It’s a part of Nicosia many have become accustomed to yet know very little about what’s beyond the barbed wire of that demarcates the Green Line. A team of creative Cypriots was granted access into the Cyprus Buffer Zone in January 2016 and escorted by UN convoy they filmed what remains of the abandoned villages of Selemani, Varisheia in addition to the abandoned Nicosia International Airport.
The result? A VR film entitled The Green Line documenting areas within the Cyprus Buffer Zone, some unseen by the public since 1963, immersing viewers into one of the most restricted areas on the planet.
The short film premiered in Cyprus on April 3 at A.G. Leventis Gallery and will be screening for the entirety of the month every Wednesday between 2pm and 10pm and every Friday , Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 5pm.
“The Green Line is special to us for many reasons,” said the creators, “not least of all because it is the culmination of what at times felt like an impossible journey.”
Although just premiered in Cyprus, the documentary began back in 2014 amidst the re-opening of talks for the reunification of the island. The team wanted to get positively involved somehow and decided that whatever form their contribution would take it would be centred on the Buffer Zone as it’s the literal divide of the two sides of the island, as well as the most symbolic consequence of the ongoing conflict.
“Our aim was to turn the Buffer Zone into a memorial of the catastrophic consequences of divisive politics. During the inevitable difficulties of once again re-unifying two deeply scarred ethnic groups under the same flag, we wanted the Buffer Zone to be both showcased and preserved for posterity, serving as a constant reminder of what the price would be of failing to continue towards a mission of peaceful co-existence.
“The Green Line serves as a digital memorial, preserving parts of the UN Buffer Zone as they stand today in the most effective way possible: through a medium capable of reaching millions of viewers. One of the things that we feel is so special about The Green Line is its utilisation of VR to its maximum potential. Through the use of VR, The Green Line grants total immersion into a space where human activity has been banned since 1974, allowing otherwise impossible glimpses of what has been lost and nearly forgotten, returning it to its original inhabitants, and introducing it to the world at large.”
The Green Line made its world premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and since then has been officially selected for 16 international film festivals, winning Best VR Film four times. Directed by Ioannis Bekiaris and Alexis Mavros, the film was produced by Full View Productions with the support of the University of Nicosia, Polar Effect Productions and Unficyp.
The Green Line – A VR documentary
Screening of an award-winning short VR Cypriot documentary. Until the end of April. A.G. Leventis Gallery, Nicosia. Wednesday: 2pm to 10pm and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 5pm. Free. Tel: 99-555873