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Gregory Athanasiou

Producer on the move 2007 - Grecia

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Gregory Athanasiou

Gregory Athanasiou produced Costas Zapas’ feature films Uncut Family and The Last Porn Movie, both of which explore the microcosms of an ordinary family. In the latter, a former porn star in deep financial trouble agrees to let his daughter perform in the porn film he is producing. Uncut Family tells the story of an adolescent boy whose life changes when his relationship with his mother and father is exposed.

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Cineuropa : What is your background and how did you decide to become a producer?
Gregory Athanasiou: From physics to philosophy and then, inevitably, to the arts, and from productions for the Berliner Volksbuehne and the Berlin State Opera, inevitably to cinema, which combines all the arts, and then to film production. The rise of the new digital production era was a great help: it lowers budgets, increases creativity and globalizes communication and distribution platforms!

You have produced two films by Costas Zapas. Both films explore the microcosm of an ordinary family. Was this a simple choice or a risk? What were your reasons for producing these films?
In her essay The Decay of Cinema, Susan Sontag writes that “Cinema began in wonder, the wonder that reality can be transcribed with such immediacy. All cinema is an attempt to perpetuate and reinvent that sense of wonder”. And this is a device that I deeply believe in. So, while looking for cutting edge projects with a unique and fresh film aesthetic, that can describe reality with an extreme immediacy, projects that can survive their era, I met Costas Zapas and his “family trilogy project”. Family is still the “elementary particle” of our societies and exploring the microcosm of the family universe, especially in its more hidden and repressive aspects, we re-discover our reality, and this makes us wonder!

How did you put together the financing for the films?
I created Minus Pictures with a willingness to move forward step by step in order to realise my vision of a modern filmmaker and arthouse cinema and to gather round the company a network of talented people to do so. The success of my first, full-length production, Uncut Family, brought together a creative group of people and investors, which made my second feature film, The Last Porn Movie, possible. Reinvesting the revenues my the second production and broaden this group of people, I am now preparing my third feature, Minor Freedoms, the third part of Zapas’ family trilogy.

With which countries do you co-produce the most?
I am currently developing an adaptation of the novel Blue Heart for the screen. It will be Minus Pictures’ fourth feature film and we already have a Bulgarian and a Hungarian co-producer on board. I hope that the Producers on the Move meetings this year in Cannes will bring more co-producers for this movie.

What are production conditions like in Greece ?
I believe that there are no countries in the international cinema community, just movies and the people who make them. And producing movies can be as hard or less hard as anywhere - with some local differences, of course. But you either make the movie or you don’t.

In general, what types of films would you like to produce in future?
I would like to produce cutting edge arthouse and auteur films of any genre, which can survive their time and continue attracting audiences and find buyers again and again.

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