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Xenia in funding limbo, says director Panos H Koutras


- The director of A Woman’s Way appeals for help as his new film, Xenia, floats in a funding vacuum

Xenia in funding limbo, says director Panos H Koutras
Panos H Koutras directs the cast of Xenia

“We have reached all margins of patience and endurance, and have depleted all forms of attempt to communicate and consult with appointed representatives,” states Panos H Koutras in an open letter, co-signed by producer Eleni Kossyfidou and sent out to press and state shareholders on Monday, in an attempt to draw attention to their almost-finished feature film, Xenia.

Co-produced by Greece, France and Belgium, Koutra’s follow-up to the Berlinale-screened A Woman’s Way [+see also:
film profile
had secured public European funding by MEDIA and EURIMAGES, after gaining local state support via both the Greek Film Center and national broadcasting service ERT SA.

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Yet the Greek government’s decision to abruptly dismantle ERT SA overnight last June, as part of the state’s economic reform attempts, directly resulted in Koutras’ funding being put on hold, as the broadcaster’s financial dues were transferred to the Ministry of Finance.

Though government spokesperson Giorgos Bramos had expressed the state’s commitment to follow through on all of ERT’s film-funding obligations in the Hellenic Film Academy-organised Riding the Greek Wave conference last September, thus assuaging EURIMAGES head Roberto Olla’s noted concerns, “the state now turns a deaf ear […] resulting in adverse and unpredictable claims by our financiers”, the joint statement goes on.

“Funding by EURIMAGES is now at stake, cash flow by French banking entity Cofiloisirs has been blocked, post-production is at a standstill, international film-festival deadlines are sweeping by, and employees are preparing legal action against the production,” the letter concludes.

Xenia is just one of the four productions that have faced similar problems, while the Film Directors-Producers Guild of Greece is holding a press conference dubbed Creators Under Threat on this very issue on Tuesday.

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