Hellenic Film Society USA Announces Lineup for NY Greek Film Expo

The lineup up for the Hellenic Film Society USA's New York Greek Film Expo. Photo: Courtesy of Hellenic Film Society USA

NEW YORK – The Hellenic Film Society announced on April 12 the feature film lineup for its Second Annual New York Greek Film Expo, a showcase for nine comedies, dramas, and documentaries. Screenings will be held May 3-11 at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, and the Manhasset Theater in Nassau County.

This year’s topical offerings reflect the Greek and Greek-American experience with films that capture the current political and social transitions in Greece, the life stories of 20th century cultural giants, a love story set against the backdrop of the Greek War of Independence, and a documentary that explores women’s issues. Greek language films are shown with English subtitles.

“Our goal is to present quality, engaging films that resonate with audiences of all nationalities,” said Jimmy DeMetro, president of Hellenic Film Society USA. “We are pleased to show these quality films, each of which explores a different aspect of Greek culture by filmmakers who may be unfamiliar to New York audiences.”

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society USA. The New York Greek Film Expo is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA. Additional support is provided by the Kallinikeion Foundation. For further information about the New York Greek Film Expo or to purchase tickets, please visit https://hellenicfilmusa.org/ or call 646-844-1488.

Following is the 2019 feature film lineup:

CLIFFS OF FREEDOM, directed by Van Ling. Sweeping cinematography heightens the story of an ill-fated romance between a Greek village girl and a Turkish officer at the dawn of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Their budding romance brings tragedy to her family and her village and leads to a confrontation during a pivotal battle that will change the course of history. Cast includes Patti LuPone and Christopher Plummer.

A FINE LINE, directed by Joanna James. This award-winning documentary, told through the story of Greek-American restaurateur Valerie James, is an uplifting success story about perseverance, family and food. Get a behind-thescenes look at the restaurant culture with women at the helm, as celebrity chefs including Maria Loi and Lidia Bastianich weigh in on current workplace issues. Director Joanna James will attend the screening.

HER JOB, directed by Nikos Labot. Amid Greece’s economic turmoil, an oppressed housewife gets her first job as a cleaning woman at a shopping mall and unexpectedly finds empowerment and a sense of self-worth in this film nominated for six Hellenic Film Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best New Director. Director Nikos Labot and lead actress Marisha Triantafyllidou are expected to attend all screenings.

HOLY BOOM, directed by Maria Lafi. The lives of four strangers living in the same diverse Athens neighborhood are upended when, on Palm Sunday, a teenager bombs a local mailbox, destroying documents of vital importance to each of them. Generational and ethnic differences add to the tensions in this film nominated for two Hellenic Film Academy Awards. Director Maria Lafi is expected to attend screenings on May 5 and 6.

KAZANTZAKIS, directed by Yannis Smaragdis. This lushly photographed, award-winning dramatization recounts the life of Nikos Kazantzakis, best known for writing Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ, and widely considered the greatest Greek writer of the 20th century.

LAST SONG TO XENITIA, directed by Athena Scotes. Folk poet Vasiliki Papachristou Skoutela left her native Greek village in Epirus in the 1930s for a better life in America, all the while keeping hundreds of ancient songs alive. At the age of 103, she returns to find Greece in crisis once again and faces today’s youth who may be considering leaving. Music legend Lakis Halkias appears in the film. Director Athena Scotes is expected to attend the screening.

MARIA BY CALLAS, directed by Tom Volf. Told through performances, TV interviews, never-before-seen home movies, family photographs, private letters, and unpublished memoirs, this documentary reveals the essence of the legendary Greek-American opera singer who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time.

REFUGE II: THE ICE PATH, directed by Christos Nikoleris. When an accident befalls one of four friends spending a weekend in the woods, they seek shelter in what they believe is an abandoned house. Little do they know of the evil within in this thriller that won the Audience Award at the 2018 Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Director Christos Nikoleris is expected to attend the screening on May 8.

SMUGGLING HENDRIX, directed by Marios Piperides. Biting satire about a Greek Cypriot trying to retrieve his dog from the Turkish side of Nicosia. This award-winning film was hailed by Variety as a “delightful…and intelligent comedy, which captures the absurdity and tragedy of a complicated political situation.” Named Best International Narrative Feature (Cyprus) at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Director Marios Piperides is expected to attend both screenings.

Special Events

The Hellenic Film Society will host an Opening Night Celebration at Brasserie 8 ½, 9 West 57 Street in Manhattan, immediately following the opening night screening of Cliffs of Freedom on Friday, May 3. Tickets are required.

Celebrity chef Maria Loi, featured in the documentary, A Fine Line, will host a tasting reception at 12:30, prior to the screening of the film at 2pm on Sunday, May 5 at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan. Tickets are required.

The Hellenic Film Society USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization rooted in the belief that Greek cinema can and should be part of the American cultural landscape. We promote feature films, documentaries, and film shorts made by Greek filmmakers and those of Greek descent, as well as films that promote the cultures of Greece and Cyprus. Our mission is to share the richness of Greek films with a wider American audience, to showcase Greek movies, and to preserve the film heritage of Greece.