Kay Pavlou’s powerful films on Cyprus to be screened this week in Sydney

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Two short films by award-winning film director, Kay Pavlou, will be screened on Tuesday, April 4 at The Cyprus Club in Stanmore, Sydney from 7pm as part of the Greek Festival of Sydney.

Cyprus – a People Divided and Ghost Town, as well as a trailer for Pavlou’s upcoming drama series Trapeze, are all part of the Cyprus Movie Night.

Cyprus – a People Divided is a 1990 SBS documentary about the aftermath of the 1974 Turkish invasion. Ghost Town is a 2022 documentary about Famagusta – formerly a town of 40,000 residents which has remained uninhabited for nearly 50 years.

Pavlou’s new film Trapeze, which is set to be released in 2024, is inspired by her family in Rizokarpaso – the enclave where Greeks who refused to leave when Turkey occupied northern Cyprus are still living.

Ahead of the event, The Greek Herald spoke to Kay Pavlou about the movie night and what to expect.

What inspired the Cyprus Movie Night?

I’ve been a professional film and TV director now for several decades. My career started actually in the 1990s and I’ve directed both drama and documentary from McLeod’s Daughters to Who do you think you are?. But it all that time, I keep returning to the story of Cyprus. It is the story that really is my destiny to tell because it’s very much from my soul, from my heart, from my ancestry. In some ways, I feel like I have got the skills so that I can give back to my community and to my family. All the other work I do is important, but I keep returning to the Cyprus story.

This year, post-COVID, I’ve got renewed energy for a film I want to make about Cyprus next year, which will be a feature film and my most ambitious yet. Preparing for that, I thought I’d create a Cyprus Movie Night showing what I’ve done so far and talk about the film I want to make next year and create a community around the film that I want to make. Making feature films is a long and lonely journey and I thought I could share what I’ve done so far and ask people to join me on that journey. So I’ll be asking people to give me their emails and I’ll create a little club.

Kay’s cousin Stella Maria Hadjiconstantinou and her son.

Can you give us some insight into the films that will be screened?

Cyprus – a People Divided is the very first documentary I made as a professional for SBS. I went to Cyprus in 1990 and filmed a total of eight stories from different perspectives mainly Greek Cypriots and one Turkish Cypriots. From street poets to former diplomats, men, women, old and young. I wanted to give an impression of what Cyprus was like in 1990. That’s the first documentary I’m showing.

After then I’m showing one I made last year in 2022 and that is very specifically about Famagusta, which is the ghost town of Cyprus.

Famagusta.

The third is a trailer for my feature film that I’ll be making next year. I’ve made that trailer from footage of my own family because the feature is based on characters from my family. When Cyprus was divided into two in 1974, my parents village was the only village where the Greeks refused to leave and they’ve stayed there ever since protected by the United Nations. My grandparents and one of my uncles refused to leave and it took us 30 years to be able to visit them because the border was closed. My feature film is based on the day I spent with my family after 30 years.

What will you be discussing with the audience at the movie night?

The night will be an interactive discussion. For me, it’s an offering to the community to say, ‘These are the films I’ve made about our story. I’d like to share them with you.’ We can discuss their experience, my experience, keep it an open floor. For those who don’t know anything about Cyprus, it’s a beginning of broadening the story and bringing people on board to say, ‘this is an important story, would you like to be part of the telling of it?’

Photo supplied.

What do you hope people take away from the night?

I hope that people become more informed about Cyprus – those who don’t know a lot. The ones that do know a lot, I hope I give them an emotional experience that will connect with what they and their families have been through.

Event details:

  • Location: Cyprus Community Club, 58/76 Stanmore Rd, Stanmore
  • Date and Time: Tuesday, April 4 at 7pm
  • Cost: Free but bookings essential at cyprusclub@optusnet.com.au

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