The Darwin Greek GleNTi Festival has been running since 1988, making it the longest running cultural festival in the Northern Territory. It’s renowned not only for its traditional Greek food, but also for its Greek dancing performances where dancers wear costumes handmade in Greece.
This year, however, the festival was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and this devastated Darwin’s Greek Australian community and the hundreds of interstate travellers who make an annual trip to the Territory for the festival.
But as luck would have it, in came Georgia Politis, the GleNTi’s official photographer, who developed an innovative solution – to create a timelapse video of the festival using footage dating right back to 1988. While it couldn’t replace the atmosphere of the physical festival, many people were still overjoyed its history was being collated into a kind of digital video archive.
“The initial plan for this short GleNTi film actually came about in 2018, when I began photographing and filming the GleNTi professionally. It was the 30th anniversary and we had 30 years of tradition and spirit to tell. I wanted to show it to the world… I wanted to remind people of where we came from, and show its history to those who were not aware of what it looked like through the years,” Georgia tells The Greek Herald exclusively.
“While I had created a temporary 30 year welcome film, it actually took me two years to gather enough footage from people, as well as gathering my own, to create something memorable which I completed this year.”
Two years seems like a long time to produce a video which runs for three minutes, but Georgia says the creative process was her “favourite part” as she could “share a part of Darwin’s legacy and history in a visual form” which Darwin’s Greek Australian community could “share and enjoy.”
“It was a very difficult but satisfying task, from trying to get the footage from the community, to getting hardware and software to convert VHS to digital format. I even had to borrow a VHS player and order a specific device from the United States in order to get the footage properly,” Georgia says.
“Creating the GleNTi film itself in my programs took around two to three months, as I had to individually watch all the clips I had and start cutting them down to the best moments for the film.”
But all her hard work paid off, as the film has already been watched 4,500 times since its release on Facebook and is continuously being re-shared.
In fact, the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Northern Australia, Nicholas Poniris, said the video was very “well received” by members of his Community.
“The reaction was huge and the video was very well received. For many people, it brought back memories they forgot over the years. It got people talking about the GleNTi,” Mr Poniris tells The Greek Herald.
“Recording historical and anecdotal information, image and film is very important to leave a positive legacy, which will lead to the longevity of events and festivals showcasing Greek history, culture, traditional costume, music, dance and food to the greater community.”
All important aspects of a Greek person’s identity which will once again be on display next year, when the Darwin GleNTi festival is back at its best.
“GleNTi 2021 will be special. We’re well into the planning stages and are excited to host this iconic event,” Mr Poniris teases.