Producers Gregory Pappas and Steven Priovolos, together with executive producers Sid Ganis and Alex Siskin have announced that what was originally intended to be a short film about the Holocaust in Greece will now become a full-length feature film, with acclaimed Greek director Theo Papadoulakis at the helm. The film will tell the story of the survival of the Jewish community of the Ionian island of Zakynthos.
The decision came, according to producers, after careful consideration of the timelessness and significance of the story— that of the only Jewish community in all of Nazi occupied Europe that didn’t lose a single person during the Holocaust.
Financing is excepted to close by the end of 2014 and shooting will commence in Crete and Zakynthos in the Spring of 2015.
Theo Papadoulakis was born in South Africa. He studied Radio and TV Production in the United Kingdom and got a Master’s degree in Film Directing & Producing at the Northern Film School. After completing his studies he worked for three years as Head of the Film Promotion and Publicity Office at the School of Film, TV and Performing Arts of Leeds Metropolitan University.
In 2005 he returned to Greece and started his own production company IndigoView based in Hania, Crete. His short films “Samurai” (2005) and “Pilala” (2004), which he directed and wrote, have received 27 international awards. In 2010-2011 he directed the weekly drama series “The Island” (To Nisi), which was adapted for the screen from Victoria Hislop’s international best-selling book and reached a 70% rating – the highest rating in the history of Greek private television. The Greek series has since been sold to seven countries.
The feature film, shot in the Greek language with production support from the United States, will be comprised of a Greek cast, primarily.
Sid Ganis and Alex Siskin bring international credibility to the project. Ganis served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Academy Awards every year and is one of Hollywood’s most important film executives. Alex Siskin has been with Sony Pictures for more than 15 years and also lends a tremendous amount of expertise.
“We are lucky to have Alex and Sid guiding us on this journey,” Steven Priovolos noted.
The film will be accompanied by a short documentary that will include interviews with survivors. Another Greek director, Yiannis Sakaridis, has been tapped to direct the documentary.
The film began as a historical project of the Greek America Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Chicago and dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Greek culture and heritage. The foundation and its original donors will continue to play an active role in the production and will receive credit for the concept.
Photo: Theo Papadoulakis meets Chaim Konstantinis, a survivor from Zakynthos who shared his World War II stories during interviews last month in Athens.