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‘Yiayia Mou’: Koraly Dimitriadis’ film to focus on intergenerational trauma for Greek women

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Poet, writer and performer Koraly Dimitriadis is well known for capturing controversial topics within Australia’s Greek community through film and poetry.

That’s why when we heard about her upcoming Koralation Party on Sunday, March 26 and the premiere of her film Yiayia Mou, we just had to reach out. This is what she had to say.

Tell us a little bit about ‘Yiayia mou.’ What is the film about?

The film is of my poem Yiayia mou published in my book, Just Give Me The Pills, and I will be launching the illustrated edition of this book on the night of the Koralation Party. I wanted to capture the migrant experience with this poem, one that spans the generations – my grandmother’s story of being forced to marry my grandfather, the story of my mum and aunts who were sent to Australia to be married, and my story of how I was raised to perceive marriage as success but how it ended in divorce. I wanted to highlight the intergenerational trauma of women not having control over their own lives and bodies. 

‘Yiayia mou’ was filmed in the ancient theatre of Paphos where nobody has performed before. What was that experience like for you?

It was an interesting experience. Firstly because I got to work with Cypriot American actor, director, cinematographer Ellpetha Tsivicos, who I had only ever met digitally during COVID-19 during my festival, No I am not washing your dirty plate arts festival. It just so happened she would be in Cyprus when I was there so it felt like “it was meant to be,” that these two Cypriot second generation women were coming together from opposite sides of the world to tell an important story: the heartbreak and pain of our grandmother’s, who sacrificed so much.

Walking on the ancient theatre, the ground itself was harsh, little prickly things kept getting stuck on my dress. The terrain itself needed navigating – the land felt angry. Like there were stories there that needed to be shouted. I tried to use that anger in my performance, to work with it and I’m very happy with the result. I am so grateful for the support I received from the Cypriot government, the Department of Antiquities, the University of Sydney and Dr Craig Barker, who manages the archaeological excavations in the Paphos Theatre.

The film also includes shots on the Limassol foreshore, and those are by my daughter – so that’s four generations in one film – very epic and exciting!

Koraly Dimitriadis.

The film will premiere at your Koralation Party this weekend. What can people expect from this event?

The event itself will have a few exciting elements. Apart from celebrating my birthday, I will be launching the ten year anniversary edition of Love and F–k Poems, which is a bestseller for the Australian poetry genre, as well as the illustrated edition of Just Give Me The Pills. There will be a 40 minute film screening, as the event is a bar/cinema, it’s a very cool venue. I will be screening the films I have made that originate from these two books, including two premiers, Yiayia mou and It I were a man. The films have a strong language warning so although you can bring children, some have an R rating.  

You’re well-known for capturing controversial topics through film and poetry. Where does this passion come from and what is the value of using these creative mediums?

My writing stems from a place of honesty. I think my writing is so honest because for a long time I wasn’t honest with myself and I was living my life according to what others expected of me, living my life according to what I thought I was “supposed to do.” My art is my liberation. I write about these things to heal myself, and to heal and help others. Nothing makes me feel happier than when someone tells me my art helps them. It’s the best feeling in the world because I heal myself and I heal others.  

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

I have a few unpublished books, a novel, a short story collection and two poetry books so stay tuned – there is a book coming out next year. More to come on that.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

The Koralation party is on Sunday, March 26. You can also watch online. Tickets can be bought here: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=1011592.

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