Greekies vs Greekless: Film Screening and Q&A

Thursday 07 Dec 2023

Cinematographer and artist Menelaos Karamaghiolis presents the 10-year process of his multimedia project Greekies through a screening of Greek Animal Rescue, a documentary film that was the starting point of Greekies, and highlights of its ongoing progress. Followed by a Q&A with Film Curator Gareth Evans.

Strays (animals, anti-heroes, locations and stories) become the protagonists of video installations and in-situ live events that render viewers eyewitnesses to challenging environmental and social issues, driving at possible solutions.

About the film Greek Animal Rescue

A gravely ill, abused three-legged stray dog, abandoned in the industrial desert of Aspropyrgos, a town near Athens; a London-based charity whose mission is to help the neglected animals of Greece; a group of young volunteers who patrol Aspropyrgos and attend to the strays – these are the characters of the film found in a nightmarish place, a hellhole for many abandoned animals. Does the sick three-legged hound stand any chance of getting adopted, becoming healthy again and running across the fields of Essex? Why are the ‘Greekies’ – the strays from Greece – so popular when it comes to being adopted abroad? With an unexpected ending, the film tries to discover whether there is any hope for the doomed dogs and for a doomed area outside Athens.

A cinematic allegory of the Greek circumstances during the crisis based on true stories taking place in ‘invisible’ districts near Athens that tourists and Athenians often ignore. The stories of stray animals depict – with a cinematic precision – everything that happens in Greece in times of crisis and motivate a London- based charity, that discovered this by chance, to start a European campaign aiming at awakening all those who live ’protected’ and trapped in big cities.

Written and directed by: Menelaos Karamaghiolis

Cinematography: Menelaos Karamaghiolis, Panagiotis Papafragkos, Magnus Briem

Cinematography (London): Tania Freimuth

Assistant Director: Panagiotis Papafragkos

Editor: Dimitris Peponis

Sound: Stelios Bouziotis

About the ongoing project: Greekies

The cinematic depiction of unknown and invisible places, stories, and characters serves as the starting point for a multimedia project that actuates key social issues through in situ multi-disciplinary art events (the visual arts, music, dance, and video art) held in hard-to-reach spaces, with screenings and public actions that provide a platform for the voices of vulnerable social groups. The project focuses on the abandoned and traumatised strays found across the wider area of the Thriasian Plain, animals that are extremely popular for adoption outside Greece despite their clear disabilities: the Greekies. This term takes on an allegorical dimension to also include anyone who feels isolated or abandoned. The leads of this work – the Greekies – live within the broader urban fabric of a capital city expanding haphazardly at a dizzying pace, with little regard for the ecological footprint this development brings, creating pariahs and isolated individuals living on its margins. Audiences of the work are made eye-witnesses of unfamiliar landscapes and themes; as a result, further interactions are activated, creative public discourse with different population groups is mobilised, critical social issues are spotlighted, and inventive and innovative educational programmes are created. Døcumatism and Menelaos Karamaghiolis are forging a synchronic landscape of mysteries and social sculpture across the broader area around Elefsina with on-site screenings – a nomadic festival and alternative “museum” that “journey” freely, launching wide-ranging arts activities that create inventive ways of interacting with the public: inaccessible lead characters are made “guides” of a nomadic action/installation that activates in situ, is easily transportable, and combines on-site experience with traditional and new technologies that cancel out constraints.

Artistic Direction: Menelaos Karamaghiolis

Production: Døcumatism (GR)

Menelaos Karamaghiolis is a filmmaker who works in Athens, producing feature films, documentaries, artist films, installations and radio-movies which star real-life neglected heroes and transcend frontiers and stereotypes to serve as an essential tool for dialogue and social change. His films have been screened globally and won many awards internationally: Karamaghiolis’ feature documentary  ROM (1989) was called ‘a turning point for Greek documentary films’ and ‘a masterpiece that must become a classic of the history of cinema.’ His fiction film BLACK OUT (p.s. RED OUT) (1998) was hailed as “the first post-modern Greek film” while J.A.C.E. – Just Another Confused Elephant (2012) was included in 52 international festivals and received 11 awards. Karamaghiolis pioneered the first Greek interactive documentaries, MEETING WITH REMARKABLE PEOPLE  (24 feature films, 180 short films). He is the founder of Døcumatism, a group of artists, educators, researchers, and filmmakers who aim to find solutions and raise awareness about crucial social issues through the power of cinematography. Døcumatism is based in the neighbourhood of Kypseli in Athens, a formerly upper-class neighbourhood that has been home to migrant communities for the past twenty years. The artistic initiatives taken by Døcumatism have transformed this neighbourhood into an experimental cultural hotspot. Karamaghiolis is currently working on film installations and live events for the ongoing collective community projects the AfroGreeks and Greekies. His work has been shown at international institutions such as the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, the Venice BiennaleRodeo (Piraeus London), Haus N Athen, Serpentine London and the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, among others.


The Hellenic Centre


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