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Cinema

Filmmaker Fay Efrosini Lellios Discusses Her Latest Oscar-Qualified Film Huzun

October 26, 2022

NEW YORK – Filmmaker Fay Efrosini Lellios spoke with The National Herald about her career and her latest project, Huzun which has Oscar-qualified for Live Action Short Film, like the previous two films in The Thisvi Trilogy.

TNH: Tell us a bit about yourself, where were you born and raised?

Fay Lellios: I was born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire. Although I have lived in Los Angeles for a long time, I am still a proud member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Concord.

TNH: Did you always want to go into filmmaking?

FL: I followed my brother, George, into filmmaking when we were both students at Boston University. We own a production company together, 21/31 Productions: https://www.2131-productions.com.

TNH: What inspired you to make this new film?

FL: Inspired by my father’s photographs and my mother’s words as they were leaving her homeland of Turkey, I wanted to make a trilogy of short films centered around the deep feeling of separation and loss one has while departing a homeland permanently; and the eventual but difficult acceptance of this separation as one moves through life. This is the third film in The Thisvi Trilogy – both the first two films, Shared Balcony and A Month of Sundays also Oscar-qualified.

The entire trilogy is about a photographer recalling the events of the ‘Septemvriana’ in three stages of her life; as a young woman in Shared Balcony, as a student in A Month of Sundays, and as an older photographer at her exhibit in Greece in Huzun.  The trailers for Shared Balcony and A Month of Sundays are available online:

https://vimeo.com/420128793 and https://bit.ly/3D7b8nl.

TNH: How long did the process take from idea to realization?

FL: The entire Trilogy took three and a half years; averaging one film per year. Even through the pandemic we filmed.

TNH: What was it like filming in Greece?

FL: I have dual citizenship and feel very fortunate to have been able to film in Greece; especially on this third film in the Trilogy where my cousin and dear friends also had cast roles. Greece is a wonderful place to film. We had wonderful locations – we filmed in Thisvi, Domvraina, Palaio Faliro, and Athens – and were generously welcomed by the communities, businesses and sponsors.

And our cast – Georgia Zoi, Marianna Polychronidi, Dimitra Banti – was stellar. The actors had to be in character for all three films over the course of three years and we are forever grateful to them.

Here is a link to the film’s IMDb page: https://imdb.to/3TCXTSf.

Georgia Zoi in ‘Huzun’, the third film in the Thisvi Trilogy, which has Oscar-qualified for Live Action Short Film. (Photo: Fay Efrosini Lellios)

TNH: How did George Pelecanos become involved with the production?

FL: George Pelecanos has been my Producer/Executive Producer since my first film, a feature documentary called The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides, that he executive produced alongside Ted Pedas, Jim Pedas, Bill Durkin, and H. Michael Heuser. He has been involved in almost all of the films that my brother and I have made.

TNH: How did the opportunity to submit the film for Oscar consideration come about?

FL: It wasn’t until we had realized the first film in the Trilogy that I felt we should try for Oscar qualification for all three films. I felt the subject matter was important – still is – and we began the process during post [-production]. All three films had initial Los Angeles theatrical runs for Oscar qualification at the Laemmle Theatres.

TNH: Where can TNH readers see your films, including your latest one?

FL: Sections of The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides can be found on the Criterion Blu-ray releases of Thieves’ Highway and Kiss Me Deadly as well as the full film on the Arrow UK Blu-ray release of Thieves’ Highway. Beginning on November 11, the documentary will begin streaming on Arrow Player.

Huzun has recently been edited into The Thisvi Trilogy – alongside the other two short films – and our Distributor/World Sales, Feelgood Entertainment, has begun submitting to film festivals, platforms, etc. We will announce screenings/viewings as they come up.

Here is a link to a film we made in Cuba a few years ago on the 10th anniversary of the consecration of St. Nicholas in Havana: https://bit.ly/3f5wbPb.

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