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Until you become the king of fools

20 April 2013 / 00:04:23  GRReporter
5531 reads

Victoria Mindova

For anyone who thinks that Greece has no future and that the Greek people are good for nothing, here is the story of Sergios Vafiadis, aged 23, his friends and dozens of others, who have helped him make the first full-length documentary film about the Greek punk scene from the late 1970s until today.

The documentary presents the history, the origin and the development of a subculture in a country that has experienced the transition from a military junta to European democracy. It describes the reaction of the young people at the time, who tried to express their voice in a turbulent and uncertain socio-political situation. It involves representatives of different generations (those born in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and the children of the digital era), who tell the story of their personal paths in the context of music and their rebellion through it.

The documentary is entitled "Until you become the king of fools". It may sound contradictory, but it contains within itself the essence of the development of the punk scene. The music that arises from the pure need to oppose the system, to express genuine disagreement with the established routines, today is just as commercialized as ‘stadium rock’ and pop culture.

The shooting of the film lasted two years - from the first frames to the premiere in the middle of this month. The crew of seven people worked tirelessly to gather information from all possible sources. They interviewed more than 80 people, processed over 40 hours of operational material and they have objectively presented the struggle of punk in the country of Zorbas.

The beginning

Vafiadis’ idea was born while he was preparing his graduation work at university, where he studied directing. A year after his graduation, he maintained his contacts with the teachers, with whom he worked on various projects. They encouraged him to take up the creation of his own feature film, the idea of which was contained in his graduation work.

"We considered focusing on the Athenian scene at first. Then, we found out that we could not restrict ourselves and that there were many bands from other cities as well that had contributed to the development of this subculture," explains Vafiadis.

It was quite natural for the young people to start seeking help first from their close circle in terms of age and understanding and from young bands, influenced by punk music. The question that one might ask, he says, is, "Where are the old bands that laid the beginnings of the scene in Greece?"

First, the new graduates turned to the two members of Antidrasi (Αντίδραση) - a punk band founded in the mid 1980s. Their lyrics were about inequality and lost rights at a time when Greece was trying to find its new European face. The members of the band were the first to help out the project.

"Punk scene consists of a closed circle of people. They do not accept you easily or talk to you if you're younger or if they do not know you in person. Or so we thought," says the young man. "George and Spiros from Antidrasi were the first people who helped us out. At a later stage, we carried out our own research and connected with other bands."

Once they interviewed bands that had marked the beginning of the punk movement in Greece (Stress, Adiexodo, Antidrasi, Deus Ex Machina), more bands from the scene added to the documentary.

To make sure that they were on the right track, the creative group released its first trailer after interviewing 14 bands and collecting the relevant material. It had three to four thousand views on youtube in just six days.

"The first trailer was an experiment. We wanted to see the feedback. Some bands, which we had not been able to contact, called us after we released the trailer online. All the people we met were great. They were open and ready to help our work," Sergios comments on the participants in the film with enthusiasm.

The “evolution” of an idea

At first, the team used the equipment of the directing and cinematography school. Once the project extended, they sought help from the Greek producing company Stefi, which is an established player in the field of film, television and advertising.

"The company gave us cameras, lights and other necessary equipment, which we used for free. They knew that we were unable to pay for them, but that was not important for them. We were able to use all the equipment at any time, even at the last minute. If we asked for lights and other technical equipment two hours before the shooting and it was provided to us."

The technical assistance they received from the company combined with the enthusiasm of the team that works on the principle of "do it yourself" turns out to be the right formula to achieve professional results.

Passion before fashion

"The typical feature of punk scene in Greece is that although long years have passed, the it has never become commercialized," says Sergios. This is due to two main factors. The first is that Greece is a small country. There is no basis on which to develop a large-scale music industry, not to mention for securing a commercial boom with a genre of music, which is not typical for the region. The second factor, according to Sergios, is that the people who are really associated with the punk scene have preserved their authenticity and principles over the years.

Politics behind punk

Tags: Nine musesMusicCinemaPunk sceneGreece
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