PRESS RELEASES

Second Annual New York Greek Film Expo Triumphs—
Draws Audiences from the Tri-State Area
For Screenings, Panel Discussion, and Receptions;
Presented by the Hellenic Film Society USA

New York – May 17, 2019 – Building on the success of the inaugural New York Greek Film Expo last year, the Hellenic Film Society USA (HFS) presented a wide range of award-winning feature films, documentaries and shorts, May 3-11, at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and the Manhasset Theater in Nassau County, drawing an estimated audience of more than 2,500.

At the closing of the Expo, the Hellenic Film Society announced its two annual awards.  The Audience Award was given to Kazantzakis, a dramatization of the life of one of Greece’s greatest writers, directed by directed by Yannis Smaragdis. The 2019 Alexis Mouyiaris Memorial Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film went to actress Marisha Triantafyllidou for her role in Her Job.  She is also the recipient of the 2019 Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Actress for her role.

The nine comedies, dramas, and documentaries were particularly topical this year, addressing women’s issues in the restaurant business, as well as the current political and social transitions in Greece. Also well received were the life stories of 20th century cultural giants (Nikos Kazantzakis, as well as opera legend Maria Callas), both of whom had a profound impact on the arts    in both Greece and the United States.

“We are delighted at the audience reaction to the fine films we presented at this year’s Expo,” said Jimmy DeMetro, president of Hellenic Film Society USA. “Their enthusiastic response to the films and their insightful questions to the directors in our Q&A sessions demonstrate that Greek films resonate not only with Greek-American audiences, but audiences of all nationalities.”

Highlights

Seven directors whose films were presented at the Expo came to New York from Athens, Paris, Montreal, and Los Angeles to participate in receptions and post-screening Q&A sessions with the audience. They were hosted by Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Greece, in a special reception in honor of the New York Greek Film Expo on Monday, May 6 at the Greek Consulate, also attended by HFS board members.

For the first time, HFS hosted a panel discussion during the Expo. Media attorney and film producer George Stephanopoulos moderated a conversation among filmmakers about the new financial incentives designed to encourage on-location shooting in Greece.

Following a capacity-crowd screening of the documentary Last Song to Xenitia, the Polyphonic Group of the Academy of Hellenic Paideia gave an acapella performance of traditional Greek folk songs from the Epirus region of Greece that played a pivotal role in the film.

Celebrity chef Maria Loi, featured in the documentary, A Fine Line, about the role of women in the restaurant business, hosted a tasting prior to the screening at the Directors Guild Theater. She and director Joanna James participated in a Q&A that touched on a wide range of women’s workplace issues in the field.

Following the screening of Cliffs of Freedom, HFS hosted an opening night celebration at Brasserie 8½, where film fans had the opportunity to meet the visiting directors and pose for photographs.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society USA. The New York Greek Film Expo is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA. Additional support is provided by the Kallinikeion Foundation.

For further information, please visit https://hellenicfilmusa.org and follow on Facebook and Instagram.

About the Hellenic Film Society USA

The Hellenic Film Society USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization rooted in the belief that Greek cinema can and should be part of the American cultural landscape. They promote feature films, documentaries, and film shorts made by Greek filmmakers and those of Greek descent, as well as films that promote the cultures of Greece and Cyprus. Their mission is to share the richness of Greek films with a wider American audience, to showcase Greek movies, and to preserve the film heritage of Greece.

Press Contact:
Nancy Nicolelis/718-898-7002/nancy.nicolelis@gmail.com

Hellenic Film Society USA Announces Lineup for
Second Annual New York Greek Film Expo, May 3-11

New York – April 12, 2019 – The Hellenic Film Society is pleased to announce the feature film lineup for its Second Annual New York Greek Film Expo, a showcase for nine comedies, dramas, and documentaries. Screenings will be held May 3-11 at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and the Manhasset Theater in Nassau County.

This year’s topical offerings reflect the Greek and Greek-American experience with films that capture the current political and social transitions in Greece, the life stories of 20th century cultural giants, a love story set against the backdrop of the Greek War of Independence, and a documentary that explores women’s issues. Greek language films are shown with English subtitles.

“Our goal is to present quality, engaging films that resonate with audiences of all nationalities,” said Jimmy DeMetro, president of Hellenic Film Society USA. “We are pleased to show these quality films, each of which explores a different aspect of Greek culture by filmmakers who may be unfamiliar to New York audiences.”

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society USA. The New York Greek Film Expo is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA. Additional support is provided by the Kallinikeion Foundation.

For further information about the New York Greek Film Expo or to purchase tickets, please visit https://hellenicfilmusa.org/ or call 646-844-1488.

Following is the 2019 feature film lineup:

CLIFFS OF FREEDOM, directed by Van Ling. Sweeping cinematography heightens the story of an ill-fated romance between a Greek village girl and a Turkish officer at the dawn of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Their budding romance brings tragedy to her family and her village and leads to a confrontation during a pivotal battle that will change the course of history. Cast includes Patti LuPone and Christopher Plummer. Director Van Ling is expected to attend the screening

A FINE LINE, directed by Joanna James. This award-winning documentary, told through the story of Greek-American restaurateur Valerie James, is an uplifting success story about perseverance, family and food. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant culture with women at the helm, as celebrity chefs including Maria Loi and Lidia Bastianich weigh in on current workplace issues. Director Joanna James will attend the screening.

HER JOB, directed by Nikos Labot. Amid Greece’s economic turmoil, an oppressed housewife gets her first job as a cleaning woman at a shopping mall and unexpectedly finds empowerment and a sense of self-worth in this film nominated for six Hellenic Film Academy Awards. including Best Picture. Director Nikos Labot, winner of the Best New Director award by the Hellenic Film Academy, and lead actress Marisha Triantafyllidou, named Best Actress, are expected to attend all screenings.

HOLY BOOM, directed by Maria Lafi. The lives of four strangers living in the same diverse Athens neighborhood are upended when, on Palm Sunday, a teenager bombs a local mailbox, destroying documents of vital importance to each of them. Generational and ethnic differences add to the tensions in this film nominated for two Hellenic Film Academy Awards. Director Maria Lafi is expected to attend screenings on May 5 and 6.

KAZANTZAKIS, directed by Yannis Smaragdis. This lushly photographed, award-winning dramatization recounts the life of Nikos Kazantzakis, best known for writing Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ, and widely considered the greatest Greek writer of the 20th century.

LAST SONG TO XENITIA, directed by Athena Scotes. Folk poet Vasiliki Papachristou Skoutela left her native Greek village in Epirus in the 1930s for a better life in America, all the while keeping hundreds of ancient songs alive. At the age of 103, she returns to find Greece in crisis once again and faces today’s youth who may be considering leaving. Music legend Lakis Halkias appears in the film. Director Athena Scotes is expected to attend the screening.

MARIA BY CALLAS, directed by Tom Volf. Told through performances, TV interviews, never-before-seen home movies, family photographs, private letters, and unpublished memoirs, this documentary reveals the essence of the legendary Greek-American opera singer who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time.

REFUGE II: THE ICE PATH, directed by Christos Nikoleris. When an accident befalls one of four friends spending a weekend in the woods, they seek shelter in what they believe is an abandoned house. Little do they know of the evil within in this thriller that won the Audience Award at the 2018 Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Director Christos Nikoleris is expected to attend the screening on May 8.

SMUGGLING HENDRIX, directed by Marios Piperides. Biting satire about a Greek Cypriot trying to retrieve his dog from the Turkish side of Nicosia. This award-winning film was hailed by Variety as a “delightful…and intelligent comedy, which captures the absurdity and tragedy of a complicated political situation.” Named Best International Narrative Feature (Cyprus) at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Director Marios Piperides, winner of the Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay for this film, is expected to attend both screenings.

Special Events

The Hellenic Film Society will host an Opening Night Celebration at Brasserie 8 ½, 9 West 57 Street in Manhattan, immediately following the opening night screening of Cliffs of Freedom on Friday, May 3. Tickets are required.

On Saturday, May 4, media attorney and producer George Stephanopoulos will moderate a panel discussion entitled Filming in Greece: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful. Panelists will discuss the benefits of filming in Greece, including new tax credits and rebates available to attract international film production and boost the Greek economy. The event will be held 12-1:30pm at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), 199 Chambers Street. There is no charge for admission, but attendees must register on the HFS website. A post-panel reception will be held nearby at Greca, 2-4pm at 452 Washington Street, featuring a cash bar and complimentary light meze.

Celebrity chef Maria Loi, featured in the documentary, A Fine Line, will host a tasting reception at 12:30, prior to the screening of the film at 2pm on Sunday, May 5 at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan. Tickets are required.

About the Hellenic Film Society USA

The Hellenic Film Society USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization rooted in the belief that Greek cinema can and should be part of the American cultural landscape. We promote feature films, documentaries, and film shorts made by Greek filmmakers and those of Greek descent, as well as films that promote the cultures of Greece and Cyprus. Our mission is to share the richness of Greek films with a wider American audience, to showcase Greek movies, and to preserve the film heritage of Greece.

Press Contacts:

Pares Mallis/ 617-595-5638/mallis.pares@gmail.com
Nancy Nicolelis/718-898-7002/nancy.nicolelis@gmail.com

2019 New York Greek Film Expo Schedule
Screenings will be held at the following theaters:

Directors Guild Theater, 110 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106
Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema, 430 Plandome Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030

Friday, May 3 – Directors Guild Theater

7pm Cliffs of Freedom*

*Immediately following the screening of Cliffs of Freedom, the Hellenic Film Society will host an Opening Night Reception at Brasserie 8 1/2, 9 West 57th St., New York, NY. Directors and actors featured in Expo screenings are expected to attend. Tickets are required. Director Van Ling is expected to attend the screening.

Saturday, May 4 – Directors Guild Theater

7pm Her Job (Director Nikos Labot and leading actress Marisha Triantafyllidou are expected to attend)
9:15pm Kazantzakis

Sunday, May 5 – Directors Guild Theater

2pm A Fine Line** (Director Joanna James, and chefs Valerie James and Maria Loi are expected to attend)
4:30pm Holy Boom (Director Maria Lafi is expected to attend)
7pm Smuggling Hendrix (Director Marios Piperides is expected to attend)

**Celebrity chef Maria Loi will host a tasting reception at 12:30, prior to the 2pm screening.

Monday, May 6 – Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Holy Boom (Director Maria Lafi is expected to attend)
9pm Smuggling Hendrix (Director Marios Piperides is expected to attend)

Tuesday, May 7 – Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Kazantzakis
9:15pm Her Job (Director Nikos Labot and leading actress Marisha Triantafyllidou are expected to attend)

Wednesday, May 8 – Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Refuge II: The Ice Path (Director Christos Nikoleris is expected to attend)
9:15pm Maria By Callas

Thursday, May 9 – Museum of the Moving Image

7pm Her Job (Director Nikos Labot and leading actress Marisha Triantafyllidou are expected to attend)

Saturday, May 11 – Museum of the Moving Image

2pm Refuge II: The Ice Path
4:30pm Holy Boom
7pm Last Song to Xenitia (Director Athena Scotes is expected to attend)
PRESS RELEASE
Contact: 917-710-3027

NEW YORK’S MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE
TO PRESENT MONTHLY SCREENINGS OF GREEK FILMS

A partnership between the Hellenic Film Society USA and the Museum of the Moving Image will make possible monthly screenings of the finest Greek films in the Museum’s state-of-the-art theater. Called Always On Sunday because the films will be shown on Sunday afternoons, the series opens on October 7 with two showings, at 4 pm and 6 pm, of THE LAST NOTE (To Teleftaio Simeioma), directed by Pantelis Voulgaris.
The Museum is located at 36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria.

“We are pleased to establish a year-round presence for Greek films in New York,” said HFS Director Jimmy DeMetro. “And we are especially honored to have access to just about the best screening facility in New York.”

“On our part, we are excited about the new Hellenic Film Society,” said David Schwartz, Chief Curator at MOMI. “We have worked with Jimmy DeMetro and his capable colleagues before, and we are sure that Always On Sunday will be an excellent showcase for contemporary Greek cinema, and that the series will find an enthusiastic audience..”

THE LAST NOTE focuses on one of the most important chapters in modern Greek history, the execution of 200 Greek partisans by German occupiers in Kaisariani on May 1, 1944, in retaliation for the ambush killing of four Nazis. Earlier this year the film won four Hellenic Film Academy Awards, including Best Actor Andreas Konstantinou. The film, in Greek and German, will be shown with English subtitles.

To accommodate the high demand for tickets, two additional screenings of the film have been scheduled for Thursday, October 11, 6:45 and 9 pm, at the Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema (439 Plandome Road., Manhasset).

For ticket information visit: www.hellenicfilusa.org or call 917-710-3027.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society. Generous support is provided by Carol and Niko Mouyiaris, in memory of their son Alexi, an actor. Additional funding is provided by the Onassis Foundation USA and the Kallinikeion Foundation.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Pares Mallis
pares.mallis@hellenicfilmusa.org
617-595-5638

Greek Film Expo Concludes Following Sold-Out Screenings in New York;
Hellenic Film Society USA Announces Alexis Mouyiaris Memorial Award
For Best Performance in a Feature Film to Katia Goulioni (Polyxeni);
And Greek Film Expo Audience Award to Jamaica

New York, NY– May 7, 2018 — The 2018 Greek Film Expo, the new film festival presented by the Hellenic Film Society USA, concluded after sold-out screenings at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and the Bow Tie Manhasset Theater in Nassau County.

Following a week of screenings of award-winning Greek comedies and dramas, The Hellenic Film Society announced the first-ever Greek film awards presented in New York. The 2018 Alexis Mouyiaris Memorial Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film goes to Katia Goulioni (Polyxeni). Goulioni is also the recipient of the 2018 Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Actress for her role. Jamaica, directed by Andreas Morfonios, won the 2018 Greek Film Expo Audience Award for most popular film in the Expo.

The awards will be pronounced on Thursday, May 10 at a reception supporting Greeks in the Arts, celebrating the Greek Film Expo and the upcoming Carnegie Hall performance of legendary Greek singer Maria Farantouri. For further information or to buy tickets for the event at Kellari Taverna in midtown Manhattan, visit eventbrite.com.

Many of the actors and filmmakers whose films were presented at the Greek Film Expo flew in from Greece to attend screenings, participate in audience Q&A sessions, and take photographs with their fans. Actors Spiros Papadopoulos and Nikoleta Kotsailidou (Jamaica), directors Dora Masklavanou (Polyxeni), Vasilis Christofilakis (Too Much Info Clouding Over my My Head), Alex Sipsidis (Blue Queen), and producer George Stephanopoulos (Swing Away) appeared in person at screenings and at a special premiere reception. The award-winning film, Worlds Apart, was also presented.

The Hellenic Film Society USA

The Hellenic Film Society USA is a non-profit organization created to promote Greek cinema in America. Its mission is to share the richness of Greek films with a wider American audience, to promote Greek filmmakers, and to preserve the film heritage of Greece.

The organization, founded by Jimmy DeMetro and the team that presented the New York City Greek Film Festival for 11 years, was established to expand the reach of Greek film beyond a single annual festival. In addition to presenting screenings of new and classic Greek films throughout the year in cities across the US, the organization is embarking on programs to support aspiring filmmakers of Greek descent; foster relationships between Greek filmmakers and US investors and distributors; and restore and preserve Greek film classics.

“We are passionate about our mission to present and support high-quality, well-crafted films and we’re looking forward to presenting our loyal audiences with engaging films at the Greek Film Expo,” says president Jimmy DeMetro. “Film has a very a special way of revealing culture, so we don’t just project Greek films, we project Greece. What we do brings Greece closer to all of us.”

The Hellenic Film Society USA, a 501(c)(3) organization, receives funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Nikos and Carol Mouyiaris, in memory of their son Alexis Mouyiaris. The Greek Film Expo in New York is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA.

For further information, please visit hellenicfilmusa.org or email info@hellenicfilmusa.org.

Spiros Papadopoulos addressing the audience at a screening of Jamaica at the Greek Film Expo while costar Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Greek Film Expo director Jimmy DeMetro look on. The film received the Greek Film Expo Audience Award for most popular film.

Download the press release in its pdf version

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Pares Mallis
pares.mallis@hellenicfilmusa.org
617-595-5638

Newly Created Hellenic Film Society USA
Announces Premiere of Greek Film Expo April 27-May 3, 2018

New York, NY– April 2, 2018 — The Hellenic Film Society USA is pleased to announce its first ever Greek Film Expo, a showcase for six outstanding Greek comedies and dramas, to be held April 27-May 3 in the New York metropolitan area. Screenings will be held at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and the Bow Tie Manhasset Theater in Nassau County. The Hellenic Film Society will host an opening reception on Friday, April 27 immediately following the debut of Jamaica. Actors Spiros Papadopoulos and Nikoleta Kotsailidou and directors Vasilis Christofilakis and Dora Masklavanou are expected to attend the reception to be held at Ousia, 629 West 57th Street, NY, NY. Tickets are required.

Jamaica, directed by Andreas Morfonios, is a bittersweet comedy which tells the story of two estranged brothers at very different places in their lives. Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos, who also hosts the popular TV musical revue, Stin Ygeia Mas Re Paidia, are expected to attend all screenings. The award-winning drama Polyxeni, directed by Dora Masklavanou, was nominated for 11 Hellenic Film Academy Awards including Best Picture. It tells the story of a young woman attempting to gain independence in a traditional society. The director is expected to attend the Manhattan and Astoria screenings of her film.

Blue Queen, directed by Alex Sipsidis, is a mystery that unfolds from four different points of view with intriguing plot twists that keep the audience guessing till the end. Sipsidis is expected to attend the screenings on April 27 and 29. The clever comedy Too Much Info Clouding Over My Head, directed by Vasilis Christofilakis, focuses on a hapless film director whose career is sidetracked when he is forced to raise money to film a screenplay he detests. The director is expected to attend the screenings of his film.

Swing Away, directed by Michael Achilles Nickles, is the story of a discouraged golf pro who gets her groove back by reconnecting with her Greek roots. Worlds Apart, directed by Christopher Papakaliatis is a major box office hit in Greece. Starring J.K. Simmons and Papakaliatis, it follows the dramatic unfolding relationships of three couples at a time of economic turmoil.

The Hellenic Film Society USA

The Hellenic Film Society USA is a non-profit organization created to promote Greek cinema in America. Its mission is to share the richness of Greek films with a wider American audience, to promote Greek filmmakers, and to preserve the film heritage of Greece.

The organization, founded by Jimmy DeMetro and the team that presented the New York City Greek Film Festival for 11 years, was established to expand the reach of Greek film beyond a single annual festival. In addition to presenting screenings of new and classic Greek films throughout the year in cities across the US, the organization is embarking on programs to support aspiring filmmakers of Greek descent; foster relationships between Greek filmmakers and US investors and distributors; and restore and preserve Greek film classics.

“We are passionate about our mission to present and support high-quality, well-crafted films and we’re looking forward to presenting our loyal audiences with engaging films at the Greek Film Expo,” says president Jimmy DeMetro. “Film has a very a special way of revealing culture, so we don’t just project Greek films, we project Greece. What we do brings Greece closer to all of us.”

The Hellenic Film Society USA, a 501(c)(3) organization, receives funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Nikos and Carol Mouyiaris, in memory of their son Alexis Mouyiaris. The Greek Film Expo in New York is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA.

For further information, to purchase tickets to the Greek Film Expo and Opening Reception or for information on how to become a Hellenic Film Society USA sponsor, please visit hellenicfilmusa.org or email info@hellenicfilmusa.org or call 718-531-5074.

2018 Greek Film Expo Schedule

Screenings will be held at the following theaters:

Directors Guild Theater, 110 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106
Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema, 430 Plandome Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030

Friday, April 27—Directors Guild Theater

7pm Jamaica* (Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos are expected to attend the screening)
9:15pm Blue Queen

*Immediately following the premiere of Jamaica, the Hellenic Film Society will host an Opening Reception at Ousia, 629 West 57th Street – tickets are required

Saturday, April 28—Directors Guild Theater

7pm Polyxeni (Director Dora Masklavanou is expected to attend the screening)
9:15pm Too Much Info Clouding Over My Head (Director Vasilis Christofilakis is expected to attend the screening)

Sunday, April 29—Museum of the Moving Image

1:30pm Polyxeni (Director Dora Masklavanou is expected to attend the screening)
4pm Jamaica (Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos are expected to attend the screening)
7pm Blue Queen

Tuesday, May 1—Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Too Much Info Clouding Over My Head (Director Vasilis Christofilakis is expected to attend the screening)
9:15pm Jamaica (Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos are expected to attend the screening)

Wednesday, May 2—Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Swing Away
9:15pm Worlds Apart

Thursday, May 3—Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Blue Queen
9:15pm Polyxeni>

For further information or to purchase tickets, please visit hellenicfilmusa.org or call 718-531-5074.

Download the press release in its pdf version

MEDIA COVERAGE

Second Annual New York Greek Film Expo Opens
May 08, 2019

Appearing at the screening of A Fine Line were (l. to r.): the film’s director Joanna James, celebrity chef Maria Loi, Hellenic Film Society treasurer and business manager Eva Mallis, and Hellenic Film Society USA founder and president Prof. Jimmy DeMetro. Photos Tony Barsamian

The Second Annual New York Greek Film Expo, which is running through May 11, opened on May 3 to great notices and praise. The Greek Film Expo, a showcase for nine films, including comedies, dramas, and documentaries, screened at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Bowtie Cinema in Manhasset and continues through May 11 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

“Our goal is to present quality, engaging films that resonate with audiences of all nationalities,” said Jimmy DeMetro, president of Hellenic Film Society USA. “We are pleased to show these quality films, each of which explores a different aspect of Greek culture by filmmakers who may be unfamiliar to New York audiences.”

A Fine Line, directed by Joanna James, is an award-winning documentary focusing on Greek-American restaurateur Valerie James. The film is an uplifting success story about perseverance, family, and food, with a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant culture with women at the helm, as celebrity chefs, including Maria Loi and Lidia Bastianich weigh in on current workplace issues.

Greek is great at special Hellenic film festival that runs until May 11
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

It’s famous for democracy, philosophy, and heart-healthy cuisine. Plus, it’s a great place to produce a movie.

The New York Greek Film Expo is currently showing comedies, dramas, and documentaries at cinemas in Queens, Manhattan, and Nassau County. This is the festival’s second year, and the nine selections reflect Greek and Greek-American experiences with works that explore current political and social transitions, the lives of cultural icons, and women’s issues. Plus, there’s a love story set during the Greek War of Independence. (The dialogue is in Greek with English subtitles.)

The Museum of the Moving Image, which is located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District, is part of the fun with four showings this weekend. Here’s the Queens schedule.

Her Job” (May 9, 7 p.m.) follows an oppressed housewife who gets her first-ever paying job as a cleaning woman at a shopping mall. Amid the country’s economic turmoil, she finds empowerment and self-worth. Director Nikos Labot will be in attendance.

Refuge II: The Ice Path” (May 11, 2 p.m.) is a thriller about four friends on a camping trip. One is injured in an accident, and they seek shelter in what they think is an abandoned house. They soon learn about the evil within the walls.

Holy Boom” (May 11, 4:30 p.m.) follows four strangers in the same diverse Athens neighborhood. Their lives are upended when, on Palm Sunday, a teenager bombs a local mailbox, destroying documents of vital importance to each of them.

Last Song to Xenitia”(May 11, 7 p.m.) depicts folk poet Vasiliki Papachristou Skoutela, who left her native village in Epirus in the 1930s for a better life in the United States, but never stopped singing traditional music. At age 103, she returns to Greece to find a country in crisis with many residents trying to leave. Legendary crooner Lakis Halkias, who hails from a famous musical family from Epirus, makes an appearance.

Other selections include “A Fine Line,” a documentary on women-run restaurants in the U.S.; “Kazantzakis,” a dramatic recounting of writer Nikos Kazantzakis, who created Zorba the Greek; and “Maria By Callas,” which chronicles the famous opera singer’s life through performances, TV interviews, home movies, photographs, letters, and unpublished memoirs.

The New York Greek Film Expo is produced by the Hellenic Film Society USA. In total, there are 16 screenings and a few other events, such as receptions and a panel discussion. The Directors Guild Theater (110 W 57th St. in Manhattan) and Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema (430 Plandome Rd. on Long Island) are the other participating venues.

NY Greek Film Expo Opens with Cliffs of Freedom
May 6, 2019

The Second Annual New York Greek Film Expo ran May 3-11. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

NEW YORK – The Hellenic Film Society USA opened its second annual New York Greek Film Expo at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Manhattan on May 3 with a sold out screening of Cliffs of Freedom, set at the start of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. The audience lined up eagerly to see the film, a throwback to old Hollywood historical epics.

A true passion project for Greek-American Executive Producer and Co-writer Marianne Metropoulos, who spent several years developing the story for modern audiences. She told The National Herald in a previous interview, “As a proud Greek-American, I wanted to produce a feature film depicting Greece’s fight for freedom after 400 years of occupation by the Ottoman Turks. This pivotal period in Greece’s history is less known to many, and it tells of the Greek’s commitment and perseverance to achieve freedom or choose death rather than to live enslaved.”

Directed by Van Ling, who attended the screening, the film features the story of an ill-fated romance between a Greek village girl, played by Tania Raymonde, and a Turkish officer, played by Jan Uddin, at the dawn of the struggle for Greek Independence. Tragedy ensues as her family and her village are caught up in the violence and oppression, leading up to a confrontation during a pivotal battle that will change the course of history. The star-studded cast includes the always impressive Patti LuPone and Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer.

The true stars of the film were the supporting players, especially those of Greek descent who added a level of authenticity to the film as few other elements could. Costas Mandylor as Anna Christina’s father is pitch perfect in a performance that rings true in spite of having to deliver some less than snappy lines. Simon Kassianides is a powerful screen presence in his brief time on screen. One hoped he could have had more to do. Billy Zane also gave a fine performance, channeling his villainous character from Titanic, except as the tax collector in the Greek village this time.

Veteran Greek-American actor Dennis Boutsikaris makes a cameo appearance as Kolokotronis which drew cheers and applause from the audience, delivering a message to rally the Greeks in the fight for independence.

Director Van Ling thanked everyone for attending the screening of Cliffs of Freedom following the welcoming remarks by Hellenic Film Society USA director Jimmy DeMetro. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

The score of the film, by Cypriot composer George Kallis was also quite good, recalling old time Hollywood films.
The stilted dialogue, however, did no favors for the film, and the romance, sketched out in a few brief scenes, doesn’t give off sparks as much as Anna Christina’s passion for the fight for freedom. Uddin’s scenes with Raza Jaffrey as Sunal Demir were much stronger than any of the scenes between Uddin and Raymonde. In fact, the story of how Jaffrey’s character, who, it is pointed out several times, has Greek blood, came to be so vicious against Greeks could easily be a fascinating film on its own.

The film is rated R for the brutal violence which starts from the very beginning of the film and continues throughout.
Hellenic Film Society USA President Jimmy DeMetro gave the welcoming remarks, thanking all the supporters and benefactors of the Film Expo, and introduced the film’s director as well as the directors of other films to be screened during the Film Expo. Ling thanked everyone for attending and said that he hoped this film will inspire other filmmakers to make more films about the Greek War of Independence and this time period.

Ling also participated in a Q&A session following the screening. When asked why the film was not more widely released, he noted the difficulties of distributing a film not backed by a big Hollywood studio, but also pointed out that the film was now being screened in the most democratic way to get a film into theaters.

Hellenic Film Society USA Director Jimmy DeMetro and director Van Ling in the Q&A session which followed the screening of Cliffs of Freedom, the opening film of the second New York Greek Film Expo. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

He told the audience members that screenings can be requested via the film’s website and clicking on Film Request where they can fill out a form requesting a screening in their area. If enough tickets are sold for the screening, the theater will show the film.

Ling also spoke with TNH at the reception which followed the film screening held at Brasserie 8 1/2 in Manhattan. When asked what he is working on next, he told TNH that he is still working on getting Cliffs of Freedom seen by as wide an audience as possible, but he is also writing.

More information about Cliffs of Freedom and requesting a screening is available online: https://cliffsoffreedomfilm.com.

The New York Greek Film Expo runs through May 11 with screenings at the Directors Guild Theater, the Museum of the Moving Image, and Manhasset Theater.

Last Song to Xenitia at the NY Greek Film Expo
May 14, 2019

Hellenic Film Society USA’s director Jimmy DeMetro, Last Song to Xenitia’s director and producer Athena Scotes, her father, Ambassador Thomas J. Scotes, the film’s editor and producer Konstantia Kontaxis, and producer Tony Manolikakis. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

ASTORIA – The powerful, beautifully shot documentary Last Song to Xenitia was the final film screened at this year’s New York Greek Film Expo, presented by the Hellenic Film Society USA at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria on May 11. The film offered a perfect conclusion to the Film Expo bringing together the experience of diaspora Greeks, the return to the homeland, and the ancient tradition of the folk songs of Epirus through the incredible journey of 103-year-old Vasiliki Papachristou Scotes back to her native village of Theodoriana.

Her granddaughter Athena Scotes directed the film and attended the screening along with her father Thomas J. Scotes, former Ambassador to Yemen, who had copied down the over 340 songs his mother had brought with her when she came to the United States as a bride in 1931 for the book Weft of Memory, published in 2009. The documentary focuses on the journey back to Greece with the book and the songs which were recorded by renowned musician Lakis Halkias.

Director Athena Scotes spoke with The National Herald about the documentary, noting that she originally thought it was a film for the Greek diaspora, but, in fact, the Greeks in Greece have responded enthusiastically to the message of the film and to Yiayia’s words about xenitia and about following your dreams. Vasiliki’s dream was to be a teacher, but her father and grandfather took her out of school at a young age, something she never forgave, Scotes pointed out, noting that Vasiliki made sure her children received the best education.

The documentary begins with the definition of xenitia, “living as a stranger in a foreign land,” and then follows the journey back to the Tzoumerka Mountains, part of the wider Pindus range, with the stunning mountain scenery transformed through the seasons and through the last year of Yiayia Vasiliki’s life. The sublime beauty of the landscape and the harshness of economic reality for so many of the residents adds such poignancy to the film as the local priest tells us that in the summer there are 2500 people in the village, but in winter there are only 12, including himself.

The Polyphonic Group of the Academy of Hellenic Paideia performed Epirotic songs, accompanied by Yiorgo Bezani on clarinet, at right, following the screening of Last Song to Xenitia. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

In Athens, the family visits then-President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, also from Epirus, who honored Vasiliki as a folk poet and for preserving an ancient oral tradition. The recording of her songs and the return to her village for the concert of her songs with Halkias and George Kotsinis were especially moving. The spirit, vibrant personality, and wit of this remarkable woman shine throughout the film, and her words of encouragement to the young people of Greece in the midst of the crisis are especially moving because she speaks from a lifetime of experience.

Athena Scotes writes on the film’s website, “She was thankful for everything that America gave her, but she never forgot her homeland. For over 80 years living in xenitia, she kept hundreds of ancient songs alive. They linked her to those she left behind and to the homeland she loved so dearly. These songs evoked bittersweet memories of why she and many like her were forced to leave and seek a better life in xenitia. She sang these songs to her children and grandchildren. Nearing 100 years old she would dictate over 340 songs to her son- these songs were eventually published in a book [Weft of Memory]. “While on this journey, she finds that Greece is in crisis. Economic crisis, cultural crisis and, perhaps, even an identity crisis. We travel through Greece together and meet young people, who are struggling with the choice of leaving their homeland once again to live in xenitia. Vasiliki spent her life in xenitia – for her and her generation this was the answer to their problems. But she tells the youth that today, for them, xenitia may not be the answer.”

Hellenic Film Society USA’s founder and director Jimmy DeMetro gave the welcoming remarks at the New York Greek Film Expo screening of Last Song to Xenitia. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Hellenic Film Society USA Founder and Director Jimmy DeMetro introduced the film as well as a special live performance which immediately followed the screening. Highlighting the ancient Epirotic song tradition depicted in the film, the talented singers of the Academy of Hellenic Paideia’s Polyphonic Group, including the Academy’s principal Demetra Varsami, Antoneta Varsami, Kostando Kolezi, Valentina Moka, Vasiliki Kosta, Vasiliki Dalani, Dimitroula Pandeli, and Katerina Alexaki who introduced the three songs, gave a moving performance accompanied by the gifted Yiorgo Bezani on clarinet for the first song.

A lively Q&A session followed the performance with many expressing their appreciation to the director for her excellent film and also for capturing the remarkable experience of her grandmother and sharing her with us all.

More information about the film is available online: www.xenitia.net and on Facebook: Last Song to Xenitia.

The Polyphonic Group of the Academy of Hellenic Paideia performed Epirotic songs following the screening of Last Song to Xenitia. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Onstage for the Q&A session were, from left to right, Jimmy DeMetro, Thomas J. Scotes, Athena Scotes, and Tony Manolikakis. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Μια ταινία για την Κυριακή που μας έφερε δάκρυα στο Greek Film Expo
May 6, 2019

Μετά την προβολή της ταινίας ακολούθησε περίοδος ερωτήσεων και απαντήσεων. Στο πάνελ που συντόνισε ο διευθυντής του Greek Film Expo Τζιμι Ντεμίτρο συμμετείχαν η σκηνοθέτης και παραγωγός Τζοάνα Tζειμς (στο μέσο) και η Σεφ Μαρία Λόη. Φωτογραφία: ETA PRESS

ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ. Η ταινία «A Fine Line» προβλήθηκε για πρώτη φορά στη Νέα Υόρκη, το μεσημέρι της Κυριακής στο ετήσιο φεστιβάλ Greek Film Expo, στην αίθουσα Directors Guild Theater και προκάλεσε αίσθηση στο κοινό, που αγκάλιασε την σκηνοθέτρια και δάκρυσε από το θέμα της.

Το κοινό προσήλθε από νωρίς το μεσημέρι της Κυριακής στο θέατρο γιατί μέσα στο πακέτο της προβολής περιλαμβανόταν και δεξίωση τύπου Brunch, με πρωτοβουλία της γνωστής Chef Μαρίας Λόη.

Πράγματι, στην διάρκεια της δεξίωσης το κοινό είχε την ευκαιρία να γνωρίσει από κοντά και να συνομιλήσει με την Ελληνοαμερικανίδα σκηνοθέτρια και παραγωγό Joanna James. Το αντικείμενο της ταινίας είχε να στείλει ενα ισχυρό μήνυμα σε μια εποχή που η σεξουαλική κακοποίηση των γυναικών στους χώρους εργασίας, αποτελεί μεγάλη ανοικτή πληγή στην αμερικανική κοινωνία. Αλλά όχι μόνο αυτό.

Το κοινό όχι μόνο αγκάλιασε την παραγωγό και σκηνοθέτρια της ταινίας αλλά δάκρυσε απο το θέμα της και στήριξε την ιδέα της επιχειρηματικότητας στον χώρο της εστίασης περισσοτέρων γυναικών. Φωτογραφία: ETA PRESS

Το ερέθισμα για την δημιουργό της ταινίας, ήταν το γεγονός ότι ποσοστό λιγότερο απο 7% στο χώρο της εστίασης είναι γυναίκες που εργάζονται είτε ως σεφ είτε ως ιδιοκτήτες εστιατορίων. Ετσι με αφορμή την προσπάθεια της μητέρας της να εδραιώσει τη επιχειρησή της και να σταθεί ως επιτυχημένη επιχειρηματίας η σκηνοθέτρια ξετυλίγει σιγα-σιγα το κουβάρι της ιστορίας. Γίνεται λοιπόν το θέμα της ταινίας ενα δυνατό όπλο για την αντιμετώπιση των γυναικών επι ίσοις όροις σε ενα χώρο που μέχρι πρόσφτα πολύ λίγες γυναίκες κατάφερναν να επιβιώσουν.

Αναμεσά τους και πολλές ακόμα ελληνικής καταγωγής γυναίκες αλλά και σπουδαίες σεφ με ξένη καταγωγή, που διακρίθηκαν και τιμήθηκαν με τα μεγαλύτερα βραβεία του κλάδου. Όπως η Μαρία Λόη και η γνωστή από τον διαγωνισμό Iron Chef Cat Cora, την Lydia Bastianich και την Dominique Crenn.

Η αγωνία και η προσπάθεια της μητέρας της Βαλ, μιας γυναίκας που ακολούθησε αυτό που έκανε ο πατέρας της πριν από αυτή και κατόρθωσε να δημιουργήσει από το μηδέν μια υγιή επιχείρηση στην πόλη Χόλντεν της Μασαχουσέτης και στην συνέχεια να κερδίσει την αναγνώριση μιας μεγάλης οργάνωσης Chef, αποτυπώνονται με ζωντανά χρώματα στην ταινία.

Όπως πολύ ζωντανά αποτυπώνονται και τα συναισθήματα των πιο γνωστών γυναικών Chef να εδραιώσουν την θέση τους σε έναν χώρο που παραδοσιακά υποστηρίζει την προώθηση των ανδρών σε παρόμοιες θέσεις.

Στιγμιότυπο από την δεξίωση τύπου branch που είχαν την ευκαιρία να γευτούν οι φίλοι του κινηματογράφου, πριν απολαύσουν την ταινία A Fine line, της Ελληνοαμερικανίδας Τζοάνας Τζειμς. Την δεξίωση ετοίμασε η Σεφ Μαρία Λόη που εμφανίζεται και στην ταινία, προβάλλοντας τον ρόλο των γυναικών σε μια δύσκολη επαγγελματική κατηγορία. Φωτογραφία: ETA PRESS

Η Joanna κατάφερε να περάσει το μήνυμα και μετά την προβολή απάντησε σε ερωτήσεις του κοινού μαζί με την Μαρία Λόη και με συντονιστη τον διευθυντή της «Χελένικ Φιλμ Σοσάιτι» κ. Τζίμι Ντεμίτρο.

Η Σεφ Μαρία Λόη, εξήγησε στο κοινό πως άλλαξε επαγγελματική κατεύθυνση, ενώ ταυτόχρονα άλλαξε και η φιλοσοφία της για την ζωή. Εστριψε λοιπόν το ενδιαφέρον της στις πραγματικές εστίες χαράς και δημιουργίας και άνοιξε ενα εστιατόριο στη Νέα Υόρκη, προωθώντας παράλληλα (ως πρέσβειρα) την υγιεινή διατροφή όπως αυτή έχει καταγραφεί στην Ελλάδα, διαμέσου των αιώνων, μέσα απο βιβλία και άλλα αναλώσιμα και μη προιόντα που κυκλοφορούν στα σούπερ μάρκετ και στην αγορά.

Η ταινία έχει βραβευτεί με πολλές διακρίσεις από το φεστιβάλ κινηματογράφου της Θεσσαλονίκης και του Provincetown, ενώ ξεχώρισε και στο Women’s Film Festival.

Hellenic Film Society’s New York Greek Film Expo
May 5, 2019

Greek cinema aficionados have an opportunity to indulge this weekend. The Hellenic Film Society’s New York Greek Film Expo begins in Manhattan, running from May 3-5, and moves the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and the Manhasset Theater in Nassau County through May 11. No need to worry, Greek language films are shown with English subtitles.

The Expo’s lineup of 9 award-winning and critically acclaimed feature films, documentaries and shorts were chosen to resonate with audiences of all nationalities, Jimmy DeMetro, a founder of HFSUS told the GN, at the beginning of the following interview. “We anticipate high demand for all screenings and encourage you to buy tickets soon so no one is disappointed… There is much to see. We are looking forward to a successful New York Greek Film Expo. This is our second year.”

GN: Do this year’s films follow along any themes?

JD: Greek cinema continues to turn out stories about human beings with recognizable worries and ambitions. If I recall correctly, there isn’t a single computer to be seen in any of this year’s films. That’s kind of refreshing, isn’t it?

Topical offerings reflect the Greek and Greek-American experience with films that capture the current political and social transitions in Greece, the life stories of 20th century cultural giants, and a documentary that explores women’s issues.

One of our films that explores women’s issues is HER JOB, a big winner at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards just a few days ago. It won the Best New Director award for Nikos Labot and the Best Actress award for Marisha Triantafyllidou. Maria Filigi was named Best Supporting Actress. That’s a pretty impressive achievement. It is a wonderful and timely film about an underappreciated housewife who is forced to take her first job to help support the family. Even though what she does is menial labor, it affords her a sense of self-esteem and personal empowerment.

HOLY BOOM—the film with the strangest title—is a thoroughly engrossing drama that focuses on a multi-cultural neighborhood in Athens, showing how the lives of several area residents are affected by a senseless act of teenage vandalism during Holy Week.

GN: Do any of this year’s films take new directions?

JD: Greek filmmakers are trying their hands at new genres. Evidence of that trend is REFUGE II, directed by Christos Nikoleris. This ‘terror in the woods’ film packs quite a few jolts and surprises.

GN: I’ve always looked for a Hollywood epic about the Greek War for Independence. I see there is a film, and you’re showing it, CLIFFS OF FREEDOM.

JD: CLIFFS OF FREEDOM, a love story set against the backdrop of the Greek War of Independence, has wide appeal. Many people want to see that film. It is a Hollywood-style production that takes place at the start of the Greek War for Independence in 1821. That’s a period that hasn’t been extensively explored by Greek filmmakers and certainly not by Hollywood. At the center of it all is the sublime veteran actress Nena Menti who plays a nosey neighbor who brings together the various story lines. The director, Maria Lafi, makes a most impressive directorial debut with this film, definitely worth seeing.

GN: I have liked many Greek documentaries, at which I think Greek filmmakers excel. Will I see any this time around?

JD: We are featuring three wonderful documentaries. LAST SONG TO XENITIA, directed by Athena Scotes, is a touching account of a remarkable 103-year-old woman’s return to her village in Epirus. We have Tom Volf’s stunning MARIA BY CALLAS, about the great Greek American diva. And A FINE LINE is director Joanna James’s tribute to her mother Valerie, who beat the odds and became a successful restaurateur. Maria Loi is one of the celebrity chefs featured in the film, and she will be hosting a tasting reception prior to the screening.

GN: We’re also getting a chance to see something I missed at the Tribeca Film Festival, SMUGGLING HENDRIX.

JD: Yes, in response to public demand, we are presenting Mario Piperides’s Tribeca winner SMUGGLING HENDRIX, and KAZANTZAKIS, directed by Yannis Smaragdis.

GN: Was it easier or more difficult to get films together this year?

JD: The Hellenic Film Society USA which sponsors the Expo is a new organization, but I have been organizing this kind of event for many years as have most of my colleagues. We try hard to book the best films available to us and always keep in mind the importance of balancing our offerings. It’s good to have films that appeal to a broad range of tastes. I think we’ve done just that this year, and signs point to strong public response, something I am most grateful for.

GN: Of course, getting films is only part of the effort. What else are you encountering?

JD: It’s important in this kind of undertaking to focus on the positive and work on bringing in people to

see the films. However, it is foolish to ignore the signs of trouble ahead. This year, more than in any other previous year, I became painfully aware of the escalating costs of presenting a film festival in New York. Theater rentals have skyrocketed. Insurance, security, screening fees, advertising– everything has gone up. This worries me because there is a logical limit to what we can demand from our audiences. The Hellenic Film Society does festivals in other cities as well, and I can tell you that the costs in New York are just about triple what they are elsewhere. It’s hard to ignore this harsh reality.

GN: Did any film speak to you especially?

JD: People always ask which is my favorite film. That’s a question I really can’t answer. If a film is in the Expo, I like it, otherwise we wouldn’t be showing it!

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society USA. The New York.

Greek Film Expo is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA. Additional support is provided by the Kallinikeion Foundation.

Olympia Dukakis Appears At MMI Screening Of Her Bio
April 03, 2019

Olympia Dukakis speaking to the audience at the Museum of the Moving Image after her biographical documentary, “Olympia,” was screened. She was interviewed onstage by Professor Foster Hirsch, a noted film expert and author.

The Hellenic Film Society USA presented a screening of “Olympia,” a new documentary about Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria on Sunday, March 31st. Following the screening on the last day of Women’s History Month, Ms. Dukakis was interviewed by Foster Hirsch, film historian and film professor at Brooklyn College.

Olympia follows the life and career of Oscar-winning actor Olympia Dukakis as she navigates her world and goes on a journey to her ancestral home in Greece. Exhibiting both candor and vulnerability, this revealing documentary shows how she overcame obstacles as the daughter of immigrants and as a woman in a male-dominated society. The film includes appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, Laura Linney, Lainie Kazan, Austin Pendleton, and Michael Dukakis. CBS News calls Olympia “a thoroughly captivating film, befitting its arresting star.” The film is in English.

“The Hellenic Film Society was proud to celebrate Women’s History Month with Olympia Dukakis, a distinguished Greek American actor who has left an indelible mark on cinema,” said Jimmy DeMetro, founder and director of the Hellenic Film Society USA. “Audiences will be moved by this compelling, candid new documentary that vividly captures Olympia’s heroic lifelong struggle to find a sense of belonging.”

Olympia was screened as part of the Museum of the Moving Image’s Always on Sunday film series, featuring monthly Sunday afternoon screenings of Greek films. The museum, at 36-01 35th Avenue in Astoria, is conveniently located near public transportation. To purchase tickets, visit www.hellenicfilmusa.org and use discount code SUNDAY20.

Executive producer of the film, Anthoula Katsimatides, said she was “so honored and humbled to be an executive producer of the incredible new documentary, ‘Olympia,’ which profiles the life and career of one of America’s most well-known actors, Olympia Dukakis, who has also been an inspiring mentor in my life. This film is a deeply moving narrative which explores not only Olympia’s rich and storied career, but her struggle to never allow herself to be defined by the expectations of others. YES! A true project of passion, Olympia has been a labor of love for all involved.”

The theater was sold out for the March 31st screening and personal appearance, and the packed house all stood up at the conclusion of the interview, warmly cheering for Ms. Dukakis.

Newly Created Hellenic Film Society USA Announces Premiere of Greek Film Expo April 27-May 3, 2018

New York, NY- April 2, 2018 — The Hellenic Film Society USA is pleased to announce its first ever Greek Film Expo, a showcase for six outstanding Greek comedies and dramas, to be held April 27-May 3 in the New York metropolitan area. Screenings will be held at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and the Bow Tie Manhasset Theater in Nassau County. The Hellenic Film Society will host an opening reception on Friday, April 27 immediately following the debut of Jamaica. Actors Spiros Papadopoulos and Nikoleta Kotsailidou and directors Vasilis Christofilakis and Dora Masklavanou are expected to attend the reception to be held at Ousia, 629 West 57th Street, NY, NY. Tickets are required.

Jamaica, directed by Andreas Morfonios, is a bittersweet comedy which tells the story of two estranged brothers at very different places in their lives. Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos, who also hosts the popular TV musical revue, Stin Ygeia Mas Re Paidia, are expected to attend all screenings. The award-winning drama Polyxeni, directed by Dora Masklavanou, was nominated for 11 Hellenic Film Academy Awards including Best Picture. It tells the story of a young woman attempting to gain independence in a traditional society. The director is expected to attend the Manhattan and Astoria screenings of her film.

Blue Queen, directed by Alex Sipsidis, is a mystery that unfolds from four different points of view with intriguing plot twists that keep the audience guessing till the end. The clever comedy Too Much Info Clouding Over My Head, directed by Vasilis Christofilakis, focuses on a hapless film director whose career is sidetracked when he is forced to raise money to film a screenplay he detests. The director is expected to attend the screenings of his film.

Swing Away, directed by Michael Achilles Nickles, is the story of a discouraged golf pro who gets her groove back by reconnecting with her Greek roots. Worlds Apart, directed by Christopher Papakaliatis is a major box office hit in Greece. Starring J.K. Simmons and Papakaliatis, it follows the dramatic unfolding relationships of three couples at a time of economic turmoil.

The Hellenic Film Society USA

The Hellenic Film Society USA is a non-profit organization created to promote Greek cinema in America. Its mission is to share the richness of Greek films with a wider American audience, to promote Greek filmmakers, and to preserve the film heritage of Greece.

The organization, founded by Jimmy DeMetro and the team that presented the New York City Greek Film Festival for 11 years, was established to expand the reach of Greek film beyond a single annual festival. In addition to presenting screenings of new and classic Greek films throughout the year in cities across the US, the organization is embarking on programs to support aspiring filmmakers of Greek descent; foster relationships between Greek filmmakers and US investors and distributors; and restore and preserve Greek film classics.

“We are passionate about our mission to present and support high-quality, well-crafted films and we’re looking forward to presenting our loyal audiences with engaging films at the Greek Film Expo,” says president Jimmy DeMetro. “Film has a very a special way of revealing culture, so we don’t just project Greek films, we project Greece. What we do brings Greece closer to all of us.”

The Hellenic Film Society USA, a 501(c)(3) organization, receives funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Nikos and Carol Mouyiaris, in memory of their son Alexis Mouyiaris. The Greek Film Expo in New York is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA.

For further information, to purchase tickets to the Greek Film Expo and Opening Reception or for information on how to become a Hellenic Film Society USA sponsor, please visit hellenicfilmusa.org or email info@hellenicfilmusa.org or call 718-531-5074.

2018 Greek Film Expo Schedule

Screenings will be held at the following theaters:

Directors Guild Theater, 110 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106
Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema, 430 Plandome Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030

Friday, April 27—Directors Guild Theater

7pm Jamaica* (Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos are expected to attend the screening)
9:15pm Blue Queen

*Immediately following the premiere of Jamaica, the Hellenic Film Society will host an Opening Reception at Ousia, 629 West 57th Street – tickets are required

Saturday, April 28—Directors Guild Theater

7pm Polyxeni (Director Dora Masklavanou is expected to attend the screening)
9:15pm Too Much Info Clouding Over My Head (Director Vasilis Christofilakis is expected to attend the screening)

Sunday, April 29—Museum of the Moving Image

1:30pm Polyxeni (Director Dora Masklavanou is expected to attend the screening)
4pm Jamaica (Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos are expected to attend the screening)
7pm Blue Queen

Tuesday, May 1—Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Too Much Info Clouding Over My Head (Director Vasilis Christofilakis is expected to attend the screening)
9:15pm Jamaica (Actors Nikoleta Kotsailidou and Spiros Papadopoulos are expected to attend the screening)

Wednesday, May 2—Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Swing Away
9:15pm Worlds Apart

Thursday, May 3—Bow Tie Manhasset Cinema

7pm Blue Queen
9:15pm Polyxeni>

For further information or to purchase tickets, please visit hellenicfilmusa.org or call 718-531-5074.

Projecting Greece, Something New in New York for Greek Movies
February 25th, 2018

New York.- By Vicki James Yiannias

Greece is in social, political, and economic crisis that appears not to be diminishing, with a public image that has suffered, with no prospects for the young, but on an artistic level, Greece continues to produce.With an exhibition of emerging and established artists at the New Museum and coming up at Fordham University, and grants going to Greeks actors, Greek creativity is drawing attention. Jimmy DeMetro, founding president of a new organization, the Hellenic Film Society USA (HFSUSA), talks to the GN about the organization’s plan to increase Greek film production and to maximize attention to Greek films in the US.

“I always say we don’t just project Greek films. We project Greece,” DeMetro said in the interview, “Film has a very a special way of revealing culture. What we do brings Greece closer to all of us. Our mission is not only to entertain but to educate, preserve the Greek language.”

INTERVIEW

GN: What is HFSUSA all about?

JD: HFS is an independent organization totally and exclusively devoted to promoting Greek cinema. No distractions. No other allegiances. What we are doing has never been done before. Time will tell if we will succeed, but it’s certainly worth trying.

Our mission is both exciting and ambitious. We want to present screenings of Greek films throughout the year not only in New York but also in cities across the US where people don’t have access to Greek films. We want to encourage investment in Greek films and work closely with distributors to get the films shown in the US. We want to serve as a Greek film resource center to academia and non-Greek festivals across the country. And, very importantly, we want to launch a program that will work to restore classic films and do our part in helping save the film culture of Greece.

GN: Can you give an idea of what to expect for HFSs inaugural program, planned to take place in April?

JD: It’s a little too early to go into specifics and give you details about the actual program, but we want to present an event that will introduce us to New Yorkers, let them know we’re here, alive and kicking. The selections have not been made, but we will be showing important new films and inviting guests from Greece to join us for the screenings.

As with any beginning, there’s a lot of excitement. We have worked the festival scene for many years, and we see this as an opportunity to recharge our batteries, so to speak.

GN: What inspired the creation of this new organization?

JD: I am the founding director of the New York City Greek Film Festival and am very proud of my eleven years of volunteer work there. My colleagues and I felt that it was time we expanded our reach beyond a single annual event, and that is precisely what motivated us to establish the Hellenic Film Society USA (HFSUSA).

GN: An all-consuming project, certainly.

JD: I told you this is an ambitious mission. We are not going to be able to do all this in year one. Much depends on how successful we are going to be in raising money and inspiring others to support our goals. But our passion, enthusiasm and commitment are quite strong, and these qualities usually go a long, long way.”

GN: Do you consider the HFSUSA to be an innovation, or a reinterpretation of the NYCGFF—building around some things that have been established?

JD: HFS is a multi-faceted project. It is not only going to be about holding a film festival.

GN: As I understand, there are five phases to HFSUS: screenings of Greek films here and around the country, investment in the making of Greek films, achieving US distribution of Greek films, archival presentation of Greek films, and the restoration and archiving of classic Greek films. What do you estimate is the amount of financial support required to set these goals in motion the first year?

JD: About $180,000 per year. First year will be less since we will not be in full mode until 2019.

GN: Is HFS slated to enter non-profit status?

JD: We anxiously await word from the IRS any day now. We filed slightly over 6 months ago, so we should hear any day now.

GN: Will New York City be HFS’s base of operations?

JD: We are operating from NYC. The plan is to connect with organizations across the country and work with them to present film festivals.

GN: Are there plans to establish an HFS office here?

JD: We work out of our homes, so there isn’t even any office rent to pay. We keep our overhead at an absolute minimum. Everyone who works for the Hellenic Film Society is a volunteer. Only hired vendors get paid. This means that every dollar of every contribution goes directly to fulfilling our mission.

GN: What is your overarching opinion on the Greek film industry after your extended involvement with Greek film production?

JD: This is an exciting time for Greek cinema. Over the past years there has been a reawakening of the Greek film industry, and world audiences are taking notice. It’s incredible that this is happening at a time of crippling economic realities, but it is happening. In the last ten years, nine Greek films have been sold for US distribution.

GN: How does that compare with distribution of other foreign films?

JD: That is more than the Italian or Spanish film industry can claim.Actually,only the French have done better than that. It is true that there has not been a big break-through film for the reborn Greek film industry yet…something like Never On Sunday… back in the 1960s. But it’s going to happen. Maybe the film has yet to be made; perhaps it’s already in the can. Whatever the case, we want to be here when that happens.

GN: HFS aims to encourage Greek film production; will thought be given to influencing the films in relation to their international marketability, aesthetic value, etc.?

JD: No influence at all. We want to set up some kind of procedure where Greek film makers can present their proposals for new films to potential investors in the USA. This is not about control of artistic material. Investors would have to judge the marketability of an individual project on their own.

GN: What other individuals are part of HFSUSA?

JD: In addition to myself, the founders of HFSUSA are George Balafoutis, Vice President (Athens), Vickie Rekoutis, Vice President, Maria Psomiades, Secretary, Eva Mallis, Treasurer. All are long-time veterans of the New York City Greek Film Festival. All serve as volunteers. The actual board is not yet fully established.

GN: Is there anything else you would like to get out to our readers?

JD: Raising money is the hardest part of our job, but it is among the most important. I trust people will respond to our mission and give what they can. In a very direct way, this society belongs to our community. I always say we don’t just project Greek films. We project Greece.