KIMOLOS, Greece – Fotis Marinakis lives on the beautiful Aegean island of Kimolos, Greece. He graduated from the University of Applied Sciences of Thessaly (TEI of Thessaly), Department of Biosystem Engineering. As the Founder of the non-governmental organization, Kimolistes promoting culture, and the arts, and as the Ambassador of Sea Change Greek Island, Marinakis has contributed to beach cleaning, the protection of the sea environment, and the reduction of plastic. He spoke to The National Herald about combining entertainment with cultural aesthetics with CineKalisperitis, the first outdoor cinema on Kimolos. Marinakis is the visionary mind and organizer of the Kimolos Experience Festival which exhibits Kimolos' culture and environmental values.
He was awarded, by the Hellenic Department of (IBBY-2019) for his innovative idea of “Open Book Library” on Kimolos island, and he received the Volunteer's and Community's award (in memory of A. Antoniadou) by YMERIS in 2014. He has received various awards from Kimolos Municipality, the Afentakeion Foundation, and the Hellenic Post (ELTA).
TNH: How did you get involved with Kimolistes?
Fotis Marinakis: I started getting involved with volunteerism in 2010. The volunteers of Epos Fillis Hiking Αssociation came on the island to clear the paths and routes. I enrolled and discovered the need to uncover Kimolos' natural beauties through the paths' maintenance, the opening of hiking routes, signalling the island's trails for hikers, allowing Kimolos' diverse landscape to be known. The idea of forming the volunteer team under the name “Kimolistes” sprang from the impulse and the team became a non-profit organization in 2013. Since then, local volunteers, as well as volunteers from around Greece, contribute with their ways.
TNH: How did CineKalisperitis come about?
FM: Once I moved to the island I missed the cinema nights I enjoyed in Athens, so in 2014 I decided to buy a portable Projector Movies Screen for outdoors, a foldable anticrease projector, and Speakers. Afterwards, I put my thought into practice, to have the outdoor cinema CineKalisperitis to be transferred around the island, at remote beaches, in the center of Chorio's square, and, of course, at Kimolo's point of reference the medieval castle! CineKalisperitis' name comes from the first star “Kalisperitis” that becomes visible during the sunset. Kalisperitis is the name we traditionally call it on our island.
For each movie screening, I use 200 lanterns, hanging from the Tamarisk trees or Armyrikia found at the beaches, 20 torches, beach chairs, and chairs. I remember the first screening in 2014, with the Italian movie Cinema Paradiso, that took place at Giorgila's square at Chorio, the central square near the stone-built well; the whole village came to watch the movie and it was a memorable moment, because the last time a movie was shown on Kimolos island, was forty-five years ago!
TNH: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your efforts?
FM: I can only say people's love and support from all over the world! It is an amazing feeling to see how rewarding cinema can be in our life when combined with unique places on Kimolos, projecting Aegean beauty and the Kimolian architecture and history. CineKalisperitis' presence all these eight years, initiated the creation of the Kimolos International Film Festival organized on the island, for the third year, held in multiple locations.
I feel satisfaction when I see visitors, friends, volunteers, islanders mesmerized by the sunset colors or the moon's lighting at the castle or on the largest uninhabited island next to Kimolos, Polyaigos island. I can only think of how lucky I am living in a place like Kimolos. The natural beauty is a reward and blessing for me along with islanders' support for the Kimolistes team. The combination of all these gives us, courage, motivation, and strength to go on, continue with passion and absolute devotion, with “meraki” as we say in Greek to offer to our island and the visitors, too.
TNH: What is the most challenging aspect?
FM: We indeed experience many challenges in the last years as a country, and the same is in force all over the world. Kimolistes as a team makes every possible effort to make it happen and this is because of the local sponsorships, the Municipality of Kimolos, the support of the distribution film company RoseBud and volunteers from all over Greece who help us from their hearts to make it happen! Regarding the outdoor movies' screening, the unexpected wind can force us to change the screening location either to have it in the Castle or at a beach we haven't planned. There are hurdles always but the support system we have as a team is characterized by a sense of unity, mutual respect, and wonderful volunteers who transform every challenge into a positive outcome, setting the standards very high each time a new idea comes out. Challenges are for us here to spark innovation and embark on new schemes.
TNH: What are you working on next?
FM: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Kimolistes team and I am glad to announce the start of the Kimolos Experience Festival comprising hiking, trekking, CineKalisperitis, lectures, excursions around the island, and a wide range of events related to culture and tradition. Being the inspirer and organizer of this new endeavor signals a new start for me personally and the Kimolistes team, giving us the chance to reveal the hidden beauties of Kimolos and Polyaigos island while being in unison with nature. There is a profound need to trace beauty through events that function as a means of enforcing team spirit, strengthening the bonds with the local community, enabling visitors to experience Cycladic hospitality under a different prism. Kimolos Experience Festival has as a goal to create unforgettable experiences using the magnificent setting of Kimolos island while contributing to the development of culture and that of sharing in our community. You are welcome to come and enjoy both CineKalisperitis and Kimolos Experience!
More information about Kimolistes is available online:
YouTube channel: shorturl.at/ceuNW