I believe that all of these films on the staging process have achieved a high level of quality and originality.
I am very happy to have made them. They are genuine observational documentaries, they are thorough and deep and they constitute invaluable documentary evidence.
They document the staging process creatively and in depth, through an extensive body of footage.
The work of documenting the staging of a play over time, requires one to be familiar with the theatre process and the world of the theatre, to be invisible and noiseless during filming, to have good instinct in order make choices and focus on action that might seem unremarkable at first.
Apart from rehearsal episodes, the progress of the plot has to be depicted as well, in order for the audience, who have not seen the performance, to be able to follow the film’s action. The filmmaker is also 'asked', within the climate that has been created, to be discreetly involved, by means of quick questions, being aware that, until the dress rehersal he is the cast's only 'mirror'.
The only witness in a sensitive procedure.
Once filming is over, one has to process a sizable volume of footage, that surpasses 250 hours in total, for both cameras. It is a procedure that is carried out by Apostolia, who transcribes every shot and action.
Subsequently, after I have studied the transcripts, I watch the footage and start editing.
Myrto, who edited most of the films, as well as Dora, who edited “Golfo”, did a great job.
When the editing is over, the next stage is sound mix and color grading.
Since filming in these circumstances does not allow for a regular set-up, there is very limited potential for lighting and sound, so that that the rehearsals are not disturbed. We have to record everything, often in adverse situations, with limited or minimum lighting and sometimes questionable sound.
All in all, the filming, and the subsequent footage transcription, editing, sound mixing and color grading might take as long a 9 months or even a year of intensive work.
Therefore, each one of these films involved an immeasurable amount of work.
At the same time, I do not feel that the films have been appreciated as much as they deserve.
Certainly, people who have seen them, both experts and regular audience, have been very pleased and sometimes enthusiastic about them.
However, when they are screened at Festivals next to documentaries, which focus on crucial current issues (such as immigration, human rights, etc) or high-profile subjects (portraits, historical documentaries), they sadly take backstage.
Even the producers or the people who have contributed to them, did not treat them with the attention, I would have expected.
The same goes also for journalists. Whenever they need a film to present on their site or newspaper, they would rather go for more catchy topics.
Therefore, based not only on my opinion of them, but also the general feeling of everybody that has seen them, I believe that those films on the theatre process did not receive the recognition they deserved.
Nonetheless, I am confident that they are valuable evidence and with time their value will become increasingly greater.
I have no doubt that in a few years, scholars, universities, television stations as well as the people featured in them, will be looking for these films.
Given how difficult ventures likes these films are, and in an age of extremes, where everything is relentlessly devalued, I would like to commend the relevant organizations on their initiative to back these films on the theatre process.
The Athens Festival, under Yorgos Loukos, had the sensitivity to support, even with the restricted funds that were possible at the time, the film about “Golfo at Epidaurus”.
But I would like to commend even more the initiative of the Onassis Cultural Centre to commission these four films about their respective productions.
By and large, the collaboration with the OCC was an oasis of civility and artistic sensitivity and it has been one of the best experiences in my professional life.
One should not forget that these films are a great documentation of the Greek theatre and that
they will be screening for many years to come.