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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 July 2018
ARTS 20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 JULY 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM A still from Tangles and Knots. Renee Marie Petropoulos (R) with producer Yingna Lu at the Berlinale. 'I want to film a dark comedy in Greece' Up-and-coming filmmaker Renée Marie Petropoulos talks about her participation in some of the most prestigious festivals in the world and describes how she was shaped by her Greek background NIKOS FOTAKIS "It has been crazy!" Renée Marie Petropoulos exclaims, as she talks about the fairly recent experience of having her short film Tangles and Knots screened in two of the most significant cultural events in the world - the Berlin Film Festival (the Berlinale) and the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. "I'd never been to a big festival before and this experience opened my little Australian worldview of cinema," says Renée. "I met so many inspiring filmmakers! SXSW was way too much fun, while Berlinale is very different. I felt like a flimmaker for the first time." So, how did a 27-year-old filmmaker from Sydney end up in two of the most prestigious cinematic events in the world? Simple: she just applied. "Right after I finished my MFA in Directing at Columbia University, I applied at all the big festivals," she remembers, admitting to being surprised to get the first email from Berlinale. "I felt really great to get that kind of validation." In fact, Tangled and Knots, a film about the complex relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter, was developed as her thesis at the prestigious New York university. "It took two years to get it finished," Renée says of the process. "We shot it in Sydney in Jan- uary 2016 and finished editing in June 2017." Dealing with the themes of female sexuality and toxic masculinity, the film is very topical. "When I started working on it, it was before the whole #MeToo movement, but timing was significant," she admits. "I honesty don't think I know any woman who hasn't had some sort of experience of harassment or sexual assault," she says. "These things have been happening before the Weinstein scandal and are still happening. The difference is that now we have a public forum to explore these issues. For me, it was an exploration of something that I have been feeling strongly about for many many years and I hope that the film contributes to the conversation happening right now." The film itself comes from a very personal place for her. "I wanted to write a very personal film and explore the complicated relationship between a mother and a daughter," she explains. "It comes from a very honest place; I based the characters on my own relationship with my mum while I was growing up; our relationship was very intimate, very open, very complex. We would be like girlfriends, sharing things and she helped me open up. My family is the most important part of shaping who I am as a person and a filmmaker." And she says that being Greek also played a role. "I think this openness and honesty in our relationship is definitely Greek," she says, laughing and talks about her love of her grandparents, who came to Australia from Nafplio, Kalamata, Pylos and Rhodes, and of the stereotypical Greek upbringing. "Growing up Greek Australian means being asked 'why aren't you a lawyer?', or a doctor, or accountant, but I'm happy to have two sisters with real jobs, which means I'm allowed to be the black sheep of the family," she jokes. "Having said that, I truly feel that I'm a Greek Australian filmmaker. I love telling Australian stories, but I'm interested in expanding it and shooting something in Greece. It's a longtime dream of mine and I hope to make it a reality." At the moment, she has a few projects under development, one of which is a dark comedy set in Greece. "I'd love to film it in Greece," she says. As for her main artistic aspiration at the moment, it is very simple. "I'm 27 years old, so my aspiration is to shoot my first feature film before I'm 30." 'Tangles and Knots' is screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival as part of the 'Accelerator 1' program (featuring short films from emerging Australian and New Zealander filmmakers), on Saturday 11 and Sunday 19 August. For more information, visit miff.com.au Multicultural Arts Victoria and BlackCat Gallery present ‘Transit’ Stacey Korfiatis compiles a new solo exhibition as part of the Emerge in Yarra Festival As part of her current exhibition 'Transit' at the iconic Black Cat Gallery, artist Stacey Korfiatis will also hold an art workshop titled 'Atypical?' supported by Multicultural Arts Victoria and curated by Pimpisa Tinpalit. Both the exhibition and the one–day life drawing and painting workshop focus on the fetishisation of youth, thinness, and unattainable perfection, by looking at and normalising difference and diversity in human bodies. The exhibition's official opening took place last night and the workshop will be held on Tuesday July 24 from 6 - 8.30 pm. The workshop is designed for emerging/intermediate/ established artists who are looking to explore a life drawing of a human body with a model. Participants are encouraged to bring along their practice materials (pencils, paints, brushes, paper, canvas and other materials that they would normally work with). The artist will not give a lesson on how to 'draw' or 'paint' but how to appreciate and celebrate the beauty in bod- ies of all forms including ageing, ethnicity, visible and invisible disabilities, short- and long-term illness and injury. Korfiatis describes it as an intersection of inspiration, opportunity, and optimism colliding with burnout – resulting in the artist calling a truce with her poor mental health, and negotiating a new resolution shown within this exhibition. It is also an intersection of atypical representations: both the varied people and bodies on display in the artworks, and the mental and physical health of the artist. ‘Transit’ is a mix of new, existing, and in-progress work. About the artist: Stacey Korfiatis holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Metals & Jewellery) from Monash University. She has had ongoing involvement in the Melbourne art community since 2008. She has participated in a number of group, solo and curated shows. In ad- dition to making her own work, Stacey has worked as studio assistant for jeweller Blanche Tilden. * The ‘Atypical? visual art workshop is on Tuesday 24 July from 6 – 8.30 pm. The event is free, but spaces are limited. Bookings essential via Eventbrite. Go to https:// multiculturalarts.com.au/ event/atypical-visual-artworkshop-by-stacey-korfi-atis/ * ‘Transit’ exhibition is on until Sunday 29 July at Black Cat Gallery (95 Johnston St, Collingwood, VIC).
14 July 2018
28 July 2018