Freedom Besieged – unshackling the youth of greece

January 24, 2018

So stepping away from my usual music blogs to tell you about a breathtaking project from wonderful individuals  …. As many of you might remember, a few years ago I...

So stepping away from my usual music blogs to tell you about a breathtaking project from wonderful individuals  ….

As many of you might remember, a few years ago I was involved with an amazing project called O Tharraleos (The Courageous One) … it was a short film that dealt with the current political climate in Greece but also went beyond the Greek people and touched the hearts of anyone who has dealt with adversity. The film did very well winning several awards, was played all around the world, and even was played at Chinese Theatre in California. I just found out from the film’s producer Demitri Douzenis that the film only cost $17 to produce and made most of the $17 dollars was mostly the cinnamon buns that we ate during the filming. As well, I still can’t believe that we created that little film in less than 24 hours. I think I drank more cans of Coca-Cola that night than I ever have in those 24 hours – perhaps that’s why I can’t drink pop anymore lol

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So assoicate  producer Demitri Douzenis and producer/director Panayioti Yannitsos have joined forces again to create a documentary about Greece.  And last night I was able to see the trailer for it. It is called Freedom Besieged  that will be released this spring. Unlike other documentaries about Greece – it doesn’t deal with politics, ancient Greece or the best places to visit Greece …. Instead it deals with the humans, the individuals of Greece. It focuses on how the daily struggle of individuals in cities, towns, and villages as the result of the financial difficulties that Greece is facing. As Panayioti Yannitsos shared with us – this documentary shares the struggle of every Greek in Greece today. The powers of the world made decisions that affected real everyday people in a land that overcome thousands of years of suffering. It saddens me that a lot of media has portrayed these humans, these individuals as the problem. I’m not going to become all political but when you see comments on Facebook like “Greeks need to actually learn their history” (referring to current Macedonia situation) or “If Greeks just paid their taxes, none of this would have happened” it sadness me that the power of words has created a negative affect on so many people. What I am though is excited to see this documentary when it is released and see how the human spirit can never be crushed and how we find ways of overcoming adversity one way or another.

I won’t spoil the trailer (I understand that other evenings such as this will be happening in other parts of Canada as well) but I will say this – be prepared to see the beauty of Greece in a new vivid way. We are so use to the beauty of white churches, sandy beaches and palm trees; the rest of the country gets left behind. Be prepared to be stunned not only visually as but also emotionally. I must say there wasn’t a dry tear in the house and when the trailer finished (just the trailer mind you) everyone sat a second in silence just stunned by the beauty, the sadness, and the love that is Greece. The silence was followed by thunderous applause. We then enjoyed a wonderful Q&A period from the director Panayioti, associate producers Demitri Douzenis and Robert Peck (former Ambassador of Canada to The Hellenic Republic (2011-2015)). We learnt how they filmed 7000 minutes of 4K footage, including interviews with Greek icons Giorgios Karagounis and Pyrros Dimas, how they navigated the Exarcheia neighbourhood discussing anarchy with youth activists, and how they interviewed  like Noam Chomsky to see what they had to say about Greek youth.

associate producer Demitri Douzini’s youngest daughter

Kyrio (Mr.) Athanasios Ioannou

As well present at the event was the Greek Consul General – Kyrio (Mr.) Athanasios Ioannou who gave a wonderful introduction to the trailer. The facility was generally provided by the Hellenic Community of Vancouver and representing the Board of Directors of Madame President  Pamela Tsatouhas who gave a heart-warming speech about the trailer and creating a stronger community that will showcase artists of Hellenic descent. It was a wonderful evening with witty charming conversations about culture, art, and the future.

Sadly though to finish this film, funds are needed. I know there are so many good projects to donate out there but if you want to support art and the future of Greek youth – this would be a wonderful project to be a part of. I was especially touch to hear that if donations are given through the Hellenic Community that a tax receipt will be given. If you want to do this – please contact the community at 604-266-7148 or

Ms. Pamela Tsatouhas

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photo credits: NPP

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