NEW YORK – Composer and filmmaker Nektarios Kalogridis may work on Wall Street, but his creativity is evident in his evocative short film Eastern Dream.
It was screened at the 10th annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival on June 4. Kalogridis spoke with The National Herald about his work and the harrowing experience of war and dislocation that inspired his music and his film.
“When I started creating Eastern Dream, it first began as an orchestral composition of mine, which took a year to complete, and then I decided to make a visual narration (short film) for it for maximum impact for the message I wanted to convey.
“The film is about war, and the journey a human being will make to escape it. My goal was to create “empathy” in the viewer and have them experience this journey in reverse chronological order to show them where they are coming from. I wanted to combine beauty with horror to create contrast and have people realize that these are human beings escaping for their life.
“As I was looking for footage from Syria, I stumbled across on some videos from people in the Syrian town of Darayya, which was being relentlessly barrel-bombed and cut off from food supplies. When I contacted the group, they urged me to include their videos in my short film as they wanted to spread their message. [It was] heartbreaking to see all this destruction to a once bustling town….
“Also, I wanted to point out, you may see some Ukrainian elements in the film and that is because originally the music composition was inspired by the war in Eastern Ukraine. My wife who is from Ukraine, and is 25% Greek, her parents had to “escape” their town in Eastern Ukraine to come to our wedding in 2014. [It was a] difficult period for us, but thank God they made it… As time progressed, the Syrian refugee crisis started developing in Greece, and the similarities were evident when it came to war and people escaping violence.
“In the film, you will see footage from Greece, in Lesbos, as I tried to combine diverse images into a cohesive visual narration considering Greece was at the epicenter of the refugee crisis.
“As for myself, I work on Wall Street, but consider myself first an artist at heart and enjoy making art by composing music and making films, and also, helping other filmmakers if I can, like I did with Pet by Greek filmmaker Chris Moraitis.”
The official synopsis of Kalogridis’ short film:
“Eastern Dream traces the journey of refugees from an unnamed camp onto open water, where death can arrive as surely as from a bomb overhead, and then to an uncertain shore.
The visuals tell their story in reverse chronological order, following their urgent flight as though we are with them, before we see what it is they are fleeing from. Images of the ocean are juxtaposed with real time footage of war and devastation, suggesting the extreme peril that sparks migrations everywhere, coupled with the boundless power of hope to reclaim and remake one’s life.”
Eastern Dream is available on YouTube.