JUST TALKING 18-3-2010
The fifth Just Talking took place at the Excelsior Room of the Electra Palace Hotel on Thursday, March 18, 2010, part of the 12th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. The discussion centered on the meaning of place, its influence on people and the way filmmakers deal with it. Present were Selana Vrondi (Zorro The Cat), Angeli Andrikopoulou (co-director of The Game Must Go On with Argyris Tsepelikas), Stelios Apostolopoulos (The Call Of The Mountain) and Pierre-Olivier Francois (co-director of A Barrel Full of Dreams with Pierre Bourjois).
Speaking about his film, The Call Of The Mountain, which is about Yiannis who becomes a shepherd after the murder of his cousin, director Stelios Apostolopoulos said that he came to make it by accident. “I first had permission from the Greek Film Center to make another film. But since it took a long time between my submission and the final signatures, I lost all interest in making that film. Then I learned about Yiannis’ story, who changed his life in order to do what he saw as his duty to his family”. The director spoke about the difficulties of making the film, including the fact that the villagers were very skeptical. There were also two crises to be dealt with, one when Yiannis realized the film would be screened and the second his anxiety over the trial for the murder of his cousin, when he was ready to quit. But everything worked out in the end.
Pierre-Olivier Francois had an easy time of it with the people in his film A Barrel Full of Dreams. “We agreed to make the film after a night with food and lots of vodka, provided by local officials. They opened up to us because it was in their interest to show the positive side of Russia. The boom brought by the discovery of oil has turned a previously hostile land into a paradise for the locals. Everything revolves around the power of oil”.
Then Angeli Andrikopoulou spoke about The Game Must Go On, in which four children stubbornly search for a place to play. “They went to the mayor of the city of Patras after one of them read an article about the UN somewhere, where they learned that every child has the right to a place to play. In a surrealistic scene, the children go into City Hall with no problem and reach the mayor’s chair. The issue is that these children are right, things are built in Greece without providing for their needs.”
Selana Vrondi tells the adventures of Zorro, a cat living in the Psyrri area in downtown Athens in her film Zorro the Cat. “I discovered all the places Zorro went to. Almost everybody knows Zorro, he’s the neighborhood mascot. Speaking to the older residents, I discovered that there used to be many cats in that area of Athens. But due to overbuilding, many cats disappeared, were killed etc. Even people can’t take the ‘metamorphosis’ of the area. Personally, I had to move after three years.”