WASHINGTON, DC— On May 29, Tango on the Balcony, the latest short film from independent filmmaker and internationally acclaimed producer/director Minos Papas, had its world premiere at the 10th Annual G.I. Film Festival in Washington, DC, receiving major recognition from the veteran community. Papas spoke to The National Herald about the premiere and about the overwhelmingly positive response from veterans and mental health professionals who treat those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), noting that the film conveys in 19 minutes what can take much longer to explain about the condition for those not suffering from it. Dave Anderson of the Veterans Advocacy Center, one of the film’s veterans’ organization supporters, attended the premiere, along with representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington, DC Political Counsellor/Congressional Liaison Andrea Petranyi, and Press Officer Maria Papadopoulou.
The film was part of the short film program screened at the Angelika Film Center in the Mosaic District. Tango on the Balcony follows Johnny, an Iraq war veteran who wrestles with PTSD and the transition to civilian life. Haunted by his experiences in the war, he suffers from hyper vigilance, insomnia, and the eerie presence of Abdullah, an Iraqi teenager he killed in combat. Struggling with memory and anxiety, combat footage offers the accuracy his memory lacks, but still provides little comfort. The film features Aristotle Stamat as Johnny, Giuseppe Bausilio as Abdullah, the boy on the balcony, and Hakan Tolga Polat as Naseem, the coffee cart owner. Tao Zervas composed the film’s music.
Papas said, “Unlike other films of the war fatigue genre, Tango on the Balcony seeks to avoid cliché representations of veterans and portray some of the real issues faced by those transitioning to civilian life. The goal was to create a film that would be an authentic portrayal of the veteran experience of transition as possible in order to raise awareness about PTSD. This is a non-political agenda, being neither for nor against the wars, but more of a call for awareness of the epidemic of PTSD challenges faced by veterans that civilians need to become aware of. The film also touches on the losses of the Iraqi people. This is one of the most important stories of our time.”
The combat scenes included in the film are real footage, and extensive research was conducted by Papas and producer, military consultant, and Marine veteran Michael Day to ensure the film’s authenticity. Garnering the support of ten veterans organizations, Tango on the Balcony also participated in the Cannes Short Film Corner (SFC) from May 15-22, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and the Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes, with Papas and Line Producer Constantinos Nikiforou in attendance at the event. The SFC is a market of short films showcased to distribution companies, festival programmers, TV stations and VOD platforms from around the world. Tango on the Balcony’s New York premiere will take place on June 12 at the SOHO International Film Festival, tickets are available online. Papas’ upcoming feature film, Ares Dreaming, will also delve into PTSD and the struggle to adjust to civilian life, though fragmented time and the dreams of veterans and their spouses and families will expand the exploration of the issue even further than the short film.
Writer/producer/director Minos Papas is an independent filmmaker based in New York City. His most recent documentary “A Short Film About Guns” (2013) won best online short at the Tribeca Film Festival, and his latest feature film, “Behind The Mirror” (2015) won Best Thriller at the Manhattan and the Mexico International Film Festivals. Papas is a member of the Director’s Guild of Cyprus, a creative member of Studio-AVA a boutique video production house, and the founder of the film and commercial production company Cyprian Films, New York.