The emotional documentary “Istoria”, which chronicles the life of the Australian-born producer’s Greek grandfather, as well as his return to the Greek village he came from while suffering from Alzheimer’s, has just won Best Documentary at the prestigious 2017 London Greek Film Festival.
Greek-Australian Nicolaos Demourtzidis had always admired his grandfather Elias’ strength and marveled at his storytelling abilities. When Elias started to show signs of Alzheimer’s, Nicolaos decided to take a trip to Greece with his father and Elias. They revisited the Florina village of Pelargos that his grandfather had left decades ago after the Greek Civil war, so his grandfather could perhaps remember some more details about his life and also get some personal closure.
Though “Istoria” received the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Award in 2016, Nicolaos never expected that his documentary would also win at the prestigious London film festival.
The 31-year old producer and cinematographer told Neos Kosmos, “I really didn’t think we would win. London [Greek Film Festival] is recognised all over the globe and is super competitive, nevertheless, I am so humbled that our film was chosen. I feel that our hard and emotionally challenging work has once again paid off. If there is one feeling that makes me even more proud than any tangible awarded object is the fact that, above all, our Istoria honours the memory of my pappou which gives me immense inner peace and joy, even though he is no longer with us”.
Though Elias unfortunately passed away before he could see the completed film, Nicolaos is glad he made this movie about his grandfather, not only to honor his memory, but also to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and give an insight into those struggling with it.
The documentary was made by a three-man Australian team: David Ockenden (director/producer), Brad Halstead (director of photography) and Nicolaos Demourtzidis (executive producer). It will also be screening at the Cyprus International Film Festival ‘Golden Aphrodite’ Pafos, which takes place June 14-24 this year.