The producers of the award-winning documentary Hello Anatolia have set out on a new multi-level production this spring in the city of Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey. Director Chrysovalantis Stamelos and producer Georgia Papadopoulou are now in pre-production for the new film entitled ‘Journey Through Smyrna’, which is a loose continuation of Stamelos’s first documentary, where the filmmakers are going to document the first-ever Smyrneika concert to take place on the city’s waterfront; the Smyrna Quay.
Through the phenomenon of social media, the producers have now launched a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo, where they are preparing the film to shoot this April.
Journey Through Smyrna will capture a reignited light of the Greek and Greek-speaking communities of Izmir, along with its language and heritage, through the power of music, faith, and friendship between Greek and Turkish singers and musicians who will hold a first-ever live concert on the Smyrna Quay in over 93 years.
Along with a film, the producers plan to distribute a music soundtrack from the concert as well as a book documenting the journey, which will include in-depth photography of the lost churches and homes belonging to the Hellenic communities of Asia Minor.
The producers have thus far documented the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit and journey to the city this past February, where Greek Orthodox liturgies were held in the historic churches of Agios Voukolos and Agia Fotini. ‘We are documenting them because we feel that these liturgies act as a great symbol of re-igniting the city’s Greek Orthodox community and heritage in hopes of creating a new beginning of religious freedom and tolerance within the Aegean region,’ says Stamelos.
Papadopoulou, who is the manager of the music group NeaBanda, which will be featured in the film, further explains. ‘Our production is scheduled to begin in February and continue on to the end of April 2015. The production will involve 10 incredibly talented and skilled musicians from both Greece and Turkey, and will include shooting on location around the city of Izmir.
Asked why the producers chose to go forward with a crowdsourcing campaign, Stamelos explained, ‘This project is incredibly unique in terms of scope. We are are not peace-keepers or special agents, just a group of musicians and filmmakers who want to make a positive affect in the world using our talents and expressions. Through the good will of people, whether through funding or warm wishes, will take us to levels never reached before.’
The budget of the project, estimated at $150K, will cover the production of the film, the soundtrack, the book, and international distribution. In addition, the production team hopes to bring the music to festivals and screenings, holding live performances of the music for theater-going audiences.
The first film by Stamelos, Hello Anatolia, has gone on to screen at multiple film festivals and universities including Harvard, Yale, and Syracuse. The film will make its television debut on April 16th for the PBS Chicago affiliate WTTW, along with an official global online release.
Photos: Producer/director Chrysovalantis Stamelis with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew; The music group NeaBanda which will be featured in the new film (photo by Alexander Koromilas)