Yorgos Nousias • Evil
"Horror film is a playground and a school"
by Sakis Kontos
Yorgos Nousias has made a splash in Greek film circles this season with the horror movie Evil (To Kako). His action-packed picture is considered Greece’s first ever serious attempt in an unlikely genre for the local film industry. It has made successful appearances at the Athens and Thessaloniki festivals last autumn and in the US this spring but, according to the 29 year-old director, the highlight of the film’s career so far is its inclusion in the "Variety Critics’ Choice: Europe Now!" section of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (June 30–July 8).
Cineuropa: Evil is probably Greece's first genuine effort in a horror film, with lots of difficult effects. What made you venture into a territory that no other Greek had ever dared to do before?
Yorgos Nousias: We liked the idea. Why not make a film that you would like to watch if it were someone else’s? We are fans of horror, adventure, sci fi, fantasy, and Evil was a nice starting point [for us so that] maybe, one day, we would be able to make our own Frighteners or Back to the future or Enemy of the State. After all a horror film is an excellent playground and school at the same time. You try to make all these things work with so little money, and it’s fun!
Do you prefer working on your own ideas? Do you think it is important that a director should also be the writer and, sometimes, even the producer?
I do not prefer working on my own ideas. Our next film is being written by another writer. Evil was an experiment. A Greek genre film does not attract the masses, so you have to work alone more or less, although Evil is a collaborative effort between Petros Noussias, Claudio Bolivar and myself. I hope though that now, with Evil’s success it will be easier to find money and we will be able to pay producers, etc.
So, you have another project coming up soon.
Yes, an adventure horror, set in WWII!
There is lots of talk and debates about European cinema structures lately. What is your opinion on this? Do you actually buy the idea of state subsidies for areas where private enterprise is not willing to invest in film?
I believe that European cinema is going through a slump, and private enterprise is seeing that, especially since European cinema is traditionally more arthouse. Nevertheless, I believe that if the films are good, money will come. After all, in the heyday of European cinema producers found money more easily. I understand that nowadays the competition is fierce. It’s not about the art, but about the business, and that’s where state subsidies come in. The problem though with this – at least with the Greek system, which I know more about – is that the state is not a competitive producer. If it does not get its money back, no harm done, which does not help the quality of the films. Of course, Greek state subsidies consist 80% of a film’s budget, so it is not a proper example. From what I’ve read, the French system is a bit better, although they too seem to have troubles with the smaller, less commercial films. Anyway, the money for European films seems to come from a thousand sources, so, if the state wants to invest, let it.
How would you change things with regard to the above?
I haven’t the slightest idea. Make better films seems to be the most viable answer.
What do you know about the Karlovy Vary festival?
I know that it is one of the biggest festivals in the world, and actually I was overwhelmed when I learned that our small genre film would participate. So, definitely, I will be there!
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