• Documentary Series for ERT / Mathimata - Pathimata

    This is definitely one of the most difficult, yet successful works I have made for television.
    That series, going by the title “Mathimata – Pathimata” (i.e. Hard Lessons), is one of the finest moments in Greek television and the history of ERT and was produced during Kostas Spyropoulos’ tenure as General Manager.
    It was an attempt to record and delve deeply into the issue of education in Greece, spanning all grades. From preschool to the university.
    The series had multiple directors.

    It is no coincidence that the project was the idea of three women. They were producers-directors and worked with an entirely different mindset than what was the norm.
    Marianna Oikonomou, Valerie Kontakos and Amalia Zepou joined forces, each one undertaking supervision over four episodes, and that lead to a series that was nothing short of a jewel.

  • Documentary Series for ERT / Landscapes of silence

    The series revisits the principal locations of iconic Greek films. Guided by the respective filmmakers themselves, we attempt a reconstruction of each film. In essence to Make the film's portrait.
    I made two episodes for that series and I chose two films that are closer to my heart, made by two directors I respect and love dearly. I consider the series “Landscapes of Silence”, as a whole, to be a documentation of great value.
  • Documentary Series for ERT / 12 women monologues

    This series was once again based on a concept, I had put forward to Periplous.

    The idea was to draw light upon the leading actresses of the theatre and the cinema, who neither belonged in the generation of the older and lifelong distinguished actresses, nor in the generation of the very young ones.
    They would have to have had a considerable career and left a clear mark, but, at the same time, to have the future before them.

    With some of them we were already well acquainted.
    With Anna Mascha, we had worked together in “Alemaya”.
    With Stefania Goulioti we were going to work the following year in “Joy”.
    With Ioanna Pappa, we also knew each other relatively well, as we had worked together for the “Paraskinio” on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, two years earlier.
    With Marissa Triantafillidou, we had already met, and we were going to meet again in the filming of the documentary about The Cherry Orchard, in which she was Nikos Karathanos’ assistant.

    All of them were very interesting. Maria Nafpliotou was very open, despite her rather reserved image.
    And Maria Protopappa was just superb.

  • Documentary Series for ERT / Shadows and Light

    I borrowed the inspiration for this program from an equivalent European production, which had been shown on ERT in the early 1990s and went by the title “Visions of Light”.
    The series was a compilation of portraits of great cinematographers, such as Sven Nykvist, Giuseppe Rotunno and Vittorio Storaro. Never in the history of Greek television had anything like that been made about domestic cinematographers.

    The idea became fixed in my head, while we were working on the film about Walter Lassally.
    As soon as we got back from Crete, in June 2004, not having any other engagements, I immediately moved on with the production details and began to shoot.
    The idea was a series about 13 Greek cinematographers. I had completed most of the required shooting; namely about portraits of Nikos Gardelis, Ilias Konstantakopoulos, Katerina Maragoudaki, Tasos Alexakis, Giorgos Argyroiliopoulos, Lefteris Pavlopoulos, Simos Sarketzis, and I was also planning to film Stavros Hasapis, Yiannis Daskalothanasis and others.

    I believed that ERT were sure to be interested in that kind of program and I proceeded before getting approval.
    The completion of the series was put through the mill. For over five years I had been trying in vain to give it to ERT.
    Only when ERT Digital opened, was the approval finally signed.
    As part of the European funding program “Information Society”, the newly-founded digital broadcaster, subsidiary of ERT, authorized the production of numerous documentaries, and that was how the program ultimately came to being.

    But they asked for the series to be about the more experienced and accomplished cinematographers, and sadly I had to leave out all the rest.
    This is how the six-episode series came about.
    I finished filming, we did the editing and by the summer of 2009, the series was ready.

    As overlong and traumatic as having it approved might have been, the moment the series aired, it was a sensation.
    There were countless reruns and it was very successful.
    The subject was largely unknown and to a great degree, the series was an eye-opener.
    That is why it was repeated so many times.

    On my part, I believe it was a due honor to the unseen heroes of Greek cinema.
    And they, apart from their careers, discussed the art of photography, as a whole, and the secrets of cinema.
    Additionally, some fine archival material was included, in certain cases very rare, of films, behind the scenes footage, vintage TV programs, etc.

    I believe that, apart from being a valuable record in itself, the program maintained a high level of quality, but it certainly could have been even better.
    The causes were...psychology related.
    On one hand, cinematographers are accustomed of sitting behind and not in front of the camera. In consequence, they would not offer me more shooting time, since they were very self-conscious and thought there were no more areas for us to explore.
    They were literally camera-shy!
    On the other hand, I was so awe-struck, I did not want to press them, like I would today, in order to be given more time and delve deeper into the subject.

    In any case, I think it is a worthy series, which features the history of Greek cinema in a different light.

  • Documentary Series for ERT / New insights into the Greek Cinema

    It was the time the ‘Omichli’, an unofficial union of filmmakers, who wanted to change the status quo in Greek cinema and the State Awards, had just emerged.
    That was when several new filmmakers came to prominence, the foremost of whom was Yorgos Lanthimos.
    And that was when the term ‘The current flow’ or ‘Greek Weird Wave’ was coined”

    So, I had the idea of proposing to Periplous (the production house of Stelios Haralambopoulos and Thanos Lambropoulos) that we captured that process in the form of a documentary series comprised of portraits of young filmmakers, who had expressed that new style.
    Consequently, the project has an aspect of capturing very interesting narratives.

    I made four of the episodes, each of which features two young filmmakers.
    It was my great pleasure to film Alexandros Voulgaris (aka The Boy, a very good friend who has offered many times considerable help in my pictures (in “Makronisos” and in “Joy”) and whom I regard as a really great artist.
    In my book, he is the most outstanding filmmaker among those who have surfaced from 2005 onwards.
    And, of course , another episode features his sister, Κonstantina Voulgari, who is one of the most unique instances in Greek cinema.

    I had first met them both, in 1993, when I was assistant to their father, Pantelis Voulgaris. Κonstantina was 13 and Alexandros 12.
    And it was very amusing for me to be making documentary portraits about them all those years later.

    That was when I first met Yannis Economidis, who was going to help, by playing a very memorable part in “Joy”, a year later.