Papadopoulos & Sons wins Audience Award at 53rd Thessaloniki Film Festival

I was in my boxer shorts and fixing breakfast for my children when the phone rang from Greece to announce that we’d won the Michael Cacoyannis Audience award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Audience awards are a big deal. When all is said and done, audiences are the only thing that matter.

I hadn’t stayed on in Thessaloniki. I certainly wasn’t expecting an award. We weren’t in the competition and I had no idea that we were even eligible for anything. But it was very special. Michael Cacoyannis was a Cypriot, who famously directed Zorba the Greek, the most famous of Greek films and an inspiration for us. Cacoyannis passed away only a few days before we started shooting P+Sons.

I missed the ceremony on the Saturday evening – the most significant achievement of my artistic career. But there was some consolation. I would be watching Villa against Manchester United at Villa Park. Well, it was consolation until Man United came back from 2 goals down to win 3-2. The world is crumbling around us but Man U are oblivious to it. It was made more painful by having to sit behind eight Man U fans who managed to get seats in front of us and pretended rather badly not to be Manchester United fans, even offering up a “Up the Villa…” in mock Brummy accents followed by giggles. When I confronted them, after the third goal went in, one of them turned around and said, very defensively, “I’m a Sheffield Wednesday fan actually.” My seven year old son, who is just ever so slightly ‘on the scale’, but in a beautiful way, started yelling… “Where are the Manchester United fans Daddy? Where? Where?” There were no more mock brummy chants after that. All this, while the award was being given to Papadopoulos & Sons at a film festival in Greece.

Awards are good. They are a licence that say “please continue”. The very act of creativity is a form of madness – a desire to shake off the physical bonds of life – to draw, to dance, to sing, to act. I’m convinced that the creative act comes from the same part of the brain you use at night when you dream you’re drinking banana beer out of wellington boots with Audrey Hepburn, who’s there with her partner, Mr Allan, your PE teacher from Year 9, discussing the latest execution of famous people from the ‘Execution Factor’. For just a few moments, you realise, after you wake up, that this world (with Audrey Hepburn and banana beer and the Execution Factor) is the truthful world and the supposedly real world you wake up to with banana shampoo, widespread child abuse by people in authority and the X Factor is in fact the dangerously insane one. For most people this realisation only lasts a few seconds and then is completely forgotten. I have done my best to hang onto those dreams for the entire day. I write them down, I think about them, they are some of my best friends.

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