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Without Stratos: An Interview with Director Nikos Katsos

Tell us about yourself. How did you become an artist?

I first got into art at university during a photography workshop - at that time I was studying natural sciences which defined part of my identity as I have been working as a teacher in secondary education since 2009.

Ιn 2016, I made the first short film with my students at school. The film was about the economic crisis in Greece through the eyes of children. This student short film can be found and watched here.

After that, some kind of personal need led me to start telling "my own" stories. So, in 2017, two friends of mine and I made a short documentary and, at the same time, I enrolled in a Film Directing School which I completed last year.

What was your first job in the art field?

My first work was the short documentary I mentioned above. Its title is "In Between" and it describes the journey of a refugee child from Afghanistan to Germany with a“stopover”in a refugee camp in Greece. This film can be viewed via the following link of the Journal of Anthropological Films: Link

What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?

I'm interested in stories of everyday people which are related to deeper existential and broader social issues. For example, stories related to racism, social injustice, loneliness in the modern big cities, etc. At the same time, I 'm interested in the stories of people fighting to face all of the above.

Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project?

Every new project - whenever it arises - comes from a need to express something that concerns me or excites me.

Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?

I like very much directors like Michael Haneke, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Andrey Zvyagintsev; but I also like directors of social realism, like Ken Loach and directors of the Romanian New Wave like Cristian Mungiu. Moreover, I admire many Iranian directors.

How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?

I am not an expert on film industry. However, roughly speaking, I can say that in Greece the number of independent film productions decreased dramatically in that period, but this is not the case today.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?

I think everyone should follow his/her own path, depending on what suits him/her better. The only thing I could say is that, in order to make films, you have to love filmmaking a lot, since this gives you the necessary energy to try it.

Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?

I think movies can raise some issues and make people think about these issues. It's a big talk to say that movies can change the world. It is safer to say that films maybe make some people see things differently.

What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?

I cannot answer this question with certainty. Maybe people prefer - consciously or unconsciously - to watch more happy movies now. Even if this is true, it is most likely to be temporary.

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

I am thinking about various things, but at the moment I am not preparing any specific project. Time will tell what the next project will be.


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