Little England: Pantelis Voulgaris lead us on a journey on the sea of the human heart.

Pantelis Voulgaris brings the book of the same name by Ioanna Karistiani to the big screen, realizing a life-long dream. Flix made its way to the (spectacular) filming which took place on the island of Andros and here’s our account of what we experienced.

‘Little England’ began as words on paper for its author, Ioanna Karistiani. Even if the author and wife of director Pantelis Voulgaris had not written another book after this chronicle of life, love and death on the Andros of yesteryear, this would have been enough to rank her among the greatest of Greek novelists.

The book was a best-seller, but most importantly, it managed to touch almost every single one of its readers. As well as being very realistic in its depiction of the island’s history and its inhabitants, the book was characterized by a ‘cinematic’ quality that begged for film adaptation.

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Voulgaris tried to make this movie on more than a few different occasions, but his attempts were unlucky until now. The time has finally arrived for the movie version of ‘Little England’, which is now in its final stages of filming and ready to embark on its journey to theatres in a few months.

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It’s a Saturday morning in April at Andros, where almost all of the filming took place, and the whole island seems to be afoot. The town’s main street is buzzing, a living piece of scenery and the locals are garbed in vintage clothes from the 1930’s. At their breaks they drink frappes and talk on their cell phones.

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Pantelis Voulgaris is gracefully co-ordinating the wonderful chaos of the populous scene and Ioanna Karistiani, sets the pace restlessly. There is something in the air that takes you in its sway and you completely understand the passion with which the actors, the crew and the locals are talking about the film.

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Its story is lifted from the very psyche of the island. But even if you were never a sailor that was away from home for years, or a woman living on an island in the 1930’s, the story of ‘Little England’ is both familiar and exciting in the way only true stories can be.

The book and film describe the tempestuous story of four people floating without a captain on the sea of love, of fate and their circumstances, and the lives they were allotted. But at the same time the story pieces together a bigger picture, of an era, of Greece, of the human spirit and what it can endure, and its breaking point.

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Voulgaris’ film seems like a great challenge, both for the director and for Ioanna Karistiani who turned her novel into a screenplay. It’s also a great challenge for Greek cinema, which has been sailing helplessly on raging waters for the last few years, for the crew and actors involved and also for the island of Andros, which appears ready for its close-up. And if what we saw and filmed while we were there is anything to go by – watch the video that follows – it seems that everyone managed to rise to the occasion.

Director: Pantelis Voulgaris / Screenplay: Ioanna Karistiani / Line Producer: Yannis Iakovidis / Photography: Simos Sarketzis / Scenography: Antonis Daglidis / Costumes: Youla Zoipoulou / Music: Katerina Polemi / Sound engineer: Stefanos Efthimiou / Make up: Evi Zafeiropoulou / Hair stylist: Sotiris Paterakis / Editing: Takis Yannopoulos / 3D: Antonis Kotzias

Starring: Penelope Tsilika, Sofia Kokkali, Anneza Papadopoulou, Vasilis Vasilakis, Andreas Konstantinou, Maximos Moumouris, Christos Kalavrouzos, Katerina Antonakaki, Vaggelio Andreadaki, Aggeliki Papathemeli, Klea Samanta, Miranda Zisimopoulou, Ioanna Piata, Regina Levedianou, Irini Igglesi