Sold-out Sydney film debut for Billy Cotsis’ Magna Graecia: the Greko of Calabria


The Sydney film debut of Billy Cotsis’ Magna Graecia: The Greko of Calabria at Palace Norton Street Cinemas in Leichhardt on November 13 was a sold-out event.

The documentary film was the first of Cotsis’ three-part Magna Graecia series and was screened in cooperation with AHEPA NSW Inc’s Chapter Antigone and the Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association.

In a speech during the event, Cotsis said: “What the Greko speakers of Calabria seek is support, recognition of their efforts to continue the living tradition of Greko… With our documentary, we are assisting their efforts.”

The key theme of the event was given by the Consul General of Greece in Sydney Ioannis Mallikourtis in his brief address.

“Our concern is for the Hellenic language to continue to be spoken in Australia. As the Greko-speakers have managed for 2,800 years, then we are also able to do so,” Mr Mallikourtis said.

The film, which runs for 53 minutes, is the result of visits by Cotsis and his cinematographer Basil Genimahaliotis to the Greko-speaking villages of Calabria between 2002 and 2016.

When watching Magna Graecia: The Greko of Calabria the viewer heard Greko, English, Modern Hellenic and modern Italian being spoken, a multilingualism reflecting the situation in Calabria.

The film screening was followed by a discussion coordinated by young Calabrian-Sicilian Australian, Belinda Fiori. The Q&A session included Cotsis, Genimahaliotis and historian Dr Panayiotis Diamadis, who responded to a stream of questions from the audience.

AHEPA NSW INC President, Bill Skandalakis, also made a brief address, emphasising the pride of the organisation in being a sponsor of the film, part of AHEPA NSW INC’s efforts in support of Hellenic education.

As Chapter Antigone President, Charoulla Themistocelous, stated: “A number of members of our Chapter are also members of the Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association. In other words, involved in Hellenic education in Sydney. This is why it was our honour and our duty to screen this documentary and, in their turn, the other documentaries produced by Billy Cotsis about the Hellenic dialects of Calabria and Apulia. These films contain significant lessons for Australian Hellenism.”

The event was opened with a performance by Kostas Papoulidis on lyra and Peter Tsenkas on daouli, playing traditional Pontian music. The duties of emcee were performed by Themis Kallos, who stressed the significance of multilingualism and knowledge of the Hellenic language in modern society.

A second event is being scheduled for Sunday, 12 February 2023.




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