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Christopher Kikis: A New Greek Major Player in the Film Industry

Photo by Pamela Berkovic
Having served as a producer and presenter in international theater spectacles  together with his management and sales skills from the period he worked in a major New York real estate company, Christopher Kikis is now on top of his game concentrated mostly in the film industry. As the Co- President of the film production company Ovie Entertainment based in NY, he has created and produced several successful projects. Christopher talked to us about his career path, about the challenges he faces in his work and lastly about his relationship with Greece.

Tell us about the projects you have been involved so far as a producer.

One of my most recent projects that got a lot of attention is DARKON a feature documentary – It won SXSW film festival, got a distribution deal with IFC (Independent Film Channel) and SIGNED a deal for the remake-writes with PLAN B (Brad Pitts company) to be a feature film with Paramount Pictures.

What are the challenges you have to face in your work?

The Challenges are the same in the “film business” as in any business model — creating new work for the company — as the President of the company you have to create new relationships with writers, directors and new forms of distribution lines and to forge relationships with the status quo, also.

You have been involved also in theatrical productions in the past. Tell us a little bit about that.

I produced theater for ten years internationally  — The last play I presented and produced was in 1998 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music – THE NEXT WAVE FESTIVAL – BAM — “THE MYSTERIES OF ELEUSIS” — with the National Theater of Greece — written by the great TASOS ROUSOS and Directed by Vasilios Calitsis

You used to work in real estate at some point.

I did real estate since I was at university, I would work in it part time. It’s a great way to make money, and control your time to focus on producing theater, and gives you the money to create and develop your work. In 1999 I got into real estate full time and became a managing director of a firm in Manhattan, NYC

How different is it from producing and in what way do you think this helped you in your work today?

I believe that my years of being a creative producer in theater and my tenure in the real estate firm; allows me today to understand two of the major factors in making films — Developing a good story/script and understanding how to set up and close a deal. Taking the time to do both and having the patience, like a hunter, waiting your turn and not rushing the work – you have to have the conviction to push and pull at the same time.

How is the entertainment business in NY lately and in what ways has it changed after the economic crisis?

I believe that we have more opportunity cause of the economic crisis; I believe that as an independent producer I am having conversations with the studios in Los Angeles and in NYC cause I understand how to make a film and deliver it for half the price – So it cost less and has the same level of quality. Its times like this that great projects arise — You have to think out of the box and make it happen! Thank GOD for this economic crunch!! (smiling)

What is your relationship with Greece?

I visit Greece once maybe twice a year — I like to come either in May-June or/and November-December and spend two week in Athens and two weeks in Ioannina; my parents live in Ioannina.

What are the things you like mostly about Greece?

I like what all people like about Greece; Its surrounding and the magical place it sits on this earth (oi topothesia tis sto xartie)  geologically — the weather; and most of all, as I call it “its natural state of chaos” the country is in – its refreshing and gives you a sense of true freedom.  

Have you ever thought of managing or getting involved in project taking place in Greek?

Taking place in Greece, YES. I am in talks with producers in Paris and London to do a co-production deal with my company, I am forming next year in Greece. Taking place in the Greek language, NO, not in Cinema; but I am very interested in Greek Television, YES

Tell us about Yanna Darili who is your distant cousin and is also living in New York this period.

Yanna is a dear friend, my parents and her dad are related in some form – We have been friends over 25 years — We would sit and dream as kids about her becoming a fashion model and that she would work as a Television personality and I will be a Theater/Cinema producer!! LOL! (laughing out loud) — its important to dream when we are children and as adults – too see us both achieve our dreams is exciting to us both — we are still living with in it.  I love having her back in NYC – We are currently developing several projects with Yanna and will get our chance to work together again.

What are some of the things you don’t like in general?

I don’t like people who are middle of the road — I like for everyone to take sides. I compete always with my self, so I get frustrated when I am around some one who doesn’t have an opinion – you have to have an opinion and you must be able to defend it with passion and also have the strength to admit that you can change your opinion – but NEVER admit you are wrong (smiling-jokingly) – I am working on that part LOL (laughing out loud)

Tell us about your future projects.

We have been working on a FILM SLATE – the last three years we put together and developed seven movies that we have purchased the rights to scripts, novels, short stories – from the book ANDORRA by Peter Cameron to the short stories of Jonathan Lethem, PROMISCUOUS STORIES to developing a script for children, FROG JUICE — Also this past May of 2010, we  got an Over Head Deal with SCREEN GEMS STUDIOS IN NYC, which opens me up to start developing bigger budget projects for film and also television.

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