A scene from the film Digger, directed by Georgis Grigorakis. Photo: Courtesy of Hellenic Film Society USA
ASTORIA – Digger, the award-winning film Greece is submitting for Oscar consideration as Best International Feature was screened at the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria on November 14. The Hellenic Film Society USA (HFS) presented the film as part of the monthly Greek film screening series Always on Sunday. Digger impressed the audience with its strong characters, compelling plot and the dynamic performances of the cast members including this year’s Hellenic Film Academy Best Actor winner Vangelis Mourikis.
HFS president Jimmy DeMetro gave the welcoming remarks, noting that Digger won 10 Hellenic Film Academy Awards, including Best Feature Film, Best Director, and Best Actor. Written and directed by Georgis Grigorakis, who also picked up awards for Best Young Director and for Best Screenplay, Digger is about a reclusive farmer in the lush backwoods of northern Greece who battles a giant mining company that is digging up the forest and threatening his property. The greatest threat comes with the unexpected arrival of his estranged son, who appears after a 20-year separation to claim the family land.
Nature is another main character in the film and the rugged, autumnal landscapes are perhaps not what most people think of when they think of Greece, but still have a sublime beauty that Grigorakis captured in the film. It reminds the viewer that most of Greece is mountainous and trying to make a living in this unforgiving environment is not for the faint of heart but also inspires the profound love of the land and nature that is so moving in the film. Mourikis is especially deft at portraying this love with great nuance. Even in his interactions with the farm animals he shows sensitivity, wit, and strength that keeps the audience riveted throughout the film. Under Grigorakis’ direction, the actors shine, bringing to life their characters with an authenticity that is powerful.
“The strong turnout for the New York Greek Film Expo last month convinced us that people are ready to go back to movie theaters,” said DeMetro. “And Digger is an excellent film to come back to. It’s well made, the performances are brilliant, and the subject matter is topical.”
He also noted that the film has been picked up for distribution in the U.S. by Strand Releasing, so it anyone who missed the screening can look forward to seeing it once it opens wider in theaters.
Among those present for the screening on Sunday were Ambassador Loucas Tsilas and his wife Penelope Tsilas, filmmaker Minos Pappas, and members of the Greek community who were delighted to see the Always on Sunday film series back at MoMI.
About the Hellenic Film Society USA
The Hellenic Film Society USA (HFS) 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. The organization promotes 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.
In addition to collaborating with the Museum of the Moving Image for its series of monthly Greek film screenings, HFS presents the annual New York Greek Film Expo film festival annually. When the pandemic forced movie theaters to close, HFS began streaming Greek films worldwide and created a YouTube channel to satisfy audience demand for Greek film.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society USA. Additional support is provided by the Greek National Tourism Organization, the Kallinikeion Foundation, and Queens Council on the Arts. For additional information, please visit www.hellenicfilmusa.org or call 347-934-9497.
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