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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 July 2015
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 JULY 2015 25.12 Stella Dimadis’ new short film delves into loneliness and its repercussions NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU 25.12 is a film based on the original short story Christmas Day written by Thanasis Papastergiou. Adapted into a screenplay by Stella Dimadis, it revolves around an older man who, surrounded with nothing but loneliness, decides to face his deepest fears. Dimadis completed her Masters in Film at Deakin University in 2012, with earlier degrees in fine arts and education, from La Trobe, RMIT and the University of Melbourne, and since her Masters has created her own production company Medea Films. This is her second film in which she combines writing, directing and producing in film-making. "I have seen too many elderly people who are alone without a social network or family, this is why the story instantly resonated with me," Stella Dimadis told Neos Kosmos. The short story follows a man's journey on Christmas Day guiding us through his thoughts, feelings and actions step-by-step. Dimadis thought it would be interesting to Stella Dimadis, with Jim Koutsoukos (L) and Katerina Kotsonis (R) are the members of this year’s Greek Australian Short Film Festival committee. adapt this unorthodox narration into film, as it is a completely different medium to writing. "In order to liven up such an experience onscreen, I had to focus on the use of colour, the landscape, find the right music and images, the right people," Dimadis says. "I had to play with the very essence of time to exemplify this mental state." However, this wasn't the “To discover our reality we must explore our illusions.” most difficult part of the adaptation. In order to explore the foundations of old age loneliness, Stella went through her own emotional rollercoaster to find her resources. "As with all films, the greatest challenge is in accessing the funding," Dimadis explains. "Once I had decided that the film was going to be financed with crowdfunding I embarked on a marketing campaign with Pozible and successfully achieved that goal." Leonidas, the protagonist, is played by Antonios Baxevanidis, a well-known Melbourne actor and photographer. He artfully portrays the emotions whilst he goes through the motions of the day, starting off by wrapping and preparing Christmas gifts, which he gives away to two strangers on a train, only to find himself in a restaurant where he beckons his dead family. "The surrealistic character of the film captures the psychological state of Leonidas' mind," says Dimadis highlighting that there are too many people in this world who don’t have anyone to celebrate with. The audience is left ac e t d a w st hi he of ps Le D th in an w co di or of wondering if the philosophical onversation around the dinner table is in fact occurring or if it is merely a figment of Leonidas’ imagination. The protagonist finds himself by the beach, listening to Vivaldi's Spring, played by Theano Milides, as he ecounts a verse written by Thanasis Papastergiou and ventures off into the cool, dark blue waters of the beach. hi to by re Th ve b Leonidas is supported by actors Nicole Chamoun as his mother, Jim Koutsoukos as his father, Faezeh Parkes and Karl Peschek as his grandparents, and Peta Nasopoulos as his younger sister. With flashbacks and stories, the viewer is drawn into a past world during World War II, where the family is touched by war, famine, disease and finally death. "An overall cast and crew of forty-five people helped to bring the film together, with a special mention of cinematographer Con Filippidis who expertly brought the colour, light and characters to life," Dimadis says. "Not to mention the twentysix people who pledged through Pozible crowdfunding to help the film eventuate from a financial perspective." 25.12 aims to portray a snippet of some of the social issues that could be faced by an aging population. Meanwhile it has employed several film industry professionals of Greek origin offering them the opportunity to access international audiences. Dimadis was born in Greece and came to Australia in 1967 with her parents Pascalia and Nikolaos when she was nine months old. She has lived in Australia ever since but constantly draws on her background and disperses it into her films. "My Greek identity has shaped part of my thinking, sensibilities, experiences, goals and aspirations." "I would not have been the person I am today had I not been raised as a Greek," she adds. Stella Dimadis in action. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Antonios Baxevanidis, in the role of Leonidas, the main character of the film. "There is an edge to me that is fundamentally Greek, but that is only a small part of me, there is a complex larger part that is completely attributed to me being an Australian and living in multicultural Australia." Dimadis is also the vice- president of Women in Film andTelevision Victoria (Wiftvic) and the co-curator of the Greek Australian Short Film Festival which screens during the Greek Film Festival. She works alongside Jim Koutsoukos and Katerina Kotsonis on this festival. "It is interesting that men and women make up equal numbers in film school," she points out. "What is even more interesting is that women then go on to win more awards for their short films whilst at film school and beyond than their male counterparts." However, Dimadis finds it inexplicable that female directors become underrepresented as directors despite winning more awards for their short films. "Women need to be given the same directorial opportunities as men; our society cannot be defined by male vision alone," she says. "The female directorial talent is there... it just needs to be employed." *Last year Stella Dimadis lectured and was a guest speaker in Indonesia at the University of Brawijaya during the Kellner National Film Festival which also screened one of her short films The Interview which she co-produced with George J Makris and MadSav films. Her films The Mayan Calendar and Duke and Wyndsor, have also been screened locally and nationally in Australia.
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