• Datum 16-01-2014
  • Auteur
  • Deel dit artikel

Illustratie Typex

In a country which has managed to debase its ancient and modern aspirations of intellectuality and cultural output by relentless political mismanagement and financial devastation, there is a single field that, has flourished in the last decade, contrary to the national downfall. The film production of Greece is attracting kudos in the international community. While not so long ago, Theo Angelopoulos was the only Greek director film buffs were aware of, in recent years Greek films have been consistently participating in A-list festivals, offering creative variety to the hungry viewer.
The Guardian dubbed it ’the new weird Greek wave’ and the film community spoke of a new ethnic wave, following in the footsteps of the ‘Romanian spring’. However, although these characterizations are valuable publicity tools, they do not actually represent or encompass the multitude of young or youngish Greek film directors who have suddenly found a way to make themselves heard outside the country’s borders.
The fact that Greece has no money to spend on film is more than clear. State funding is close to nil and the Ministry of Culture appears utterly indifferent to Greek cinema and its exploits, although recently the Greek Film Center has realized that battles can be won without financial means and is starting to implement a strategy targeting international collaborations. Filmmakers have tried their hand at ‘no-budget’ films, hand-made productions — a practice which these directors can’t repeat, for the sake of both their cast and crew and their personal dignity. The shocking termination of the state-funded national TV channel ERT has deprived film projects of limited but constant financial support, and worse, has left films with contractual coproduction agreements with tremendous holes in their budgets.
In this dark and miserable landscape of depravity, here comes a salvation army of young Greek producers: ambitious, persistent, with nothing to lose and everything to gain. They are well versed in international know-how, have been trained in seminars, workshops and fora abroad, have no kind of worthless nostalgia or respect for ‘what might have been’ or ’the way things were’, are well aware of the fact that there are no resources to be found inland and are doing their best to claim part of the support of the European Union programs and set up co-productions with other Balkan or European countries. In a constant and testing battle of survival, they manage to present, year in and year out, films which may or may not be inspired by the Greek economic crisis (although it unavoidably permeates their minds and imagery) and which are being developed with all forms of international support.
These producers and the talented filmmakers they work with, have started to be noticed individually, beyond any ‘waves’ or trends, exporting their own cultural viewpoint abroad, but, most of all, shedding the introvert part of their Greek mentality and upbringing and claiming their international identity just like anybody else.

Leda Galanou is co-founder and contributor of |