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From The Press

Director confident of raising cash for controversial movie

FILMMAKER Panicos Chrysanthou is only about halfway to raising the 50,000 euros needed to make the final prints of the film Akamas, but he believes he will manage to get the reels made in time for the Venice Film Festival early next month.

Akamas is one of five productions set to show on September 9 in the Festival’s ‘Horizons’ section in Lido, Venice. No Cypriot film has ever before aired at the acclaimed festival.

The government, which has contributed 20 per cent of the movie’s costs, has withheld promised funds for making copies of the film and for festival and promotional cost. “In the last letter they [the government] told me that they do not approve of any public showing of the film,” Chrysanthou told the Sunday Mail yesterday.

The Film Advisory Committee, under the umbrella of the Education Ministry, has complained that Chrysanthou violated his contract by including a scene in which EOKA fighters kill a suspected traitor in a church, despite a contractual agreement that the scene would instead take place in a coffee shop.

But Chrysanthou, along with a number of other journalists, artists and intellectuals, claims that the government is merely seeking to censor an artistic work on political and ideological grounds.

The 125-minute feature film is a love story between a Turkish Cypriot man and a Greek Cypriot woman, spanning the two turbulent decades between 1955 and 1975.

On August 12, journalist Makarios Droushiotis published an open letter in Politis to Interior Minister Andreas Christou, expressing his “immense disappointment” with Christou and his party AKEL for participating – via their tacit silence – in the government’s efforts to muzzle the director and have the film withdrawn from the festival.

“If you cannot allow for one scene in a movie in which the government participates only 20 per cent [of the costs], then how will you be able to allow for any opinions on the problem?” Droushiotis wrote to Christou.

The director said that while he has “not yet solved all his problems” due to the £15,000 he must still pay, he remains confident that he will succeed in delivering a completed reel of film with English subtitles to the Venice festival.

“We are in the final stages of preparing the sound and next week we will add Dolby.” Chrysanthou said that the rights for Dolby alone cost £7,000. “And you have to get Dolby… who will watch a film that lacks Dolby?”

Although he faces unswerving opposition in government quarters, Chrysanthou does not lack supporters for his cause.

“There are many people who want to show that they are against censorship and in favour of freedom of expression,” he said.

» To contribute to the effort to air AKAMAS at the Venice Festival you can donate directly into the Bank of account, Art Images Limited – Film Akamas #661-05-010819


By Constantine Markides


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