Filmmakers Georgia Papadopoulou and Chrysovalantis Stamelos produced a new documentary called “Journey Through Smyrna”, shot in Izmir, which aims to bring the classic Smyrneika genre back to its homeland.
The film was shot over the course of one week, and depicts Greeks and Turks performing soulful Smyrneika songs live in their original languages. According to the producers, the idea behind the film was to “shake off preconceived notions of ‘other-ness’ and as a positive step for artists and musicians to build a bridge between both cultures”.
The locations in which the movie was shot were chosen very carefully and specifically for their historic importance in the two cultures’ past. Buca-Boudja, known as Paradisos in Greek, was the village that catered to Greek and Levantine communities in the area before the population exchange of 1922. Karatas (Karatasi) and Karşiyaka (Kordelio) were referenced in the classic Smyrneiko song “Ti Se Meli Esena Ne”, which was performed at both locations.
Lastly, the two major concerts in the movie were performed live on the city’s two waterfronts. The daytime concert took place near the front of the historic Greek Embassy building on Kordon (Smyrna Quay), where the Great Fire of Smyrni took place years ago, and the evening concert was in Karşiyaka (Kordelio).
“Journey Through Smyrna” depicts the musicians, their performances, and reactions from packed audiences to this unique event. As producers Papadopoulou and Valantis stated, “It was the first time in Izmir’s history that such an event took place, and with such positive feedback from both the local governments and public, we would hope to repeat it in the future.”
The filmmakers now want to share this one of a kind journey with the world, by submitting “Journey Through Smyrna” to film festivals and universities all over the world, as well as searching for venues and festivals in which the featured NeaBanda could perform live.