“Congratulations, your film “Shared Balcony,” has qualified for Academy Consideration in the Live Action Short Film category for the 2020 Academy Awards.”
And with those words, Fay Lellios’ received notice that her short film “Shared Balcony” has been accepted for consideration for the 2020 Academy Awards.
It’s no small feat for a “little film” like this one, according to Lellios, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who made the film to lay tribute to her immigrant heritage.
The narrative centers around a young Greek woman who recalls significant events that took place in three different stages of her life when she lived in Turkey. Her recollections stem from feelings of separation and loss on account of leaving the place where she grew up.
The woman’s flashbacks occur as she glides through still photographs and live action; sounds and silence; black and white and color; spoken word and voiceover; and the present, past and future.
Lellios told The Pappas Post that she received inspiration from the story of her own parents — immigrants who left their homelands for the the United States decades ago. She conceptualized the film according to her father’s 1960s photographs of Constantinople and her mother’s words as they were leaving Turkey.
“I wanted to make a film centered around the deep feeling of separation and loss one has while departing a homeland permanently — and the eventual but difficult acceptance of this separation as one moves through life,” she said. “[My parents] have been my strength my entire life. Their journeys are so long, detailed and rich.”
Her mother Eleutheria Karayianni Lellios was ethnic Greek Orthodox Christian but born and raised in Constantinople, while her father Haralambos Lellios was ethnic Albanian Orthodox and attended school there.
Lellios had numerous family members who settled in Greece due to the societal tensions and persecution they faced in Turkey. Both of her parents lived through the infamous “Septemvriana” events of 1955 — the worst anti-Greek riots in history — and thereafter relocated to New Hampshire, USA.
She said that she and her team believe their film has what it takes to enter into the Academy Awards.
“We feel ‘Shared Balcony’ is very worthy of Oscar consideration and a nomination and so we started our Oscar-qualifying quite early to guarantee our submission would be ready on time,” Lellios said. “It would be the greatest honor for our film to be nominated.”
The movie features Greek and Turkish dialogue with English subtitles, and its cast include names such as Marianna Polychronidi, Georgia Zoi, Dimitra Banti and Ioannis Tsoumarakis (Durrells, 4th season).
Lellios, a dual US-Greek citizen, shot the entire film in the village of Thisvi in central Greece — marking the first time a movie had ever been shot there. She said this aspect of filming was critical, as it fulfilled her desire to honor the “beautiful country” of her heritage.
“[The film is] showing different areas of Greece not that known” she said. “And of course, [we are] working with extraordinary Greek talent in front of and behind the camera.”
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