NEW YORK – On April 30, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras welcomed the Hellenic Film Society USA (HFS) and the Greek filmmakers and actors who are participating in the Greek Film Expo which runs through May 3 for a reception at the Consulate.
HFS Chairman Jimmy Demetro thanked the Consul General and introduced the talented filmmakers and actors whose remarkable works are being shown in New York-area theaters- directors Dora Masklavanou, Alex Sipsidis, and Vasilis Christofilakis, also an actor, as well as Spiros Papadopoulos- host of the popular TV musical revue, Stin Ygeia Mas Re Paidia, and Nicoleta Kotsailidou. All the filmmakers and actors were grateful for the positive response to their work and thanked the HSF and Demetro for their efforts supporting Greek films.
Demetro noted the enthusiastic response of the Greek community to the films and how the questions the audience members have asked in the post-screening Q&A sessions show how much they appreciate not only seeing these wonderful films from Greece and meeting the filmmakers and actors, but are also engrossed in the themes explored in the films and the technical aspects as well.
He acknowledged the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Nikos and Carol Mouyiaris, the Onassis Foundation, and the Kallinikeion Foundation among the many others who have donated and volunteered to help make the HFS and the Greek Film Expo possible. He gave credit to his indispensable team, George Balafoutis and Eva Mallis who were present at the event, and Maria Psomiades and Vickie Rekoutis who could not attend. Demetro spoke with The National Herald at the event, noting that he may be the most visible, attending all the screenings, and introducing the films, but it is the team that has made everything possible.
In his welcoming remarks, Consul General Koutras noted how wonderful it is to see the Greek community in New York embrace these films from Greece, noting how they appreciate the quality of the work and the connection with the homeland. He mentioned the Greek spirit shared by all Greeks whether in Greece or the diaspora communities and the Greek language. Many events begin with a prayer, Koutras observed, adding that at a recent event the priest said they would sing the Christos Anesti in Greek and in English, everyone participated in the Greek version, but only the priest chanted the English version. The films, culture, and the language unite the community in a powerful way with Greece.
Papadopoulos also noted how many Greek-Americans apologize for their Greek and then speak just fine, like Demetro who said his Greek is bad, but then spoke very well throughout the reception.
When asked about the enthusiasm for bringing Greek films to the United States through the HFS and the Greek Film Expo, Demetro told TNH that the material is there, the people want to do it, but the financial support is the key. He expressed his gratitude for all the supporters, noting that he couldn’t do it alone. When asked about the next step for the HFS, Demetro said there are some wonderful films they would like to bring to the U.S. and to bring Greek films on a regular basis to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, to screen, for example, on the first Sunday of every month.
The Museum, he told TNH, once had such a regular series of Greek films, a few years ago, but the films now are very different and more accessible to a wider audience. Demetro also shared his hope that the films will receive wider distribution, and perhaps through some of the new methods available, including video on demand and online streaming services. Netflix, he pointed out, has some Greek films available, for example, but there could always be more. He also mentioned that HSF is in the early planning stages for a collaboration in Maryland at the recently restored Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre in Baltimore. Film fans can look forward to more exciting developments and more wonderful screenings soon.
Also in attendance at the event were the Consul General’s wife Popita Pavli, Andreas Zoupanos, and members of the media.
About the Films
Jamaica, directed by Andreas Morfonios, is a bittersweet comedy about two estranged brothers at very different places in their lives. Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos are expected to attend all screenings.
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras hosts reception for Hellenic Film Society, Greek filmmakers, actors. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)
The award-winning drama Polyxeni, directed by Dora Masklavanou, was nominated for 11 Hellenic Film Academy Awards including Best Picture. It tells the story of a young woman attempting to gain independence in a traditional society. The director is expected to attend the Manhattan and Astoria screenings of her film.
Blue Queen, directed by Alex Sipsidis, is a mystery that unfolds from four different points of view with intriguing plot twists that keep the audience guessing till the end. Sipsidis attended the screenings on April 27 and 29.
The comedyToo Much Info Clouding Over My Head, directed by Vasilis Christofilakis, focuses on a hapless film director whose career is sidetracked when he is forced to raise money to film a screenplay he detests.
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