‘Broadway’ Breathes Fresh Life Into Post-Crisis Greece

Helmer Christos Massalas’ feature debut makes MIA pitch

A band of young street performers and pickpockets in Athens find an unlikely refuge in an abandoned shopping mall. But when their former leader is released from prison, his return threatens the delicate balance of their makeshift family.

In “Broadway,” director Christos Massalas creates a colorful world of cast-offs and hustlers, set on the fringes of a city leveled by the Greek economic crisis. Produced by Amanda Livanou of Neda Film, and Bertrand Gore of France’s Blue Monday Productions, and executive produced by Christos V. Konstantakopoulos of Falliro House Productions, Massalas’ feature debut took part in MIA’s co-production market and pitching forum.

“Broadway” is set in a modern-day Athens that, while still bearing the scars of Greece’s decade-long freefall, brims with energy and possibility. “It’s looking at a world that is in transition,” said Massalas. The director said the film uses “the city and its modern monuments” to probe at “the remains of a consumerist society, and how in times of crisis they’re being reinvented.”

The movie will star an ensemble cast of characters from Greece and across Europe, a hodgepodge of dreamers and drifters that Massalas said reflects the city’s new face.

“We’re in a time that there’s a lot of mobility. In Athens now you can see people from different walks of life, from around the world,” said the director. “Ten years ago, I wouldn’t see that. It felt like it was a more closed society in general. A new mentality is taking shape, and…I hope that there will be a good outcome out of this [and] more openness.”

Massalas’ short film “Copa-Loca” world premiered in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2017, and “Broadway” was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab this year. Massalas and his producers have been in Rome exploring more financing possibilities and co-production opportunities.

The director sees the movie as a hybrid of genres, incorporating a diverse range of influences, from musicals to heist films. While the specter of Greece’s economic near-ruin will be evident in the abandoned remains of the movie’s titular entertainment complex, Massalas said he’ll also use a light touch as he probes at the question of the country’s rebirth.

“In the first few years of the crisis, everything was really very dramatic, and there was no space to think about what could happen afterward, and how reinvention could be achieved,” he said. “But I think now we’re in this moment where…the younger generation are coming forward with a kind of drive to be able to rethink things.”