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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 4 April2015
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 APRIL 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Sidney Myer Award for Greek Helen Marcou is rewarded for her work in the ‘Save Live Australian Music’ campaign NIKOS FOTAKIS It's not everyday that a Greek name appears among the winners of the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Art Awards, and Helen Marcou was just as surprised to see hers, along with the name of her husband, Quincy McLean, as the recipient of the $20,000 Facilitator Prize. The other winners were playwright Lally Katz, who received the $50,000 Individual Award, and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, who won the $80,000 Group Award. "The great thing was that we didn't even know we were nominated," says Helen Marcou, unable to hide her excitement. The award comes as a perfect closure of her highly successful campaign ‘Save Live Australian Music’ (SLAM), which promoted the interests of live music venues and has given Marcou the status of a patron saint among the circles of musicians and music professionals in Australia and especially Victoria. Helen and her husband used their experience in the music industry, having been running music studios for 25 years, for their cause. The couple saw a lot of their musician friends and collaborators losing their jobs and one venue after the other having to stop hosting live music sessions in 2010 due to the government's liquor licensing policies, that had any live music venue categorised as ‘high risk’. The categorisation meant even a small neighbourhood pub would have to hire two bouncers and install a CCTV system in order to host live music sessions, making the cost unaffordable. Helen Marcou cites The Greek Deli in South Yarra as a typical example of a venue which would have to face tremendous costs in order to host bouzouki nights. Given that the problem affected the life of her family - her husband, Quincy McLean is a musician, as is the couple's son - Helen decided it was time for action. "Over the last five years my husband and I have launched a cultural campaign based on the proposed government reforms," she says. "We identified the problems with the policy and we lobbied trying to fix things." The turning point for the SLAM campaign was the massive protest rally held in Melbourne in 2010, the largest of its kind, with more than 20,000 people (artists, music professionals, fans and punters) marching to express their opposition to a law that had live music linked with violence. "We were given a political voice," she says, proud of the "incredible success" of the campaign, which led to a series of law reforms throughout the country and the founding of official organisations such as Music Victoria. "Especially in Victoria, our presence was instrumental in changing the planning Pacino as Onassis The Hollywood actor will star as the Greek magnate in a film that is set to bring about even more controversy Aristotle Onassis will be brought to life on the big screen in the highlyanticipated adaptation of investigative journalist Peter Evans’ controversial 1968 book, entitled Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys. The film's screenplay, produced by Pathe Inc., will bear the signature of Braulio Mantovani under the direction of Brazilian Academy Award nominee Fernando Meirelles' (City of God, The Constant Gardener). Al Pacino's selection to star as the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis has already made it the new Hollywood blockbuster. The film, entitled The highly-anticipated Hollywood production is definitely going to add fuel to the long-burning story. Nemesis, will focus on Bob Kennedy's vengeance. According to the book, Bobby Kennedy was behind the secret control over the companies of the Greek tycoon and banned his trading activities in the US. The icy relationship between the two men reached its climax when Onassis started publicly referring to Jacqueline Kennedy as Jackie O. The film, which sets off in Argentina, where Onassis started building his empire, will also revolve around Onassis' addictive and destructive affair with Maria Callas as well as his competitive relationship with his shipping rival Stavros Niarchos, but its main theme is the clash with the Kennedy family. A shady warp in the plot is expected to bring about even more controversy following Peter Evans' claims that Aristotle Onassis conspired against Bob Kennedy, providing leads on how he financed the murder. The writer describes this twist as a secret that has been kept for three decades, while the possibility of Onassis being responsible for John's murder is also mentioned. Meirelles' take on the script will reportedly be something like The Godfather, with the famous billionaire magnate at the centre of the story. Bob Kennedy's character will be played by the Irish actor Michael Fassbender, 36, while the candidate's name for the role of Jacqueline Kennedy remains undisclosed. Many scenes will be filmed on location at Skorpios island, now owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev's daughter. The production of the film is estimated to reach 30 million dollars. laws," she explains. "Up to that point, all laws were in favour of developers and building owners; the cost of compliance had to be met by musicians, promoters and venue owners. If you moved next door to a live venue the onus of soundproof would go to the venue. Now this has changed. Now it's the other way round." All of the demands that Helen Marcou, as the leader of the SLAM campaign, had presented to the government in 2010 have since been met, the last one being signed off by the end of 2014. Getting into a negotiation with 10 demands and having them all met, without making concessions and compromise, is not an easy feat by any account, and that alone would make Helen Marcou a poster-girl for the hardest negotiators. "We stuck to our guns," she states. "We understood that we had to write the policy and prepare the solution. Besides, we had a highly sophisticated team of barristers, academics, community members and professionals working with our group. What's more important, we did not present emotional arguments; our campaign was based in reason and logic. The difference in our case is that our effort was volunteer and community funded. This allowed for independence and gave us credibility and freedom to criticise and act quickly. When you're a governmentdependant organisation, you have to be very careful in your statements." The SLAM campaign may have finished, having met its goals (although the couple has licensed the SLAM logo and know-how to the UK and other countries facing announced Xenia 2015’s great winner On Monday the Greek Film Academy announced the winners in its sixth year, awarding the Greek creatives who struggled to produce internationally accredited filmography in such difficult sociopolitical and financial times for Greece. Panos Koutras' film Xenia, which has accumulated many international awards and accolades, was unsurprisingly the ceremony's great winner, bagging six awards out of 15 nominations. It was awarded for best script, best supporting male actor, best director, best montage, best costumes and of course, best fiction film. The highlight of the night was director Panos Koutras' decision not to accept the award handed to him on stage by four Greek-born children of immigrants fighting to get citizenship. After thanking his family, his partner, his producers, actors and the entire cast of people who worked closely and with Greek Film Academy Awards devotion to bring his vision to life, he offered both the best fiction movie and best script awards to these children. "And because life isn't all about equality and remains unfair, we've therefore decided not to take this award home," Panos Koutras said. "With all due respect to the Greek Film Academy, we shall only accept this when the law offering second generation immigrants in Greece citizenship is established." Panagiotis Evangelidis, the film's producer, declared his support for the director's decision. "We hope this muchanticipated law, offering these children who have been born and educated here the same rights we posses, soon becomes reality," he said. Along with Xenia, Giannis Oikonomidis' film Little Fish and Giannis Veslemes' first directorial attempt with the movie Norway didn't leave empty-handed. The short film on the history of the Xylouris clan, A Family Affair, directed by Angeliki Aristomenopoulou, received the award for best documentary.
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