The Hellenic Film Society USA’s New York Greek Film Expo began on September 29 with the world premiere of Army Baby at the Village East Cinemas. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
NEW YORK – The Hellenic Film Society USA’s New York Greek Film Expo began on September 29 with the world premiere of Army Baby, directed by George Kordellas, which delighted the opening night crowd at the Village East Cinemas in Manhattan.
The comedy about a group of soldiers caring for a baby boy who has been left at the gate of their army base, stars Ian Stratis as Giannis Kontogiannis, the new dad of the adorable titular character. From the opening scene, the lighthearted film draws the viewers into the world of this charming, off-beat group of characters. There are some broad strokes concerning regional Greek stereotypes, for example, but the humor hits the right balance and the film is a welcome diversion in difficult times.
Hellenic Film Society President Jimmy DeMetro gave the welcoming remarks on opening night and introduced Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Konstantinou who noted DeMetro’s “love and dedication he has for what he’s doing, and what he’s doing is very, very important for Greek culture, promoting the Greek cinema, not only in New York, but throughout the United States of America.”
Consul General Konstantinou also welcomed the actors and directors who came from Athens for the event and encouraged everyone to attend the upcoming screenings in the Film Expo.
DeMetro acknowledged his associates, all volunteers, “who work very, very hard and share a love of Greece, a love for art, and an enormous respect for Greek filmmakers who do what they do at enormous sacrifice, in great difficulty.”
Andreas Konstantinou, one of Greece’s biggest film stars, is honorary host of this year’s Expo and attended the opening night screening. He said that he first heard about the Film Expo a few years ago and thought what a great idea it was and “now this is happening.”
Konstantinou noted that it is significant that the New York Greek Film Expo is taking place when there is such a great need, especially for Greek cinema, and it is a great opportunity for people to come together and be able to exchange ideas seeing their films.
Mariella Savvides who plays Fofo in Army Baby was also present for the screening and graciously participated in a post-screening Q&A. She noted that filming began before COVID, but was interrupted by the lockdowns, and being from Cyprus and having returned home, there were several months when she could not travel at all to continue filming. When asked if there would be a sequel to the film, she said that was a question best answered by the producers. Savvides also noted that this was the first public screening of the film ever and it is set to open in Greece on December 22.
A short film, Small Talk with the Bad Man, directed by Nikos Kolioukos and Meni Tsilianidou, was screened before the feature film and garnered enthusiastic applause from the audience.
A post-screening reception was held at the seafood restaurant Lamia’s Fish Market, 47 Avenue B in Manhattan, where attendees had the opportunity to meet and discuss the opening night of the Expo with some of the actors and directors from Greece present as well. All looked forward to the next screenings, including the New York premiere of .dog, directed by Yianna Americanou and starring Andreas Konstantinou, on Friday, September 30.
The New York Greek Film Expo continues through October 9 with screenings at the Village East Cinemas 181 Second Avenue in Manhattan through October 2, Pelham Picture House 175 Wolf’s Lane in Pelham, NY October 5-6, the Museum of the Moving Image 35th Avenue at 37th Street in Astoria October 7-9, and Alpine Cinemas 6817 Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn October 9.
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