With his (lucky) 13th picture, director Giannis Ziogas is claiming a series of prizes, looking into a delicate subject. Having premiered at the Drama Film Festival, where it nabbed the award for best animated picture, “Ethnophobia”, co-produced by ERT (Microfilm program), the Albanian Center for Cinematography, and Magicon Productions, which has been active in film production since 1993, so far counts 130 participations in international events, and 24 festival awards. In June, the Manolis Sakkadakis- and Irida Ziogka-produced picture, whose screenplay is written by Petros Koskinas, was in competition at the Annecy festival, in France –the most famous animation festival in the world.
From December 7, “Ethnophobia” will be screened in Greek theaters prior to screenings of feature-length animation film “I, Kolokithakis”. Children and adult friends of animation can catch the movie at film theaters Inteal, Nirvana, Kifissia, Nana, Aello, as well as all Village Cinemas in Athens, Volos, and Thessaloniki.
For Giannis Ziogas, this is but the culmination of a course which began in 1981 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, and continued in Greece with successful works of animation, including 1989’s “The Rare Egg”.
“Ethnophobia” talks about racism solely through clay and play dough characters, in order to convey a message which the movie itself describes best: “Survival, conflict and coexistence go hand-in-hand. All of them are accompanied by outbursts of joy and pain as a result of man’s inner need to seek out and to exaggerate the differences, when the similarities are clearly greater.”
Brilliantly approaching race and conflict as characters made of different colors and blends, the 15-minute-long picture comically and enjoyably touches upon truths which are known, but take the art of animation to be as emphatically highlighted.
Talking to artic.gr, the director has said that “Ethnophobia” “is a movie that gives you the opportunity to take a look at the black depths of the soul, even as we share the same DNA, no matter what color our skin is.” Though it appears as timely as ever, the picture began taking form at least a decade before the refugees issue became so prominent; the art of animation (and stop-motion even more) takes great time and effort.
With a 36-year course in animation, Giannis Ziogas a director at ERT, claims his own place in Greek animation, while also preparing as a children’s TV series an animated version of Aesop’s fables, through play dough. The series will be an internal ERT production.