NEW YORK – The Hellenic Film Society USA’s New York Greek Film Expo kicked off September 29 with the world premiere of Army Baby, directed by George Kordellas, which thrilled the opening night crowd at the Village East Cinemas in Manhattan. .
The comedy about a group of soldiers caring for a little boy who has been left behind at their military base, stars Ian Stratis as Giannis Kontogiannis, the titular character’s lovable new dad. From the opening scene, the playful film draws the viewer into the universe of this group of charming and quirky characters. There are some broad outlines regarding regional Greek stereotypes, for example, but the humor strikes the right balance and the film is a welcome diversion in difficult times.
Hellenic Film Society President Jimmy DeMetro delivered the opening night welcome speech and introduced Greece’s Consul General in New York, Konstantinos Konstantinou, who noted “the love and dedication of DeMetro for what it does, and what it does is very, very important to Greek culture.” , promoting Greek cinema, not only in New York, but throughout the United States of America.
Consul General Konstantinou also welcomed actors and directors from Athens for the event and encouraged everyone to attend upcoming screenings at the Film Expo.
DeMetro recognized its associates, all volunteers, “who work very, very hard and share a love of Greece, a love for the art and an enormous respect for Greek filmmakers who do what they do at enormous cost. sacrifices, in great difficulty”.
Andreas Konstantinou, one of the biggest stars of Greek cinema, is the honorary host of this year’s Expo and attended the opening night screening. He said he first heard about the Film Expo a few years ago and thought it was a great idea and “now it’s happening.”
Konstantinou noted that it is significant that the New York Greek Film Expo is taking place when there is such a great need, especially for Greek cinema, and it is a great opportunity for people to together and to be able to exchange ideas by seeing their films.
Mariella Savvides who plays Fofo in Army Baby was also on hand for the screening and graciously participated in a post-screening Q&A. She noted that filming had started before COVID, but had been interrupted by the closures, and being from Cyprus and having returned home, there were several months where she could not travel at all to continue filming. When asked if there would be a sequel to the film, she said that was a question the producers should answer better. Savvides also noted that this is the film’s first public screening and it is set to open in Greece on December 22.
A short film, Small Talk with the Bad Man, directed by Nikos Kolioukos and Meni Tsilianidou, was screened before the feature film and drew enthusiastic applause from the audience.
A post-screening reception was held at Lamia’s Fish Market seafood restaurant, 47 Avenue B in Manhattan, where attendees had the opportunity to mingle and discuss the Expo’s opening night with some Greek actors and directors also present. Everyone was eagerly awaiting the next screenings, including the New York premiere of .dog, directed by Yianna Americanou and starring Andreas Konstantinou, on Friday, September 30.
The New York Greek Film Expo continues through October 9 with screenings at Village East Cinemas 181 Second Avenue in Manhattan through October 2, Pelham Picture House 175 Wolf’s Lane in Pelham, NY October 5-6, The Museum of the Moving Image 35th Avenue at 37th Street in Astoria from October 7-9 and Alpine Cinemas 6817 Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on October 9.
The full screening schedule and tickets are available online: https://hellenicfilmusa.org.