Greek filmmaker Olga Malea stumbled onto her first helming mission on a 1985 trip to Argentina. She ended up making a docu-drama centered around the Tango neighborhood La Boca that was picked up by Italian pubcaster RAI.
But in the following decade, Malea — the holder of a Ph.D. in psychology who studied at Yale and took film courses on the side — concentrated on her psych career and directed educational videos for schools in Greece.
In ’95, she started working on her first feature project, “The Cow’s Orgasm,” which she co-wrote with Apostolos Alexopoulos. The coming-of-age pic, made for about $250,000, was released in 1997 and exceeded 150,000 admissions — a rare feat for a Greek film. (Until recently, most homegrown pics languished below the 10,000-ticket mark.) It was also the first local film to be made with private funds and without the support of the Greek Film Center. Local distrib Prooptiki came in as co-producer.
Last year, her second pic, “The Mating Game,” also became a box office hit, topping 200,000 admissions.
“After ‘The Cow’s Orgasm,’ other distributors requested the next script,” Malea says. The helmer stayed with distrib Prooptiki for her second pic but has moved on since.
Her latest project, currently in pre-production, is the $600,000 romantic comedy “Comme Ci, Comme Ca.” “I think that this movie could travel abroad,” she says. Shooting will start May 8. Pic’s producer is Papandreou S.A., makers of Greece’s recent smash hit “Safe Sex.”
Malea says she’s open to directing other people’s scripts, but doesn’t want to produce. “I don’t want to put my house up for sale to make a film,” she quips.