A new European co-production is preparing to shoot in the UK and Greece. Based on real events , most of the film will take place in a haunted house. The man behind the movie is Konstantinos Koutsoliotias a new upcoming director with a lot of experience with visual and 3D effects. We talked with Dimitris Avrazis, the executive producer, who shared some of the secrets of this highly anticipated film project.
Tell us a few things about the plot of your new feature film project.
“The Winter” is a modern romantic thriller that takes place in the mountain village of Siatista in Greece. Niko is a romantic, young Greek writer living in London. When his finances go astray, he hides out in the neglected family house in the Greek mountain town of Siatista. Surrounded by the ghosts of the past, Niko must uncover the mystery of his father’s death and retain his grasp on reality.
How did the project started? Is it based on real events?
It all began when the director, Konstantinos Koutsoliotas, inherited his family home, a 400-year-old haunted house in the remote mountain village of Siatista. As the family legends surrounding the house began to emerge, it became absolutely clear that this was the beginning of a film. With stories of creatures that appear at night, poltergeist phenomena, and other supernatural experiences occuring in the house over the years, Kostas and his co-writer, Elizabeth E. Schuch, wove together some of the real-life scary stories, added the economic crisis into the mix, and with a little creative liberty, crafted a story that is fantastical and hits on the strange experience of ex-pats returning to Greece to find it changed.
Tell us about the documentary you are doing together with the movie and also a few things about the story of the mysterious house in which you are going to be filming for the movie.
While filming in a location with such a history of haunting, it’s more likely than not that we’ll be have some supernatural experiences of our own on the shoot. With camera crew standing by, we’ll chart the making of the movie, stay overnight in a house where no one has dared to remain after dark for over ten years, and monitor for otherworldly activity. With interviews of the director’s family, and village locals, we’re getting first hand accounts about mysterious experiences in the house. Also, we will be delving into the past of the house, which has a colorful history as a blackmarketeering base, a prison during the Ottoman occupation, a possible safehouse for Orthodox Church treasures, a fur-making factory, and a hiding place for guerrillas during the Greek Civil War in the late 1940s.
Tell us a few things about the director of the movie Konstantinos Koutsoliotas.
Konstantinos Koutsoliotas is a Greek visual effects and live action director, currently heading his own production studio in London, Melancholy Star.
With a strong artistic background, Kostas has produced animation for Hollywood films, high-end commercials, documentaries, TV series, feature films and music videos. Currently, Kostas is in production creating 3D flying saucers for Jean Claude Van Damme’s latest action movie. Now, as a writer-director, ‘The Winter’ is his first feature film, after a number of short films and music videos. With subject matter close to home, it was easy to find the inspiration to return to Greece for the shoot.
This is a project I absolutely love, and it’s been easy for me to get behind a core team I have absolute faith in: director Konstantinos Koutsoliotas, and his wife Elizabeth E. Schuch, his co-writer, co-producer, and production designer. While they work hard bringing the project to life on the production end, I make the social media and PR happen, as well as promoting and approaching sponsors for support. It’s a tall order to look for financial assistance in the current market in Greece, so it’s a lot of creative strategy entailed. Building the PR campaign and connecting the audience directly via social media: blog, Facebook, Twitter and our website, as well as our crowd-sourcing campaign on Kickstarter. It’s difficult times, but we’re still making the impossible happen, finding volunteers and unusual sources of support. Although Greece is in bad financial situation, there have been some people that want to helping any way they can, creative young people that have offered time, resources and energy, the most valuable help of all.
Tell us about the rest of the Greek team that is going to be in the movie.
We’ve scored an incredible coup in securing the support of Active Member, the Athens-based band responsible for the invention of the Low-Bap music movement. Their unique, soulful, modern Greek music has a massive following that taps into the heart of the frustrated youth in Greece, in the lost generation that is looking to find their place in a society that is coming apart. Mixalis Mitakidis has composed a stunning double album of music for the film, entitled “La Bruja Muerta, The Winter,” to be released during the shoot in November. The music is strong and thrilling, bringing the film to new heights. They will be responsible for the entire sound editing and score of the film, and we’re honored to work with them.
We could not be producing the film without the support of the local people in Siatista. From the mayor’s office we’ve had a warm welcome and help with many details of the shoot, the Koutsoliotas family has (of course) been fantastic, and Despina Terti, head of the local tourist office, has been an angel in helping to arrange the details of feeding our crew and a support from the earliest days of our plans.
How long have been living in London and in what other projects you have been involved so far?
Several months ago, I moved to London to develop my career as a photographer, social media campaigner and events planner. Alongside my social media and PR campaigning for ‘The Winter’, I’ve been photographing live events, including circus shows, music festivals, and freelancing as a paparazzo-on-demand.
What are your future plans?
Right now, I’m in talks with sponsors and documenting the shoot. After we wrap, our PR campaign really begins. and during the post production, we’ll be rounding up international support for the film and distribution. Planning the premiere and the festival showings, and co-ordinating with the international collaborators to make sure the film gets to it’s audience. This year, Melancholy Star is also working on VFX for a UFO film starring Jean Claude Van Damme, as well as developing it’s next in-house features in London and abroad, so there will be a lot to do in keeping up with all of the social media news as we launch into everything. I’m really excited about all the projects we’ve got going on, and can’t wait to take Melancholy Star to international status in the film world.