This film has its own consciousness. After refusing to be accepted by a single UK distributor and after stubbornly refusing to be accepted by any British film festivals, it decided it would go to the heart of European Government at a time of unprecedented crisis and address itself to lots of important people – MEPs, lawmakers, Parliamentarians – on the true meaning of success.
The film thinks that materialism is dead and we need to collectively embrace a new spirit of co-operation.
I couldn’t care less about that. I just wanted to be a cool film director. I told it, on many occasions, it should get into the Cannes film festival (not the market with Zombie Blondes). I told it to go to Sundance so I could buy a cool pair of retro moon boots and hang out with Robert Redford. I told it to find a chain of art house cinemas in the UK, and get its writer/director/producer/ financier/ distributor membership to the Groucho Club, where its writer/director/producer/financier/ distributor could mingle with cool/arty/ sexy people and bask in film making glory.
But this film isn’t having any of it. It blatantly ignores me. It does its own thing. It meets the people it wants to meet and does, as part of the collective universal consciousness, what it needs to do. I’m irrelevant.
When I plead with it to be snapped up by a big heavyweight distributor like Sony or Fox Searchlight, it tells me to get on with my job and stop being so annoying. It tells me to run to Wardour St and get more DVDs made, stuff the envelopes, fix the errors in the DCP, oversee the Dolby Dubbing, fix the website, build mailing lists to target Greeks for the March release, make the tea, send Donald the Hair and Makeup guy a poster, reply to all journalist requests for PR, make a 35mm internegative, pay the bills, tell Stephen Dillane what is happening, hassle Cameron Bailey at Toronto one final time, add the Greek distributors logo to the HDCam-SR, listen to what Georges Corraface has to say, pay more bills, chase the post production studio about the faulty German tape, oversee the script continuity, call Maura Ford, negotiate the music license on the Zorba track, hassle Mark Kermode on Twitter, get myself to Thessaloniki and back during a Greek strike, get to Brussels and back during another strike, convince my brother to pay more bills, email journalists, email crew, email everyone I ever met, add new stuff on Facebook, write the blog, make friends on Twitter – particularly the guy that is pretending not to be Morrissey, cut a new trailer with more Greek music in, arrange interviews with actors and most importantly to stop complaining and enjoy the ride.
When I find the film at the European Parliament about to be screened in the style of a Excel spreadsheet with the sound quality of an AM Radio, I scream at it! I say this isn’t cinema! What are you doing? What are we doing here? Why have you brought me here? They haven’t even turned the f**king lights out (they couldn’t for security reasons). But the film shakes its head lamentably and tells me to go outside and have a fag. It has work to do. ‘Make sure you’re back for the photos…’ it adds. The film can cruel to me. But I’m still in love with it.
Below is a picture I took of the European Parliament screening. It was a unique experience and it was covered heavily in the Greek press as the Greek Prime Minister was negotiating the next bail out for Greece on the floor below, at the same time. All true. The EU Commissioner for Culture and Education really did address the audience by saying we could all learn the true meaning of success from the film. That was something I never expected. Georges Corraface was his usual brilliant self. I met lots of lovely Greek journalists and writers. I spent hours talking to film critic Yiannis Zoumboulakis about Elliott Kastner and Sidney Lumet. Kostantinos Piperas and George Koumoutsakos deserve great applause for organising this because the greatest thing of all was having my father there. The audience laughed and some cried and the film did its job. If success is the joy you feel, then the screening at the EU Parliament was a great success.