Pet is the most successful independent, Greek short film of all times. After numerous international film festival selections, nominations and awards, it is an early Oscar contender for an official 2017 nomination in the short film category. That makes PET the first Greek short film achieving such honors.
We spoke with the creator of PET, director Chris Moraitis (the alias for Christos Liakouris), about the film, his success and his future plans:
What inspired you to make your film, PET?
We lose living in the moment and subsequently we lose the future.
It is clear that the violence we suffer socially in recent years was the impetus for PET’s creation. Without, nevertheless, it being a film that focuses on contemporary actual events. I committed to this story because it concerns me very strongly that a child can be emotionally damaged due to the way his parents treat him. I am also concerned of the consequences of materialism. The rat race — accumulating wealth and power, that often leads to losing ourselves and our children. We lose living in the moment and subsequently we lose the future.
How do you feel about its big success and its many awards in the USA?
I am really happy that the film is successful for many reasons, but mainly because it has the opportunity to transmit its message to a wide range of people. A message that aspires to improve the lives of many modern children and therefore to improve our future. Because children are the future! Concerning the awards, I have to say that any distinction is very honouring! They give us strength for the future and they help us in order to communicate our work to the audience and to the film industry people.
What difficulties did you face while making the film?
PET was made in Greece, in the middle of an economical depression and without any financial support from a public or private financing program. So I had to make many personal sacrifices in order to make the film happen. But I am a positive person and I am trying to focus on the positive side of events, such as human collaboration and how priceless that is! PET is the creation of great human collaboration and I am very happy about that!
How someone can help PET to continue its journey?
If someone finds what we have to say with PET important, he/she can help us by spreading the word. Of course we will be happy, if someone can organize a screening event for the film. At that point I feel the need to thank all Greek Americans for their support so far, and of course my two close associates this period, the producer (and my representative) Alexia Melocchi and the executive producer of PET Nektarios Kalogridis.
Which are your future plans as a film director based in Greece?
I am very happy that after the screening of the film at Festival De Cannes and other international festivals there is an interest about my future projects in France, Italy and in the USA. So my priority is to focus on these markets in addition with the Greek market, in which some acclaimed people showed equal interest. Along with my manager in LA, Alexia Melocchi, we will decide which will be our next move. We are developing a project with great narrative quality and commercial power, but at this moment we are giving priority to PET’s goals.
The film is about a 10 year old boy, the only child of a rich family. The only person who took care of him, his grandmother, is now dead. Consequently, his only companion now is his guinea pig pet. When Dimitris’ parents decide a cruel future for him, Dimitris in order to survive, “cripples” the most pure side of himself.
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1Mwcd7RKrk
Director’s Statement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N31bcSe81HQ