Kytherians in Australia to be interviewed for new documentary

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A new documentary is in works which will share stories of emigration from an ancient civilisation to a whole new world. 

The documentary, which is planned to be filmed in 2024, will look at the stories of people who migrated from the Greek island of Kythera to Australia during the 20th and early 21st century.

Interviewing people throughout Australia and on Kythera, the documentary will capture the ways Kytherian families ceased opportunities in a new country and how they remain true to their Greek roots, long after establishing successful paths in Australia.  

In an exclusive interview, The Greek Herald spoke with John Logus and Marc Tewksbury about the production of the documentary and why it’s important to bring Greek migration stories to light through film.

The pair met through the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment where Marc runs the video services unit. Working in the field together, they struck up a good rapport and John, who is of Kytherian heritage, shared the idea with Marc about creating the documentary. 

John Logus was moved to create the documentary after visiting his homeland, Kytheria, in 2011.

John’s parents migrated to rural New South Wales in the 1950s, where he would grow up. In 2011 as an adult, John visited Kythera for the first time and while exploring the island, he realised how deep the connection between the small island and Australia goes. 

Inspired by conversations with locals who had lived in Australia and his knowledge of successful Kytherian Australian entrepreneurs, John was moved to create the documentary. With the Kytherian Association of Australia also celebrating its centenary last year, he felt it was a good time to bring these stories to life.

“It dawned on me that Kytherians were able to bring their culture and history to Australia, and almost adapt seamlessly to a different culture with a different language across a number of different domains – from labour hire to hospitality, politics, sports and medical science,” John tells The Greek Herald

“This storytelling is needed. We want to capture a moment of time in film, with people and places. It’s almost a time capsule.”

The documentary will be informative, educational and emotional for viewers, the producers explain. 

Marc Tewksbury was on board with the idea to create the documentary.

Marc, a long-time producer and film maker in television and corporate production, has worked with the likes of Digital Effects, Fairfax, Channel 7 and Fox Sports, as well as produced short films and documentaries. 

“I was on board. I thought it was a great idea to talk about migration from a small place in the Aegean Sea all the way to the other side of the earth [Australia],” Marc tells The Greek Herald

“You’ve got the Second World War halfway, and then you have this massive migrant flow from all over Europe to Australia. This little group who decided to upend themselves after the horrific nature of the second war, to leave Kythera behind and come to a new land… 

“It’s so daunting to pack up, leave your family, and all you have known to go to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.”

John agrees and says, “There was a gap of emptiness in the heart we think will come through in the documentary. While grandparents and parents understood their sons and daughters migrating to Australia would likely be good for them, it was an emotional sacrifice.”

“So, how do you keep these family stories going for Kytherians living in Australia who lose a little bit of their history every generation?” John adds. “That’s why this is important.”

They point out the bravery of Kytherians coming from an ancient culture to Australia, which had not been established yet. 

“The degree of community involvement in rural and regional Australia is unbelievable. Kytherians became mayors, built swimming pools and kept sporting clubs alive. It’s phenomenal,” John says.

John at the wharf where Kytherians boarded for their journeys to Australia and other countries.

The film will be a hybrid of stories from different generations – a legacy to pass on. 

With a vision to share the film in cinemas across rural and regional Australia, donations are welcome. The Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, which supports research in Greek language, culture and history, kicked off the documentary with the first donation.

Submissions are open to the public until the end of November with the final list selected by the producers at their discretion. Both interviews and filming will be conducted in Australia and on Kythera. The submissions can be either in Microsoft Word or MP3 formats and filming will begin in May 2024, subject to changes. 

You can reach out to the Marc and John at: kytheradoco@gmail.com

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