Greece entered Sundance short film competition for the first time in 2015 with Stella Kyriakopoulos’ film Volta. The film is about a mother and daughter, who start out from downtown Athens and head to the northern suburbs of the city. The film was awarded “Women in Film in Los Angeles” Award in Sundance and screened in a number of festivals, all over the world. Stella talks to GreekTV about her film and filmmaking:
Can you describe your film in a short paragraph?
The film is about a mother and a daughter that go from one spot in Athens to another. The mother tells the daughter that they are going on a walk.
What was the social context of the movie?
The social context was an overwhelming feeling of loss that I saw around me in Greece due to the financial crisis. I found a metaphor for this in the “Volta” the mom and daughter take in the film.
How was it having your film screened in Sundance Film Festival?
It was exhilarating! Really a dream and an honor. I was very proud to represent the first short Greek film that has ever been screened there. There was a very good reception and I was even more excited to be awarded a prize. It really opened up the festival journey for the film. It’s now screened at over 90 festivals internationally and gone on to win other awards.
How effective it was to use Kickstarter in order to fund your movie?
Kickstarter was a lifesaver for me. It was a lot of work and also a very humbling experience. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone pre-produce and crowd fund simultaneously. But that’s what I did. It was a little nerve wracking putting so much effort into building a film that I didn’t know I’d have the money to make. But I kind of kept blinders on and tried to make the best of the experience, never letting it sit too long in my head how risky what I was doing was.
I plan to make the best films I’m able to.
What are your future plans as a director?
I plan to make the best films I’m able to. That’s really what it comes down to! I’m in no rush. Given all the effort and how difficult and expensive it is I’m much more interested in protecting my creative voice and making things that can have a life of their own. It’s a tricky process but an exciting one that is opening up before me.
Do you find Greece to provide limitations or opportunities for a young filmmaker?
I really think one of the most basic laws of most creative production is that limitations lead to creativity. I found both in Greece in a way and always expect both regardless of the country I am creative in.
Which movie you keep close to your heart?
I always watch and re-watch Il Posto by Ermanno Olmi whenever I am feeling unmoored or have a question about why I’m making films.
I’ve reconciled that I’m going to be a bit of a nomad, carrying my world on my back and try to go with the flow generally.
Do you ever feel between two worlds when you spend time both in Greece and in the United States?
The idea of trying to find a single world is long gone for me! As I’ve grown I’ve been enriched by all the places I’ve been to, the people I’ve met. It’s a pretty heavy load of information and memories to carry. I’ve realized carrying expectations and comparisons around as well is a bit useless. I’ve reconciled that I’m going to be a bit of a nomad, carrying my world on my back and try to go with the flow generally.
Stella Kyriakopoulos was born in New Jersey in 1983, but grew up in Athens, Greece. She received a BA in Studio Art/Film and Media from Swarthmore College and studied Sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts (Greece). She received an MFA in Filmmaking from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and currently lives between Greece and New York, working as an editor.
Check out the film’s website www.voltafilm.com and Stella’s tumblr here
“Volta”, Narrative Short 2014
“Bob Goes to the Parthenon”, Documentary Short 2013