Metaphor Entertainment announced that a feature film production titled “DECEMBER RIOTS” is planning to commence principal photography in Athens, Greece on June 28th. The film which is inspired by the riots in Greece is produced and directed by Dimitri Vorris, and written by Vorris and longtime collaborator screenwriter/novelist Michael Kokkinaris. Spyro Pagonis is the cinematographer.
The intense, claustrophobic thriller/drama is described as a cross between “DAS BOOT” and “LA HAINE”. Story focuses on Europeans and Americans trapped in an underground movie theater in downtown Athens during the December 2008 riots that followed the cold-blooded execution by two policemen of a 16 year-old student sitting at a café. Dimitri Vorris spoke to us about his experience in Greece during the riots and how the idea for the film was developed
How did you get the idea to turn the riots into a movie?
I was trapped in “ASTY” (which means in ancient hellenic language The City) movie theater, in Athens downtown, on December 8, 2008, along with well-known in the international circut arthouse distributors and theater owners George Stergiakis and Antonis Stergiakis. And the filmgoers that were trying to return to their homes. I was supposed to go to the premiere of BANK BANG in the north suburbs, produced by my friend Yiannis Iakovides, and never made it. We were a group representing our nation, a public employee, a housewife, young couples on a date, demonstrators entering to find shelter etc.
My offices were next to the Polytechnic school, on Mavromataion Street… I inhaled a lot of teargas and my vision of the world has been altered since then (laughs). I still remember the pain in the eyes. The agony to breath. We were walking in the area and it was like a city hit by a force majeure, natural disaster. I wanted to make a movie back then but nobody wanted to finance it. They prefered to do bottom line farce comedies, an alltime low. Or state subsidized trash that nobody wanted to see. I never wanted to be part of this system. One month later I left Greece.
Which parts of the movie are based on real facts and which are fiction?
It’s based on a real incident. There’s pure reality, the riots, and reality extended to fiction.
Like everybody else I was outraged. I was angry. The media couldn’t explain the phenomenon. How kids from the ritzy suburbs united with working class people and immigrants…And how secret agents and provocateurs entered the mix to distract the public opinion.
We had the most corrupted government in the world, ala Banana Republic. They destroyed Greece.
I’m already getting warnings, through Facebook and emails, “you can’t do that…it’s too early”, “this is a dangerous script”, “you’re going to be in trouble”. I don’t give a euro!
I want to make a statement about the current situation and the shape of things to come. This is a metaphor:If people don’t learn to work together, to live together, they are going to be terminated. It’s a safe road to extinction. But this is also a movie with a beggining, a middle and an unexpected finale. So you see in the movie Americans and Europeans, putting culture clashes aside, trying to survive. It’s an intense claustrophobic, fast-paced thriller/drama but there’s also a subplot. It’s an oxymoron though:Hellas had to go through the bottom of the cup in order for certain people to understand basic things. Everybody was laughing. Now they are sorry. Sometimes it’s too late for excuses.
Do you think we are rebels as a nation? Is this Democracy or does it cross the border according to your opinion?
I’m quoting Iphicrates on the film poster:”The story of my generation begins with me. Yours ends with you”… Maybe I should quote the Sex Pistols also:”There’s no future in Greece’s dreams”.
Hellenic population became controllable and pathetic because of television. Now they discovered what happened and they became angry.
Going against the flow is part of our DNA. We invented democracy but also hubris and vindication. Hellenic culture shaped cosmos in a unique way. But that was then. This is now: “The horror, the horror”…In the heart of darkness. And no Joseph Conrad to be the captain.
We have to rescue ourselves. Nobody is going to rescue us.
When the water is boiling the byproduct is steam. So in December of 2008 we had peaceful demonstrations, sit-downs with candles that the super-smart and extremely reasonable SWAT teams cracked down, and extreme violence-mostly caused by provocateurs mixing with the demonstrators. We had an indifferent prime minister who loved playing Playstation and a gang of crooked rats used to run the country. There’s no democracy when you murder in cold-blood a 16 year-old sitting at a cafe. That’s hubris. And there’s no democracy when four people die in a bank branch. That’s a murderous act and hubris too.
The so-called generation of Polytechneion destroyed everything for the next generations (moral values, dignity, judicial system, financial system). They looted Greece. Effectively they killed slowly their own children and grandchildren. You see 16-24 year-olds they don’t know where to go, where to hide, what to believe, or not to believe.They are running around hopeless, desperate, confused, pathetic. Well I’m not! And there’s also a 5% of the population who are fighters too. I’m talking mainly about the Hellenism of diaspora. We are going to come back with a vengeance and reclaim our country…Sooner than later.
Who is producing the movie?
I’m producing. The sales company is financing.
The Stergiakis family and AMA FILMS is also making a superb effort to help us production-wise. My long time collaborators novelist/screenwriter Michael Kokkinaris and cinematographer Spyro Pagonis are also onboard. Most of the crew I’d worked with before are joining us.