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BERLINALE 2020 Panorama

Georgis Grigorakis • Director of Digger

“Like the protagonists, we embarked upon an external as well as an inner journey”


- BERLINALE 2020: We talked to Georgis Grigorakis, the director of Digger, which premiered in the Panorama section

Georgis Grigorakis • Director of Digger

We sat down for a chat with Greek director Georgis Grigorakis following the premiere of his father-son drama Digger [+see also:
film review
interview: Georgis Grigorakis
film profile
in the Panorama section of this year's Berlinale. Its impressive shots of nature and convincing cast, especially the two protagonists, played by Vangelis Mourikis and Argyris Pandazaras, make the film an interesting project that is well worth seeing.

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Cineuropa: Can you tell us more about the area where the movie was shot?
Georgis Grigorakis: We shot in Northern Greece, where there are forests that you can't find in the rest of the country. Moreover, this region has all four seasons. It was very important to be able to depict changes in the environment in order to underline the development that happens within the characters. I chose to shoot there also for simple aesthetic reasons.

What was your inspiration for the father-son relationship?
Every one of us put something personal into it. I wanted to have a confrontation between two characters that are both in a dead-end situation but that are forced to deal with each other and eventually help one another to find a new perspective. The film is an exploration of this relationship; I hope it functions as a mirror for the viewer, who will most certainly recognise themselves in it. For me, working on this fictional relationship between a father and son led to me accepting my own relationship with my father, so you could also call it therapy, in a way.

Was it difficult to find the actors for the different roles?
Most of them are well known in Greek theatre or cinema circles. Argyris Pandazaras, for example, who plays the son, and I have known each other for years. In my opinion, he is one of the best actors in Greece. Digger was his first time acting in a major role. He was also perfect for the role because he does extreme sports such as motocross and was therefore already familiar with our requirements.

What were the biggest challenges of the shoot?
We had to deal with different and difficult weather conditions. There were storms and floods that sometimes made it dangerous for us to move around. We had to pay attention to the soil and be aware of the possibility that it could shift. Sometimes, we needed to climb around things and adapt to our surroundings. We had to have endurance during the long shoots in the house, which sometimes lasted 15 hours in a row. There was no electricity, and it was quite a tiny place.

Besides this, we also struggled because we only had a small budget for the movie. I would say that we made a “guerrilla film” with a very small crew. The feature therefore pushed us to our limits in a very physical, but also an emotional, way. Like the protagonists, we embarked upon an external as well as an inner journey that, for me, eventually led to an interesting experience and gave me a more comprehensive way of looking at people and their feelings.

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