By Thanasis Gavos – London
The wave of young (or older) Cypriot filmmakers creating little gems seems to be hitting the cinematography shores incessantly these days.
Three recent cases in point are Peter Stylianou’s ‘Who Needs Enemies’, ‘Dinner with my Sisters’ by Michael Hapeshis and Stelana Kliris’s ‘Committed’. The first is a crime thriller, the second a psychological drama and the third a comedy, “a story about boy meets bride”.
These filmmakers have a strong link to other countries, the UK and South Africa to be precise, and all had to face the problem of funding their project, either in their most recent or earlier films. The shoestring budgets only serve as a test of the creativity of the people behind the films. They have all passed with flying colours and aim for more.
Michael Hapeshis says he was a late starter in filmmaking, arriving from the adjacent field of photography. His films have been screened in London, Canada, Australia. He is ready to come back with something even closer to his heart, “a short film that will have the love of the art as its central focus”.
Peter Stylianou of Limassol and Liverpool produced a whole feature film on 10,000 pounds, even though the initial plan was said to be about a short film. And Stelana Kliris, a South African Cypriot writer-director with a background in editing and production on international film and commercial productions in Greece and Cyprus, is trying to maximise the chances of distribution for her first feature film by engaging the Hellenic communities all around the world on social media.
The Cypriots are becoming experts on producing good low-budget films and then becoming good distributors. Cyprus almost always somehow features in the final product, be it via references to specific themes or more obviously through the shooting locations.
As Stelana Kliris has said: “The film was shot across 25 locations in a record 17 days with just 12 very dedicated crew members, two talented actors and a vintage car. The locations varied from emerald coastlines to vast deserts to lush mountains and quaint stone villages. We wanted to show off Cyprus to the world and we also wanted to make a fun, feel-good movie that tells a story of substance; something we feel we don’t see enough of on the big screen anymore.”