“A Month of Sundays,” a short film shot in mainland Greece, has received Oscar qualification for the 93rd Academy Awards, which have been postponed to April 25 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The film qualified in the Live Action Short Film category and is the second part of a trilogy which focuses on a young Greek woman in three stages of her life as she recalls leaving her homeland of Constantinople. The trilogy is based on the infamous “Septemvriana” events of 1955 — the worst anti-Greek riots in history.
“A Month of Sundays” portrays its female protagonist as a student falling in love and remembering the tragic events that spiraled from meeting her first love. The dialogue is in Greek with English subtitles.
Fay Lellios, the trilogy’s writer, director and co-producer, spent three days filming with her crew in October 2020 in the towns of Thisvi and Domvraina, located approximately 78 miles northwest of Athens.
“We can’t believe we actually made a film during the pandemic, nevermind one that Oscar-qualified,” Lellios told The Pappas Post. “We also received much generous support from the communities of Thisvi, Domvraina and Thebes. In addition, we had two extraordinary sponsors from Greece: Domaine Skouras and Agora Cafe Bar.”
“A Month of Sundays” will begin screening in film festivals during 2021 — a common step in the process before being released to the general public. The team shares regular updates about the film’s progress on its Facebook page.
The short was one of only five from Greece to qualify for the 93rd Academy Awards. The qualification comes one year after its predecessor, “Shared Balcony,” received qualification for the 92nd Awards.
“Shared Balcony” screened in November 2020 at the 15th Cyprus International Film Festival. The film also won Honorable Mention and the “Nostimon Imar” Award at the Bridges Peloponnese International Film Festival in December 2020.
Lellios’ impetus for creating her “Thisvi Film Trilogy” was hearing stories from her own parents, Eleutheria Karayianni Lellios and Haralambos Lellios, both longtime residents in the city of Constantinople who later immigrated to the United States.
“What drives me is this whole thing about identity, homeland and belonging,” the filmmaker said. “For me, what’s really important, especially in this trilogy — which is about separation — is to really show the story, but within locations that connect to the story.”
The New Hampshire native said her second film featured most of the same cast and crew from the first. Antigoni Gavriatopoulou served as the producer while starring actors and actresses include Marianna Polychronidi, Georgia Zoi, Dimitra Banti, Ioannis Tsoumarakis and Stephanie Capetanides.
Athens-born veteran filmmaker Vangelis Kalambakas served as director of photography on the film. Lellios said her team felt honored to have Kalambakas, who has worked as a cinematographer and director since 1987.
“We were completely thrilled by this as we all admire his work so much,” she said.
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