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CINEMED 2019 Cinemed Meetings

Nancy Kokolaki • Producer, Bad Crowd

“The combination of creative talents from different countries can be a bonus”

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- Cineuropa met up with Greek producer Nancy Kokolaki (Bad Crowd) to discuss the project Souvenir by Thanos Psichogios, on the occasion of the Cinemed Meetings

Nancy Kokolaki • Producer, Bad Crowd

Co-director with Nikos Moustakas of Athenian company Bad Crowd, which is behing I Am Not Him [+see also:
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and Sideway [+see also:
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]
by Tayfun Pirselimoglu, as well as Ashes [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Stratos Tzitzis, Greek producer Nancy Kokolaki is attending the 41st Cinemed Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival where she is pitching in the Development Aid Scholarship session of the Cinémed Meetings the project Souvenir, Thanos Psichogios’ feature debut.

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Cineuropa : Why did you want to produce Souvenir by Thanos Psichogios ?
Nancy Kokolaki
 : First of all, because it is the story of two teenagers who feel stuck in their lives on a small Greek island, a setting we usually see in the summertime on screen, while the story of Souvenir takes place during the off-season period. It’s an angle that might be less ostensibly glamorous, less tourist-friendly, but one which really allows to make the atmosphere of the place felt. We easily identify with this two young girls and with their feeling of not having any opportunities for the future. Asa woman, I understand very well this state of mind specific to youth, which the film approaches from the angle of the drama but without turning into a thriller.

The story nevertheless begins with a murder.
That is the starting point, we know from the beginning that the two girls have committed this crime. It isn’t a police investigation, but rather a realist study of a social context. Of course, that combination opens up the film to a larger potential audience: some may be attracted by the criminal background of the story, while others may prefer the literary adaptation aspect of the project, as the film is inspired by the novel Remember, written by Vassili Petsa, whose structure will be intact in the script (written by the author and the director). We discover the story and understand what happened through the points of view of all the people living on the island: the parents of the two girls, their friends, etc. The situation is seen from different perspectives.

How advanced is the project?
We received support at the writing stage from the Greek Film Center and, already, a Romanian co-producing partner in Tangaj and a Bosnian co-producing partner in Chelia (through the prize of Pack and Pitch - Sarajevo Talents), but we are open to other co-producers. If everything goes as planned, we are hoping to begin filming in November 2020, so we are now going to complete financing and move forward with casting and location scouting.

What is the editorial line of Bad Crowd?
We mainly focus on auteur cinema, but we are also active in the domain of documentaries and short films. We just produced for ERT the mini-series Six Nights on the Acropolis, based on the novel by Literary Nobel Prize Winner George Seferis. Personally, I love auteur films, but they have to be close to the public, which isn’t always easy. I also believe that the combination of creative talents from different countries can be a bonus for a film. For example, with Thanos Psichogios, we think that Souvenir will benefit from the work of a director of photography from another country, whose vision of the island will not be that of a Greek person. The same thing goes for the score. So we often try to co-produce with other European countries.

What do you think of the current situation of financing for film production in Greece?
We now have something fantastic: the brand new tax credit scheme which applies to 35% of spending done in Greece. The trouble is with our institutions in charge of financial support for production: their budgets are very low, their grants small in comparison with those of other countries, and response times are very long, often over a year. Because we also have to wait for the turnover of the management teams at the Greek Cinema Center and the ERT, the national broadcaster. It is a real problem when we are in negotiations with potential co-producing partners from other countries, because we cannot give them a clear sense of the timing.

What are some of Bad Crowd’s other current projects?
We just completed the musical documentary Markos by Nikos Skarentzos, in which contemporary musicians pay homage to Markos Vamvakaris. Last year at Glocal in Progress at San Sebastian and at the Thessaloniki Agora Works in Progress, we presented A Simple Man by Tassos Gerakinis, which has been completed; we are now waiting to find out where it will have its premiere, with the hope that it might be at a big festival. Finally, in development, we are working on Memory Reloaded by Panos Pappas (director) and Despina Charalampous (screenwriter), and on Kerr by Tayfun Pirselimoglu.

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(Translated from French)

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