Nikita Chronis’ ambitious plan to change the face of Greek Australian cinema

Speaking with Neos Kosmos, Chronis outlined the Greek Australian Film Society’s inception, what they hope to achieve and just how they plan to go about positioning themselves as a key player in Australia’s film industry
Greek Australian actors Nikita Chronis and Costas Mandylor. Photo: Supplied Greek Australian actors Nikita Chronis and Costas Mandylor. Photo: Supplied

The third meeting of the nascent Greek Australian Film Society (GAFS), spearheaded by Melbourne-based actor, filmmaker, producer and model Nikita Chronis, took place last week at the Greek Centre.

Speaking with Neos Kosmos, Chronis outlined the society’s inception, what they hope to achieve and just how they plan to go about positioning the GAFS as a key player in Australia’s film industry.

“Overall the thinking behind the GAFS stems from an interest in Greek history, personally, growing up I was enamoured by Greek theatre, from antiquity through the byzantine period and into modernity,” Nikita explains.

“As an actor, I thought to myself, what’s the best way to integrate my love for history and culture, acting and storytelling, and of course my love for both my Greek and Australian identity.”

Nikita says it was these factors that coalesced to plant the seed of what the GAFS could be.

Nikita Chronis speaking with attendees at a meeting of the GAFS. Photo: Supplied
Nikita Chronis speaking with attendees at a meeting of the GAFS. Photo: Supplied

“It seemed to me like there hadn’t really been a truly unified, consolidated effort to not only preserve our films, but build upon that tradition of Greek filmmaking and produce our own.”

“The key difference here is that while it is one of our objectives, we don’t just want to exist solely for the purpose of screening what’s already been made, we want to make a mark of our own,” he says.

According to Nikita, after three meetings they’re well on their way to incorporation.

“The way we’ve envisioned it to eventually run, is we’ll have our committee complemented by a sub-committee focused on the creative element.”

“We’ll bring together actors, writers and producers who combined can workshop scripts to be pitched and connected with funding; and hopefully get those films made under the GAFS banner,” says Nikita.

He likens the GAFS to the cultural clubs of our community, the glue which has bound us together over the years.

The nascent Greek Australian Film Society. Photo: Supplied
The nascent Greek Australian Film Society. Photo: Supplied

“It seemed to me like there hadn’t really been a truly unified, consolidated effort to not only preserve our films, but build upon that tradition of Greek filmmaking and produce our own.”

“The key difference here is that while it is one of our objectives, we don’t just want to exist solely for the purpose of screening what’s already been made, we want to make a mark of our own,” he says.

According to Nikita, after three meetings they’re well on their way to incorporation.

“The way we’ve envisioned it to eventually run, is we’ll have our committee complemented by a sub-committee focused on the creative element.”

“We’ll bring together actors, writers and producers who combined can workshop scripts to be pitched and connected with funding; and hopefully get those films made under the GAFS banner,” says Nikita.

He likens the GAFS to the cultural clubs of our community, the glue which has bound us together over the years.

The nascent Greek Australian Film Society. Photo: Supplied
“We recognise that the link to Greece, especially for the third generation, has somewhat faded; many of us don’t even speak the language anymore.”

“If that link to Greece is severed, it is lost. As well as serving as a platform for the promotion of Greek culture, we want to get to the core of what it means to be Greek.”

Nikita says he wants the society to focus on principles, principles which he says “are at the heart of what it means to be Greek.”

“Philotimo, Leventia, Philoxenia; these things are at the heart of what it means to be Greek to me.”

Notable attendees at the meetings from the world of film have included Greek Australian actors Kostas Mandylor, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Peter Kalos and Sotiris Tzelios and Byzantfest founder Chris Vlahonasios.

Acting agent Terri Svoronos, casting director Peta Kats, director Nick Kozakis, producer Stella Dimadis, Greek Youth Generator head Dean Kotsianis and martial artist Vickie Simos are among others who’ve been involved with the GAFS’ formative meetings.

Former Victorian minister John Pandazopoulos has also been present at two out of three of the GAFS’ first sit-downs.

“As the creators of performance and storytelling and thus entertainment it’s incumbent on us to work together, support and promote each other and tell our unique stories to Australia and the world,” he told Neos Kosmos.

Nikita Chronis. Photo: Supplied

Nikita says the emergent society has received praise and most importantly support from similar organisations across Australia and overseas.

“Through reaching out we’ve gotten support from the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, which is great!” Nikita explains.

He also mentions there’s been ongoing dialogue with the Greek Film Society Sydney.

As for what the future holds in store, it’s expected the next meeting of the GAFS will see an official vote held to determine the Society’s council, with incorporation to follow soon after.

A little further afield, Nikita has big plans for the Society’s later acts.

“Well hopefully down the track, in terms of platforming past Greek films, we want to become a bit of a directory, a mini Netflix if you will,” he explains.

“That really plays into the touchpoints of my generation, how we consume content, it’d be fantastic to take on the role of a meeting point for all things Greek Australian film.”

He makes clear the road to today for the GAFS has been paved through “collective effort.”

“Everybody’s got busy schedules, but we really do feel like a big family who want to share ideas, have a laugh and make this happen.”

“At the end of the day our goal is to build off the achievements of those who came before us, celebrate Greek Australian artists and anchor ourselves in the principles which will enable us to deliver beautiful stories that need to be told.”

An ambitious plan, but one with the backing and know how to continue making strides, by all accounts the GAFS seems well on the way to becoming a prominent player in the world of Australian film.

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