Evi Kalogiropoulou and Amanda Livanou • Director and producer of Cora
“It’s a feminist-orientated project tackling gender issues”
- We chatted to the winners of the Eurimages Co-production Development Award at IFFR's CineMart Co-production Market to talk through their new project
We had the opportunity to chat with writer-director Evi Kalogiropoulou and producer at Neda Film Amanda Livanou to talk through their new project, Cora, the recipient of the Eurimages Co-production Development Award at this year’s CineMart Co-production Market (part of International Film Festival Rotterdam), worth €20,000 (see the news).
Cineuropa: What is Cora about? When did you start working on it?
Evi Kalogiropoulou: Cora is the story of two girls, Eleni and Maria, who become closer and develop a romance. As soon as that happens, some weird things start going on in their town, Aspropyrgos. People get suspicious and start believing that one of them is a witch. Besides this, an odd symptom seems to take hold of the male townsfolk, one by one, whereby they lose control of their bodies and have strange reactions. In an attempt to cleanse the town of the evil that is plaguing it, the two women are hunted and separated. So they decide to grab their guns. The one who’s left behind must find the source of the bizarre power reigning over everyone as well as the source of her own. I’d say it’s a feminist-orientated project tackling gender issues. I started working on it after finishing my short film Motorway 65. I began writing the first draft last February.
How are you planning to use the Eurimages award?
EK: I’m writing a second draft now, so part of the funds will be invested in the development of this new draft and translation costs. The rest will go towards script doctors and will cover the travel costs to do some location scouting.
Amanda Livanou: It’s meant to be a European co-production involving three different countries. Ideally, we’d travel and visit markets... I would still love to meet some people before we start working on it, at least with the heads of the departments and our co-producers.
How would you evaluate your participation in the CineMart Co-production market?
EK: CineMart was my first market. I felt happy because my project was selected. At the same time, since it was my very first experience, I would have loved to have met people in person. Other than that, I’m hugely grateful. I thought I’d be stressed, but the experience was fine, overall. I didn’t know anybody, but people were very friendly and kind, and provided expert feedback.
AL: I’ve done CineMart a few times before, both as a participant and as a visitor. I was very worried, as this was my first virtual market. It’s by no means ideal, since the physical editions of CineMart are so well organised and also quite fun! But I have to say that even though it was stressful for me, they still managed to organise it wonderfully. I suppose it was helpful to have a well-oiled project – from the beginning, we received many meeting requests and people seemed very interested. Even the awards ceremony was well done – and the CineMart ladies are wonderful, so please thank them!
What kinds of challenges did the current health crisis pose for the project?
EL: The feeling of being stuck. As an artist, it’s intolerable, even though it obviously applies to everyone in the world right now. Many say that this is a great opportunity to write, but I frankly don’t think so.
AL: Talking about production difficulties, funding in Greece is a real challenge, and our local financing levels are rather low – that makes it very hard to co-produce with bigger countries. The backing provided by our film centre is up to €180,000 for an international co-production, whereas in other “small countries” – not in France – it can reach €300,000. I’ve worked with Eurimages a couple of times, and it’s great, but for us, funding remains a major struggle. COVID-19 is slowing things down and postponing work. Nonetheless, I’m rather optimistic. I think this project is still feasible, and I can say that after seeing the positive response it got at CineMart.
Do you have any idea when the project might be ready for release? Are you applying for further funding opportunities?
AL: The release is forecast for 2023. If all goes well, we’ll enter into production in 2022 – hopefully in the spring, otherwise in the autumn. So this year will be crucial to continue working on the script. We’re developing the project with the support of the Onassis Foundation – Evi and I met thanks to Afroditi Panagiotakou, the organisation’s head of culture, who is our common friend. Talking about our potential partners, the industrial area where Evi shot Motorway 65, Elefsina, will be the 2023 European Capital of Culture. The municipality supported the short, and we’re in discussions for this new project as we speak. We’ve also applied for the funding provided by ERT, the Greek Film Centre and the Greek branch of Germany’s Rosa Luxemburg Fund. The former also supported her short, as they are interested in projects tackling social issues, LGBT rights and feminism. Over the course of the year, we would also like to apply for French funds, such as the CNC’s Aide aux cinémas du monde.
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