Dimitra Kouzi, Greek ambassador for “all things documentary” decided to re-edit her film GOOD MORNING MR FOTIS. The new version, PASSAGE TO EUROPE, comes with new perspectives on a burning topic.
Dimitra Kouzi: “During the pandemic an open-air screening of GOOD MORNING MR FOTIS – the first ever public screening with a live audience – was organised in Galaxidi, Delphi Municipality. Attended by 40 viewers who braved the strong wind and watched the film in warm clothing and beanies, in a courtyard. We even had a lively and long Q&A.”
Two reviews following the screening (by Mit Mitropoulos and Tue Steen Müller) made Kouzi decide to edit a shorter (48’) version, focusing even more on the refugee/migrant issue. “My reasons for this unusual decision were, first of all, to take the responsibility off Mr Fotis’ shoulders and disperse any feeling that he alone “solves the problem”. I wanted my film to serve as a reminder of where these children come from, to make viewers understand migration, refugee integration and education as European issues. It is time to rethink our personal stances and public policies. The problem is not solved yet, and the pandemic makes it even more urgent.”
“All things happening in Athens in PASSAGE TO EUROPE affect your lives in Amsterdam, Berlin, Oslo or Vienna. Every single child in this class wants to move on to another country, rather than to stay in Greece. They find themselves here because it was a convenient temporary stop for their parents, at the southeastern border of Europe, close to Turkey. This makes the film a European story, rather than a Greek one.”
GOOD MORNING MR FOTIS (nominated for the Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Documentary) tells about Fotis Psycharis, who has been a primary teacher at a state elementary school in Athens for 30 years. The majority of his pupils are immigrant children from Africa, the former USSR, the Middle East and Asia, who often see Greece as a convenient stop on their journey across Europe. Cultural differences, the lack of a common language, Ramadan, Bollywood, the life lessons learned during the rehearsals for the graduation all make up the unique reality of this class, with 17 pupils from 7 countries. PASSAGE TO EUROPE (watch trailer) is out to complete that colourful picture.
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