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Greek-American Oscar Winner To Open Evia Green Cinema Festival

Alexander Payne.
Alexander Payne will open the 2nd Evia Film Project, Greece’s first green cinema festival, with a screening of his film Downsizing on June 20, 2023. Credit: Facebook / Greek Consulate LA

Two-time Academy Award-winner Alexander Payne will open the 2nd Evia Film Project, Greece’s first green cinema festival, running June 20-24, 2023.

The Greek-American film director, screenwriter and producer will present his science fiction comedy film Downsizing at the curtain rise of the green action hosted by Thessaloniki Film Festival in Northern Evia.

The film’s director of photography, twice Academy Award nominee Phedon Papamichael, who also has Greek roots like Payne, will also be present at the screening.

The film will be screened at Ciné Apollon in Edipsos, which was renovated in 2022 by the Festival and the local municipality.

The screening will be followed by a discussion between Payne and the audience.

A satire on environmental challenges

Shortly before the premiere of his greatly anticipated new film, The Holdovers, starring Paul Giamatti, beloved filmmaker Alexander Payne will come to Evia for the opening ceremony of the 2nd Evia Film Project to present his 2017 film, Downsizing – which is a surrealistic social satire commenting on the after-effect of climate change and the repercussions of overpopulation.

The film, starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig, lays out a wild scenario to counterbalance the explosion of the planet’s population: what would happen if some Norwegian scientists found a way to shrink the dimensions of an ordinary man?

Scene from Paramount Films' Downsizing, starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig.
Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig star Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, the 2017 film to open the 2nd Evia Film Project. Credit: Evia Film Project

“The master of lowkey and reachable narratives, Alexander Payne, is focusing on a story of a couple that wishes to become a part of a community of tiny people that want to live in environmentally friendly micro-communities,” Evia Film Project observes.

“The film is a biting comment on the utopias dreamt by ordinary common people and the stress that they put on the environment. Downsizing puts climate change and humanity under the microscope, while exploring the human-nature relationship,” it adds.

Alexander Payne’s Greek roots

Alexander Payne, who is of Greek ancestry, was born in Nebraska to a Greek family with roots from three areas in Greece: the island of Syros, Livadia, and Aegio. It was his paternal grandfather, Nicholas “Nick” Payne, who anglicized the family’s last name from “Papadopoulos”.

Known for his dark humor and satirical depictions of contemporary American society, Payne has given us award-winning films like Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), Sideways (2004), The Descendants (2011), Nebraska (2013) and Downsizing (2017).

He won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay twice, in 2004 and 2011, and has been nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Director. He has also directed multiple Oscar-nominated performances.

In 2017, Metacritic ranked him 2nd on its list of the 25 best film directors of the 21st century.

Payne became a Greek citizen in 2022, during a swearing-in ceremony at the Consulate General of Greece in Boston.

Evia Film Project returns with free screenings and events

Evia Film project is Thessaloniki Film Festival’s third pillar of actions, adding its name to Thessaloniki International Film Festival, held in November, and Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, held in March.

Its goal is to consolidate Northern Evia, a region fiercely hit by the 2021 devastating wildfires, as an international green cinema hub.

The full schedule of the festival includes free screenings, concerts, and industry masterclasses in towns and venues across Northern Evia.

Evia Film Project is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sports in collaboration with the Region of Central Greece, the Greek Film Centre, the Municipality of Istiea-Edipsos and the Municipality of Mantoudi-Limni-Agia Anna.

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