48TH THESSALONIKI FILM FESTIVAL
November 16-25 2007
PRESS CONFERENCE COSTAS GAVRAS
In the press conference given today, Saturday November 17th, internationally acclaimed Greek director Costas Gavras presented his new film Eden is West, his first film co-produced with Greece. According to the European co-production contracts, the French-Greek co-production by KG PRODUCTIONS and ODEON, is Costas Gavras’ first film with a Greek nationality.
In the press conference, which was also attended by the Festival’s director, Despina Mouzaki, Costas Gavras mentioned that it’s a delightful adventure to be returning to Greece as a Greek and as a director and spoke about his film. “It’s a contemporary story about a young illegal immigrant who crosses the Mediterranean from Greece, hoping to reach Paris which is his dream destination. A road movie about a modern-day Ulysses except that he isn’t going to Ithaca, but wishes to discover his own one. I am looking for the protagonist everywhere in Greece, Italy and France“, he said among others and added that “the scenario is original and not autobiographical”. As in other films of the director, the protagonist’s country is never mentioned, but rather, “described”: “I hope the audience can figure it our on their own just like in Ζ. I try to create this relationship between the cinematographer and the viewer. It’s better to let the audience provide their own answers. They should never be neutral. All of the clues are there so that it may be discovered”.
As Mr. Gavras mentioned, the inspiration for the film came from a conversation he had years ago with a French minister who had said that in the near future, 20 million foreigners would immigrate to Europe. Regarding his film’s topic, he said: “There is no way to not make a realistic film about the these people’s drama. It is a metaphor, something different. The film includes a magician who intervenes in a scene, when someone mentions that only something magical could improve the situation that the world is in. The film’s shooting will begin in spring. I hope that it will be ready by next year so that we may present it here and be able to talk about it again”.
Mr, Dionisis Samiotis, head of script development for Odeon mentioned characteristically that: “We are very happy to participate in Costas Gavras’ first Greek production which will be shot mostly in Greece. Many Greek actors and technicians will have the chance to work with a great artist like Gavras. In the past we have done co-productions with France and Australia but this film was a chance for us to escape for a while from the closed area of Greek productions and to take a more systematic and strategic look at the films that have commercial and artistic potential. Regarding the film, we were touched by its original scenario which concerns a rather difficult and sensitive social subject”.
On behalf of On Telecoms and East Media Services which support the co-production, Pericles Katsoulias mentioned that, “There is a common denominator in both investments, the love and the will to develop Greek and international cinema. It is a great honor for us to participate in this production. Our collaboration with Costas Gavras gives us the chance to spread our wings even further”.
Michel Ray Gavras, the director’s wife, mentioned the importance of European co-productions, private investments and collaborations since government support is not enough to cover the needs of cinema. “The casting will be European. Shooting will last for 12 weeks and take place in Paris, the Alps and in Crete. PATHE DISTRIBUTIONS will distribute the film internationally. Elia’s story is not the story of Costas. However, I hope that the actor we are looking for has the internal and external beauty that Costas has”, she said.