PAPADOPOULOS & SONS Grabs Thessaloniki Film Festival Audience Award
Marcus Markou's British feel-good comedy PAPADOPOULOS & SONS has, within the last fortnight, won the Michael Cacoyannis Audience Award at the 53rd Thessaloniki Film Festival, and received an unorthodox and historic screening at the European Parliament.
The film will be distributed in Greece this Christmas by Hollywood Entertainment, in Germany next June by Neue Visionen and will be self-distributed in the UK this coming March.
'Papadopoulos & Sons', staring Stephen Dillane, Georgia Groome, Ed Stoppard and popular French-Greek actor Georges Corraface, tells of the challenges of a rich London Greek family who lose it all in the latest economic crash.
Following his ruin Harry Papadopoulos, a self-made millionaire, reluctantly re-unites with Spiros, his estranged freewheeling brother, to re-open the abandoned Three Brothers Fish & Chip Shop they shared in their youth. Alongside Harry's children, they set about bringing the chip shop back to life under the suspicious gaze of Hassan, the neighbouring Turkish kebab shop owner whose son has his own eyes on Harry´s daughter, Katie.
As each family member comes to terms with their new life, Harry struggles to regain his lost business empire. But as the chip shop returns to life, old memories are stirred and Harry discovers that only when you lose everything can you be free to find it all.
"When they said it was being screened at the EU, I didn't think it would literally be in the Parliament with over 350 politicians and parliamentarians in attendance," says Markou, a first-time British writer and director of Greek Cypriot descent.
The film was introduced by Androula Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education and Culture, stating that the film was extremely topical at a time of both the EU's economic crisis. "It contains important ideas on the true meaning of success and failure for all of us. We laugh and cannot help sympathising with the characters," Vassiliou said. "The film is about a reversal of fortune and the meaning of home and family," she added.
Picking up the Michael Cacoyannis Audience Award at the 53rd Thessaloniki Film Festival was a huge surprise. "I'd flown back to the UK when they rang to say we'd won it," says Markou. "Cacoyannis died only a few weeks before we started filming and so this is a very special accolade for the film."
A huge cross section of Greek newspapers and TV news have reported the story in detail, coming at a difficult time for the country. Film critic Giannis Zoumpoulakis of newspaper To Vima said "Prime Minister Samaras was negotiating the future of our country a few doors down… It's a movie that confronts the economic crisis with optimism not only for Greece but all of Europe" whilst journalist Tina Mandilara of Proto Thema said "The day the Greek government was fighting its own battle, in the huge conference room on the third floor of the European Parliament, a film sent its own message."
Markou, alongside his producer brother and internet entrepreneur Andrew Markou, is now set to distribute the film himself into UK cinemas this March.
"The very themes of the film are about being independent at a time of crisis. It's better to be a master of your own chip shop than a dependent to the broken system," he says. "Self distribution has risks but we intend to target the UK Greek community first."
International sales are being handled by Maura Ford at Seven & Seven Ltd: Maura@7and7.co.uk