Greek film festival 2012 director Interview

Source: Penny Kyprianou

The 2012 Greek film festival looks set to be a ripper, so we decided to ask its director Penny Kyprianou a few questions about it over a virtual cup of coffee and baklava…

How did you get involved with the Festival?
I first volunteered with the Greek Film Festival back in 2001, when the Festival was still screening films at Treasury Theatre in East Melbourne. Back then the Festival was run entirely by a passionate group of volunteers, two of those being Costas Markos and Eleni Bertes. Costas is very much still entrenched in the Greek Film Festival. I admired the love that this group of people had for the Festival, and the desire they had to share Greek films with Melbourne. After working on seven Melbourne International Film Festivals I took a break, albeit a short one, from film, and then an opportunity came up in 2009 to put together the Greek Film Festival. I jumped at the opportunity, programming the Greek Film Festival part-time, and in 2011 I took a full-time position with the Greek Community of Melbourne (the organising behind the Greek Film Festival), which also includes overseeing a year-long program of cultural activities.

How do you go about choosing the films that are included in the program?
Searching for films is a year round job, and we keep a close eye on International Film Festivals and we also stay in regular contact with directors and producers. In past years, many films were sourced from the Greek Film Centre (Greece’s equivalent to Screen Australia), however with funding dwindling, lower budget films are being picked up by European distributors, so it’s important we stay in regular contact with companies such as Match Factory. For example, we’re screening a film called Boy Eating the Bird’s Food (Dir. Ektoras Lygizos) which just screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, and we’re lucky enough to be screening this film before it even has its premiere in Greece at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in November.

Boy Eating the Birds Food
What films are you looking forward to watching and or have you already had the pleasure of seeing?
Part of my job includes watching all of the films that we’ve programmed this year, but I do love watching our films on the big screen with audiences during the Festival, and I’m really looking forward to sitting back and enjoying Jerks (Dir. Stelios Kammitsis) which follows three friends as they roam the streets of Exarcheia in Athens before they plan to leave for Berlin, and one of our most powerful dramas, The City of Children (Dir. Yorgos Gikapeppas), a day-in-the-life of four pregnant couples in modern Athens, but with stories that differ drastically to the usual ones of hope and joy. I’m also looking forward to seeing Theo Angelopoulos’ Landcape in the Mist, from 1988, on the big screen, when we’ll be paying tribute to this truly amazing filmmaker.

City of Children
How much effect has the economic crisis in Greece had on the local funding in the Greek film industry, and have they had to turn elsewhere for funds?
The economic situation has had a dramatic effect on local funding within the Greek film industry, and when I had to chance to talk with Babis Makridis, director of L (which screened at MIFF this year, and is also part of our program this year), he explained that filmmakers are getting around this problem by sharing resources and reducing their drastically reducing their budgets. It’s not an ideal way to be making films, but it does mean that their films can be made. There is a strong sense of camaraderie among this new breed of inventive filmmakers.

Yorgos Lanthimos has his next film (after the magnificent dogtooth) in this year’s festival “Alps”, can we expect another challenging film?
The Greek Film Festival screened Lanthimos’ Dogtooth in 2009, following its win at the Cannes Film Festival that year, and we are fortunate to be screening Alps after its Best Film win at the Sydney International Film Festival this year and sell-out sessions at the Melbourne International Film Festival. I remember watching Dogtooth for the first time and instantly wanting to know how this new director ignited his creativity and originality. It was a film that has stayed with me, and Alps will leave a very similar impression on those who see it. In Alps we encounter a group of ‘stand-ins’, hired by people that have lost ones, as a way to grieve the loss of their loved on. The step in and take on mannerisms, speech and even sexual behaviour, in order to fill the void the passing of a loved one has left. It’s very hard not to be seduced by the originality of Lanthimos’ films.

The closing night film “Dead Europe” is based on a Christos Tsiolkas novel (writer of the slap) will there be characters we can fall in love with, or ones we can only see the things we dislike in ourselves and despise?
Christos Tsiolkas is brilliant at forcing us to confront our own darkness, and Tony Krawitz’s adaptation translates that darkness with such intensity, that it’s difficult not to fall in love the film, but maybe not the characters themselves! It’s as though Tsiolkas predicted the current situation in Europe when he wrote Dead Europe, and the film portrays a gritty, dirty and somewhat damaged Europe. Thematically, it’s the perfect closing night film for the Greek Film Festival, and we are really lucky to have it this year.

And finally, why should people come and see a film at the Greek Film Festival?
It’s an incredible year for Greek cinema, and we’re so proud to have such strong films in our program this year.
Audiences should come along to gain a new perspective on Greek cinema, experience an intense new breed of filmmakers, and see how these filmmakers are interpreting the current climate in Greece. We’re right behind these filmmakers, and Melbourne audiences should be too. As Babis Makridis said to me earlier this year, “We (Greeks) are in suddenly in fashion, and I hope the fashion doesn’t end.”

Ελληνίδες ταξιδεύουν στην Ιταλία για να βγουν στην πορνεία!


Απίστευτο δημοσίευμα της ιταλικής εφημερίδας.

Τελικά τα αποτελέσματα της οικονομικής κρίσης στη χώρα μας δειχνουν να έχουν πολύ σημαντικότερες επιπτώσεις στην κοινωνία, πέρα από την ανεργία, την οικονομική ανέχεια, την αύξηση της εγκληματικότητας.

Μάλλον, για να είμαι πιο ακριβής οι συνέπειες των τελευταίων, και ειδικά της ανέχειας που προκαλείται από την παρατεταμένη, συχνά, ανεργία έχουν οδηγήσει αρκετούς σε κινήσεις και “λύσεις” πρωτάκουστες, που, όχι λίγες φορές, φαντάζουν απελπισίας.

Το πιο συχνό φαινόμενο είναι η μετανάστευση. Ενίοτε, κάτω από οποιεσδήποτε συνθήκες, καθώς η απελπισία οδηγεί αρκετούς στο να φύγουν για μια ξένη χώρα χωρις καν προηγουμένως να έχουν εξασφαλίσει εργασία ή κατοικία. Κάποιοι τα καταφέρνουν, άλλοι πάλι όχι.

Ένα φαινόμενο το οποίο δεν είχαμε, μέχρι σήμερα, ξανακούσει ήταν αυτό της μετανάστευσης για… εκπόρνευση!

Πιο συγκεκριμένα, η ιταλική εφημερίδα Il Messaggero, σε πρόσφατο άρθρο της – έρευνα, στοιχειοθετεί πως Ελληνίδες ταξιδεύουν στην Ιταλία για να γίνουν πόρνες.Το άρθρο ξεκινά αρκετά σοκαριστικά: “Από την Πάτρα, την Αθήνα, την Ηγουμενίτσα, την Ηπειρο, δύο βήματα από το αλβανικά σύνορα.

Η Ελλάδα των αυστηρών μέτρων που έχει επιβάλλει η Ευρώπη, αρχίζει να κάνει την εμφάνισή της στα πεζοδρόμια, τα οποία εδώ και χρόνια όριζαν συμμορίες που εκμεταλλεύονταν πόρνες από τη Ρουμανία, τη Μολδαβία, την Ουκρανία και τη Νιγηρία”.

Περιγράφει δηλαδή κατάσταση που ζούσαμε τις τελευταίες δυο περίπου δεκαετίες στην Ελλάδα, αλλά με γυναίκες από την Αφρική ή τις χώρες του πρώην Ανατολικού Μπλοκ.

Οι αποδείξεις που παρέχει η εφημερίδα δεν είναι τίποτε λιγότερο από μαρτυρίες αστυνομικών οι οποίοι έχουν εντοπίσει και συλλάβει εκδιδόμενες συμπατριώτισσές μας, κυρίως στη Ρώμη, αλλά και σε κάποιες μικρότερες πόλεις της επαρχίας.

Όπως δήλωσε χαρακτηριστικά ένας υπεύθυνος της Αστυνομίας της Ρώμης:

“Δεν ξέρουμε αν οι γυναίκες αυτές δρουν αυτόνομα, χωρίς διασυνδέσεις με τον υπόκοσμο, ή αν τις εκμεταλλεύονται εγκληματικές οργανώσεις της Ελλάδας ή ακόμα και της Ρουμανίας που είναι από τα ισχυρότερα κυκλώματα πορνείας στην Ιταλία.

“Η εγγύτητα και η ευκολία της πρόσβασης μέσω Μπάρι και Μπρίντεζι, κυρίως, κάνει την υπόθεση της μετακίνησης για τις γυναίκες αυτές προς την γειτονικής χώρα ιδιαιτέρως απλή.

Περιμένουμε να δούμε σε ποια σημεία εξαθλίωσης μπορούμε να οδηγηθούμε ακόμα.

Nigel Farage on the Fall of Europe


Nigel Farage never elicits a neutral reaction…ever. His brutally honest remarks inspire either love or hate – kind of like country music, calvados or the Kardashians.

Even here, inside the Daily Reckoning brain trust, Farage produces a spilt reaction. One of your editors thinks Farage is the cat’s meow; the other editor thinks he’s the cat’s litter box. So one thing is clear; neutrality is not an option.

Farage, leader of the UK Independent Party, is a very outspoken advocate of small-to-no government, which makes him a very outspoken critic of the European Union. Farage is not an anarchist, but he would like to see the European Union wither up and blow away so that the nations of Europe could reclaim their political and economic sovereignty.

Late last week, Farage sat down with Lauren Lyster, the witty and engaging anchor of Russian TV’s Capital Account, to discuss his anti-eurozone perspective. (One of your editor’s loved it; the other, not so much).

As they launch into the interview, Lyster notes that Farage’s comments and interviews often “go viral” on the Internet. The reason is obvious, she says. ‘There’s a bull market for the truth. There’s a bull market for getting past the B.S. and the rhetoric.’

Farage clearly delivers a perspective that ‘gets past the B.S.,’ but not without utilizing his own brand of rhetoric.

‘One of the ironies of the European project,’ Farage remarked last time we featured his comments in the Daily Reckoning, ‘is that this project that was set up to make us all love each other is actually beginning to make us hate each other… Far from Europe coming together, Europe is being torn apart and we are risking stirring up the very kind of nationalisms that the project was supposed to stop in the first place.’

This time around, Farage takes his scorn for the Eurozone and kicks it up a notch. ‘I think that anybody who looks at economics from a fundamental perspective is going to say, “This eurozone should never have been put together the way that it has been and that, frankly, it can’t last.” The only question is how long can the agony go on for.’

Intelligence and National Security – The Case of Greece


During the first decade of the 21st century, as long as national and international security is concerned, terrorism remains a major issue. The events of September 11th 2001 in the USA, March 11th 2004 in Madrid, July 7th 2005 in London and most recently July 18th 2012 in Burgas, Bulgaria, indicate, or actually prove, that the distribution and analysis of information by those who are competent to eliminate international terrorism is inefficient.
Intelligence cooperation is still an obstacle for information analysis due to the combination of a net centric world which facilitates terrorist groups with ethnocentric perceptions.
Moreover, the fact that intelligence services are integrated into the state apparatus, and as a result suffer from relative bureaucratic weaknesses, has been disregarded. This fact cannot be easily studied due to the covert nature of these particular services.
The writer had the chance to speak with Michael Herman, an academic analyst of the intelligence services (Oxford University), who underlined that «the dramatic increase of workforce in the intelligence area and the fact that most of the employees have obtained a public-employee mentality is the biggest change since 1945. Intelligence services have adopted the features of “Weberian bureaucracy”, which has changed because of the computer technology but it is ubiquitous as a structure». Like the Greek National Intelligence Services (NIS), intelligence agencies in other countries services suffer similarly and undergo the comparable changes within the bureaucratic environment of each country.
During the last decades most intelligence services of European countries and the USA have conducted sweeping changes concerning their way of function and action, but also their way of recruiting new executives –highly merit and with constant training-, while they make sure that their workforce is always adjusted to the new environment. All the changes mentioned have brought the managing practices of these services closer to the existing techniques of private organizations and moreover in many cases there is modernization of the logistical infrastructure as well as establishment of new building substructure.
It is important to mention that these changes took place during the transition to the post-Cold War era, when the new facts imposed strict supervision and more effective management of these services by their societies (Parliamentary Oversight).
The current economic crisis that plagues our country, with the uncontrollable illegal immigration –which constitutes a national threat for the consistency of Greek society- and the Turkish threat, calls for the establishment of a Greek Intelligence Community, which will be able to cope with the contemporary challenges with high-level skills, efficiency and human resources management.
The National Intelligence Services have to face the need for adjustment to a constantly changing environment in order to serve the interests of Greek foreign policy and support cultural, economic and military choices of the executive authority.
But how can the National Intelligence Services live up to this duty, when Greek interests have not yet been clearly determined and a national strategic plan has not been contructed? The National Intelligence Services should be an elite service and being treated like one by all Greek governments, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
The writer has repeatedly referred to the need for modernization of the National Intelligence Services in articles published in academic journals (citation of the articles at the end of the text), that inclued some of the following suggestions:
1) establishment of an Intelligence Academy which will provide academic education giving the corresponding diploma in studying intelligence services and creating a new generation of talented operational analysts,
2) establishment of a department –within the Academy- for the communication strategy of the National Intelligence Services with Greek and foreign media and
3) smoother cooperation with the Parliament and various other agencies.
Greek society is unaware of NIS work and unfortunately treats it with mistrust despite its defense of Greek national interests.
In conclusion, we hope that Greek territory will not shrink due to current geo-economic and geopolitical processes in our area (Balkans, Mediterranean, Middle East) and that intelligence and that our security agencies will be able to prevent any future unpleasant situations.
International Bibliography
Nomikos J, “Reforming the Greek Intelligence-Security Community: New Challenges”, Journal of Romanian Intelligence Studies, No.5, June 2011, Bucharest, Romania.
Nomikos J and Liaropoulos A, “Truly Reforming or Just Responding to Failures? Lessons Learned from the Modernisation of the Greek National Intelligence Service”, Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2010, Sydney, Australia.
Nomikos J, “Greek Intelligence Service”, in Global Security and Intelligence, (ed) by Stuart Farson, Peter Gill, Mark Phythian and Shlomo Shpiro, (Praeger Security International, 2008), USA.
Nomikos J, “Greek Intelligence Service: Past, Present and the Future”, National Security and the Future, 1-2 (9), 2008, Croatia.
Nomikos J, “Greek Intelligence Service: A Brief Description”, European Journal of Intelligence Studies, vol. 2, 2008, Brussels, Belgium.
Nomikos J, “Greek Intelligence Service and Post 9/11 Challenges”, The Journal of Intelligence History, Vol. 4, No.2, Winter 2004, Germany.

Nomikos J, “The Internal Modernization of the Greek Intelligence Service”, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 17, No. 3, Fall 2004, USA.

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