Screenings at Elimnion

On Thursday 4th, July, the films Underwonder, produced by Cosmote TV and directed by Kostas Karydas, the short film Nothing Holier than a Dolphin by Isabella Margara, were screened at Elimnion, in Limni, in the presence of the films’ directors, as well as The Weight of Water by Kathryn Bigelow.

Prior to the screening, Program Collaborator Yannis Palavos, welcomed the audience: "We are very glad that for the third year in a row we find ourselves in Northern Evia as a Festival. It is our practical effort to contribute to the revival of this long-suffering place after the devastating fires of 2021. Above all, we are trying to pass on some know-how about green and sustainable cinema, by showcasing films of environmental interest to the residents of Edipsos, Agia Anna, and Limni.”

“We will begin with the documentary Underwonder, a Cosmote TV production. Cosmote TV is the Festival's grand sponsor, with whom we have a long-standing and close relationship. We will watch the fourth and last episode of the series written and directed by Kostas Karydas. It aired in May, enjoying great success, and reaching number one on the platform of Cosmote TV,” he mentioned and welcomed the director. Kostas Karydas thanked the audience and stated that Underwonder is “a journey of a group of divers exploring caves in Greece.” Afterwards, the screening of the documentary and a Q&A with the director followed. 

In response to a question about how the filmmaker encountered the divers of the documentary, he said: “This group of divers has been diving for a long time and when we met, they expressed the need to communicate what they see, so that the world can understand what lies under their feet. As such, we started shaping the documentary’s structure, picking out the caves from the thousands that exist in Greece, and making the trips.”

“Their sessions were seven hours long, there were intense arguments, and each person naturally had its own character,” the filmmaker remarked. “Down in the caves, organization is a matter of life and death, and of course, some things must be organized down to the last detail.” 

Regarding the huge success of the documentary series, he divulged: “I believe it has much to do with the unseen worlds. We did our best to make you feel like you gained access into the cave, and not only document the experience, but to make you a part of the dive." He stressed that the underwater footage was extremely difficult to get, because it was all shot by one diver in the team and they had zero control over filming underwater. Finally, he said that the underwater wealth of Greece may end up motivating him to continue to follow this interesting group of divers.

After the Q&A, a screening of the film Nothing Holier than a Dolphin followed, in presence of the director. Yannis Palavos presented the film, noting its participation in the 2022 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival - the biggest short film festival in the world – during which it won the audience award.

Filmmaker Isabella Margara expressed her gratitude to the Festival for the invitation, stating that the film started from a call for environmental organizations from all over Europe, which wanted to fund a script relevant to overfishing and the bycatch of sea creatures (sea turtles, dolphins, etc.) which get caught in fishermen's nets by accident: “I found out that bycatch is a very big problem in the seas. But what moved me, and made me want to write a script about this subject, was that I read that many of these animals, although they are returned to the sea, do not survive because of the shock of being captured. This pain and the shock of captivity were what inspired me to write, and even to place a human in the dolphin’s circumstances, so that we may put ourselves in their shoes more easily," she said. 

The filmmaker speaks about loss in a more metaphorical way, relying on two myths in order to write the script: "One myth comes from Samos Island. There, it is believed that whole regions came from a boy who arrived on the shores riding a dolphin - an image very widespread in Greek folklore. The second myth originates from the Arctic Circle, where a polar bear rescues a fisherman drowning in the sea."

Finally, regarding the structure of the film, which is essentially a reenactment of an oral story, she said that initially, she wanted to shoot with real dolphins, but unfortunately, there was no budget for that: "I didn't want to move into special effects, so I had to find another way for a dolphin to exist on screen. The element of orality interested me because narrative is a cornerstone in our society, even if it's not obvious." The film was an attempt to connect different worlds, myth and reality, but also theater and cinema.

After the presentation the film was screened, followed immediately by Kathryn Bigelow’s film, The Weight of Water.