Cyprus Mail

Award-winning documentary to be screened on Cyprus television

Lysandros Lysandrou, the shepherd at the coffeeshop (kafenion) in Phlamoudhi in 1972 (Photo: Ian Cohn)

By Bejay Browne

A BRITISH film maker will have his award winning documentary which is based on a book ‘Faces of Phlamoudhi’ screened on ANT1 on Wednesday.

Rupert Barclay scooped ‘Best new director’ accolade at the London Greek Film Festival in October last year. This was his first film as a producer/director.

Barclay is currently in Larnaca on holiday with his Cypriot wife and two children and spoke to the Cyprus Mail.

“I also did a rough edit of the film but had help with the final cut,” he said. “The film festival was a great experience and I am hoping to enter the film into other festivals around the world.”

The film is based on the book of the same name which depicts the tale of a village in the north whose Greek Cypriot residents were displaced by the Turkish invasion.

The book’s author, Ian Cohn, an American photographer and architect came to Cyprus in 1972 to take photos of an archaeological dig taking place near Phlamoudhi, on the coast east of Kyrenia.

He fell in love with the village and ended up taking photographs of some 250 villagers. These pictures came to be the basis of the book which he describes as a sort of family album for the Diaspora.

In 2009 Cohn was giving a lecture in London about his book, Faces of Phlamoudhi; Barclay was in the audience.

Barclay’s wife is Cypriot and grew up in the UK, both of her parents are refugees. Her father is from a neighbouring village to Phlamoudhi. Barclay said that he felt compelled to make the documentary after the lecture, which had touched him deeply.

“The photos were compelling and subsequently one of the main characters in my film is Savvas Georgiou, my wife’s cousin, who had also helped Ian with his book,” he said.

Barclay asked Cohn if he could make a film based on the book, and they thought that there was a story to be told.

The film is a combination of reminiscences by the villagers about daily life and how it changed. The photographs also feature, as does commentary by Cohn.

Barclay began filming in 2010, having to fit it around his own busy work schedule as a member of a TV production unit. He finished filming at the beginning of 2013.

The displaced villagers say that both the book, and the film which contain photos of the residents of Phlamoudhi before the invasion, have given them a precious link to a way of life which has now gone forever, as they were forced to flee leaving all their belongings behind – including photos.

The documentary had its premier to an audience of refugees from Phlamoudhi last August at Verochino in Oroklini.

The response was overwhelming, said Barclay, just as it had been to Cohn’s book a few years before. He said then, that his aim was to get it shown on Cyprus TV.

“I am particularly grateful to the community leader of Phlamoudhi, Michalis Tziortas, as he was instrumental in helping me to film in Cyprus and now to get the film shown on Cyprus television.”

He added: “The film will be shown on ANT1 just at 12.30pm midday on August 14th- the anniversary of the second stage of the Turkish military invasion, and later that night at 1am.”

The film has both English and Greek subtitles.

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