New Film Center Prez Boosts Greek Pic Biz

The Greek Film Center is returning to Berlin this year with a new president, director Errikos Andreou.

In addition, Pantelis Voulgaris’ “Quiet Days In August,” an independently funded film promoted by the GFC, will make its debut in official competition at the festival.

Coin shortage

Lack of funds and inadequate scripts are the main problems of the Greek film industry, says Andreou. “For the past few years, the GFC has operated on 400 to 500 million drachmas a year [about $2.5 million to $3.2 million]. This sum has been cut to 275 million drachmas, a figure I will recommend be raised next year.”

Perhaps even more important, Andreou hopes to encourage independent producers to come back to the fold.

“I’m against a state monopoly on film production,” the new president says. “I’m in favor of using tax shelters and other incentives to encourage a new generation of young, educated producers.”

The GFC’s stand at the fest will be staffed by Andreou, Voula Georgakakou and Elly Petridas. Andreou says they plan to meet with key industry execs, with an eye to lining up co-productions and promoting Greece as a location for shooting.

Scripts must get better

Co-producers will not be enticed “unless scripts improve,” contends Andreou. “Until now, it was most often the director who also wrote the script and too many were selfish, making personal statements with no regard for the general audience’s preferences.”

To correct this, Andreou recommends scriptwriting seminars and collaborations “to encourage quality films that also appeal to a wider audience. Greek films are not getting any more popular, to put it mildly.”

A helping hand

Alexander Spentzos, head of Spentzos Films, a leading Greek distributor, says his company has helped fund Greek Films each year, and will do so again “if we find a good script.”

Spentzos is particularly high on Nikos Perakis, director of “Loafing and Camouflage” and “Living Dangerously.”

“We are trying to persuade Perakis to make a new comedy,” Spentzos points out, “although he’s been working recently in Germany due to a lack of funding in Greece.”

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