This past weekend I was in Toronto, participating in the Greek America Foundation’s third annual Greek Film & Foto Week— a project we launched to give aspiring photographers and filmmakers a forum to create their stories and a platform to share them.
The photography component of our event is connected to the Contact Photography Festival, the largest photo event in the world. It’s an amazing time during which the entire city of Toronto is decked out in photo exhibitions and installations of some of the top photographers in the world.
In a nutshell, to exhibit at Contact is a big thing for any photographer and something many don’t get the chance to do.
We incorporated film into the mix last year and started a short film contest. Again, the idea was to give young filmmakers the forum to tell their stories and the platform to showcase them.
This year our winner was a film about a blind man named Bob and how a trip to the Parthenon changed his life by Stella Kyriakopoulos, a film student at New York University.
Another winning film this year was Thymos, a contemporary tribute to an ancient Greek ideal expressed through dance.
This film was made by a team of teenage amateurs from Toronto led by a 16-year-old named Vasili Manikas. And not only were they inspired to participate, but these youngsters then used their film as a fundraising vehicle for the Greek America Foundation’s “Project Hope for Greece.” They organized a screening for family and friends and raised $4000!
Talk about coming full circle… Teen-aged aspiring filmmakers disenfranchised with their community, provoked by an opportunity for creative expression that was afforded to them by the Greek America Foundation and ultimately inspired to give back.
Isn’t this what it is all about?
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take this — bringing a handful of kids back to their roots and to their community– over a Greek Festival any day.