son”, Karolos Zonaras makes a 360 turn with a classic film noir in contemporary Athens, starring Meletis Georgiadis in a creative rendition of a gritty, albeit atmospheric universe. The storyline focuses on a police sergeant’s attempt to trace the reasons behind a colleague’s unexpected suicide, embroiling himself in a nightmarish adventure, where organized crime and law enforcement are two sides of the same coin. Tough men, femme fatales, cheeky one-liners and a hero who becomes the victim of his own choices, i.e. all the basic noir ingredients, are present and accounted for in a film that recently opened to favorable reviews at the 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Click here for a full review.