Interview with Irene Nikolopoulou

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In a time where foreign TV series dominate Greek television and at the same time greek cinema is going through a major decline , hope seems to emerge from Thessaloniki through California , USA...

Yes , that is correct. Director , Thanasis Protatos , from Thessaloniki recieved the Award of Excellence in the international Accolade competition in California , USA , sending a loud message that Greece still stands strong with young and bright minds...  

The young director speaks on the whole dossier to and to Lefteris Theodorakopoulos about his nomination , greek cinema , the crisis and Greece.

He stresses that one of the reasons - as he believes - for recieving an award was that his documentary "outpour" Greece and Greek tradition. And all this was tied with a rich storyline as seen through the eyes of little John.

Thanassis Protatos talks about Greek cinema and the signs of decline during this period but also claims that "small" creators are the ones who will support it.

Finally, we ask him if the "telly" called "Crisis" in Greece will have a happy - end ... and he gives a very interesting answer. Enjoy the interview below ...

A few days ago your documentary «The Journey» won the Award of Excellence in the international Accolade awards based in California, USA. Will you tell us a few words about this production?


The documentary tells the true story of little John from Athens, who travels to Serifos island, the birthplace of his father, to witness the marriage of his parents, Sotiri and Sofia and baptized there under the Aegean sun and among relatives and good friends!

The film starts from the moment little John finds himself on the way to Serifos on board the ship "Adamantios Korais" two days before the main event and continues all the way to the day me and my partner , photographer VDouros had to leave again , a day after the event.

The film is essentially a journey through the eyes of the little hero , John. And through his own experience we have , as viewers , have the chance to meet characters, people, manners and customs of the Greek tradition!

Did you expect to win ,were you surprised?

My wedding films always have a central story. For me "the Journey" had something to say and I strongly believed in the story from the beggining. So I wanted to show the rest of the world what I experienced myself. This was the initial aim for meParticipating in an international institution with thousands of entries from around the world noone could ever be sure of an award. My surprise was great and of course I was very happy when I received the letter with the results.

Why did you decide to make a documentary about a wedding?

It's a topic that has particular interest for me. This is something that is based on true and real experiences. When I started doing wedding films , five years ago, I realized that there was a superficial approach on the topic. We have all seen wedding videos of friends or relatives and most of the time our mind goes to the word "boring". For me this is due to a plain recording not focusing on the characters and the story behind them. Documentary is something that is strongly related to these principals such as storytelling and character development and that is what I focus on when I find myself behind the lense. 

What were the points on which the «The Journey» stood out?

I think the answer to this question came very vividly from the mouth of the president of the Accolade competition , Thomas Baker , that among other things he said...
"Many wedding videographers seem to miss the point that wedding videography is about storytelling like all other moving media. They often shoot in a way that fails to capture character development. Your work stands above the work of others."

What were your feelings when you saw your name on the winning list?

Great surprise and joy at the beginning! It was something of great importance to me because this film was not considered as a simple wedding video but as a feature documentary , which was recognized through many entries and a very strict selection process. Also something that really moved me were the comments of the people of the committee. When someone sees exactly what you see when you create something is actually very touching!

Do you think that if a similar competition was held in Greece will you be awarded again?

I really don't know that. An award is a combination of many parameters. What I would like to see , is the birth of such prestigious competitions in our country because it would certainly rise the bar higher for all creative people.


Does Greek cinema have a future... or should I say , does it have a present?

Greek cinema has a present and will defenately have a future too. At first glance one might say that greek cinema is going through a "crisis" , a decline. Up to a point this claim is true. On the other hand , there is an indepentant scene in greek cinema that makes little miracles every day. There are greek filmmakers that produce great films with smaller budgets but detouched from older ways of thinking and that is great. If we sum up all these efforts , support them and highlight them , then what Greek cinema will offer us in the coming years will be awsome!

Are there any perticular actors you would like to work with?

There are many Greek actors who I would like to work with. Everyone has its own special qualities that fascinate me, but right now I'd rather not mention any names...


Personally as much as I want to watch the new Greek cinema, I can no longer do. Filled with a fake culture with many sexist and violent messages, far away from reality. Unlike the old Greek cinema that we all have seen and will see again with the same appetite and enthousiasm. Why is this in your personal opinion?

The old Greek films have a strong element of the authentic that's why they are still so dear. They were films made ​​with love in difficult times with very little resources but with love and imagination and that really shows. Today we live in a really wild time very different from the old where "products" must be consumed massively and rapidly in order to provide the desired profit. Everything is measured in numbers and percentages. This is also projected by many modern films and productions.. It's something I hope will change in the future...

Would you direct a TV series?

At this stage I do not think that I go into directing a series for television. Serials have a completely different approach from what I do. If it was a series of documentary films with a specific theme, then yes I would gladly do it!

Does this award send a message in the Greek "crisis"?

Passion, persistence and effort can bring results. I think is the main message of this award.
It's definitely not a short or pleasant process. It has many ups and downs , but it is the only way for a better future for us all.

Would you shoot a documentary that will record Greece in the days of the memorandum? How'd you imagine that?

Although this is a theme that has already been presented in several documentaries in recent years I would say that it still remains fresh.
And how wouldn't be since we still have to deal with it in every aspect of our daily routine.
If i was to shoot such a documentary , I would like to see what people that we don't usually hear have to say about it.
Have you ever wondered for example what would a girl in six grade would have to say about it? How about a convict or a monk!
I think it would be very interesting...

If the Greek history was a movie would it have a happy end?

Unfortunately Greece has  shown many bad moments  through its history until now . Somehow always finds its way back and I think this is largely due to Greek themselves and their culture. As people we have shown through our history that we work surprisingly better under pressure. Serenity is something that does not suit us!
I hope that even now, despite the difficulties , through joint effort and collaboration , we all play our "role" right so that this film that is called "Greek Crisis" will have a happy end.

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Thank you for your support! Remember the winner will be announced on this page March 25th , 2019.

Ευχαριστούμε θερμά για την συμμετοχή! Θυμηθείτε το αποτέλεσμα της κλήρωσης σε αυτή εδώ την σελίδα στις 25 Μαρτίου 2019.