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Maria by Callas – Now playing in theaters near you, by Phyto Stratis

Maria returns to the big screen “in person” through the new documentary film by Tom Volf.

By Phyto Stratis

“There are two people in me. I would like to be Maria, but there is the Callas I need to live up to” – Maria Callas

Forty one years after her death, Maria Callas (1923-1977) the artist whom Leonard Bernstein once called Callas “the Bible of opera,” remains still one of classical music’s best-selling vocalists and a legend that continuously grow. Last year, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of her passing, along with tons of the release of newly restored historical recordings and special editions, Maria Callas appeared as a hologram before the audience eyes, performing live with orchestras in a series of concerts.

In contrast to last year’s spooky for my taste Maria’s apparition, this year Tom Volf’s MARIA BY CALLAS is the first film tells the life story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer completely in her own words.

Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs—nearly all of which have never been shown to the public—the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time.

Assembling the material for the film took director Volf four years of painstaking research, which included personal outreach to dozens of Callas’s closest friends and associates, who allowed him to share their personal memorabilia in the film. When recordings of Callas’s voice aren’t available, Joyce DiDonato, one of contemporary opera’s biggest stars, reads her words.

Peter Travers, critic from Rolling Stones said: “Here’s the intimate, unabashedly reverential new documentary that gives legendary diva Maria Callas the encore she deserves. And in her own voice. Fasten your seatbelts.”

Ben Kenigsberg from New York Times said: “A documentary that revitalizes history through primary sources, to illuminating, at times enthralling effect.”

Kenneth Turran from L.A Times said: “Maria By Callas…” expertly presents an emotional essence of this performer, leaving you both shaken and stirred by the extent of her gifts and the way they connected to both audiences and her tumultuous life.

Maria by Calls, is A Sony Pictures Classics release and is currently playing at
City Cinemas Paris Theatre on 4 W. 58th St., New York, NY 10019
Angelika Film Center & Cafe on 18 W. Houston St., NEW YORK, NY 10012


Watch the official US Trailer on the link below:


World Premiere of “Olympia”, by Phyto Stratis

TODAY 11.11.18 at 6:30pm, DOC NYC Film Fesival SVA Theater 1, 333 West 23rd Street, New York NY.

By Phyto Stratis

documentary feature
on Academy Award®-winning
actress Olympia Dukakis
from director Harry Mavromichalis
to have world premiere at DOC NYC

Olympia the film takes us on a poetic journey in search of one’s place in the world. We follow Academy Award® winning actress Olympia Dukakis as she takes on the roles of actor, teacher, wife, mother, and social activist. Determined not to be defined solely as a woman in a male dominated society she struggles to find a sense of belonging due to her ethnic roots and the dichotomy she has always felt between her American values and the values of her immigrant parents. After making the decision that she would never take no for an answer and would never let anyone define her, her mantra became: “Always move forward, no matter what.”


This revealing and unfiltered documentary follows the life and career of Academy Award® winning actress, Olympia Dukakis. Starting on the day she turns eighty and continuing for three years, this film deals with the struggles and pains surrounding identity and the roles placed on us by society. Its cinema-verité style allows the audience to constantly move alongside Olympia as she navigates between rehearsals, workshops, family life, and finally the journey to her ancestral home in Greece. Exhibiting both candor and vulnerability, we see her deal with age, grief, and sexuality while opening up about her past struggles with depression, suicide, and drug addiction.

Intricately weaving between visceral impromptu personal moments with Olympia, together with footage of her performances both on and off screen, we experience the presence of an unrelenting female energy. Not only does her story add to the perpetual ‘herstory’ of women withstanding and overcoming their obstacles and oppressors through the passage of time, it also gives us insight into how she overcame the impediments that affected her life as the daughter of immigrants and as a woman in a male-dominated society. We are granted the raw, unfiltered attitude of Olympia without a script to guide her. Her fierceness is seen to persist throughout her daily life beyond the stage or film. Years of oppression, subordination and self-doubt have thickened her skin and sharpened her mind, and her energy is contagious. Despite her age and the innumerable experiences in her life, her determination to continue, to move forward and overcome the hurdles that life places before us all, is an inspiration.

Through her brutal honesty and sincerity, Olympia compels us to confront our own shortcomings and differences by letting go, and moving forward with defiant conviction, which leaves us with a cathartic feeling that we too can be an “octogenarian motherfucker.”

Talking to the Director Harry Mavromichalis of the film OLYMPIA.

Harry how did you first meet Olympia and how the idea of a documentary film on Olympia was born?

“I was lucky enough to meet Olympia when I invited her to teach an acting workshop in Cyprus a few years ago. After spending a week with her I was intrigued and fascinated. The trip started a friendship which we continued to nurture once we were back in New York. There were so many things I saw in her that inspired me as a human being and as an artist. The most important one was this constant push and pull between her Greek and American origins. As an immigrant having to adapt and find my own path in America, I have found her as an inspiration of what one can achieve despite of where one comes from. At a time when immigration is such a loaded subject in our society, I felt that now more than ever, the story of Olympia Dukakis was an important story to be told. At least I thought so. Convincing her was not easy at all but after insisting for three months straight, she finally gave in. My goal has always been to try and to show the person I got to know. Not just an Oscar-Winning actress, but the hard working passionate and inspiring woman she is.

The most impressing thing for me is that in the course of shooting this film, I have witnessed this amazing woman discover things she had never discovered before. Despite her already fulfilled life, she is still constantly learning. She let us into her mind and soul and shared with us her fears and joys. We go behind the scenes and see Olympia the Actress, the Wife, the Mother, the Friend, the Activist, the Woman and we realize how rich her internal world is, how generous her spirit has been throughout her life and how vulnerable she continues to be in all aspects of her life. Olympia is for ever changing but her essence has always been the same. We hope we have captured that essence”.

Director Harry Mavromichalis and Actress Olympia Dukakis

Spoke to my friend actress-writer Anthoula Katsimatides who is an Executive Producer on this film.

“So honored and humbled to be an Executive Producer of the incredible new documentary “Olympia” which profiles the life and career of one of America’s most well known actors Olympia Dukakis, who has also been an inspiring mentor in my life. This film is a deeply moving narrative which explores not only Olympia’s rich and storied career but her struggle to never allow herself to be defined by the expectations of others. YES!

A true project of passion, “Olympia” has been a labor of love for all involved and we are delighted to have the opportunity to share it with you at this years renowned DOC NYC film festival. Please join us for the World Premiere on 11.11.18 at 6:30pm. I encourage you to help us spread the word by forwarding this email to family & friends who have a love for great storytelling”.

AAnthoula Katsimatides and Olympia Dukakis

*Director Harry Mavromichalis and film subject Olympia Dukakis in-person for post-screening Q&A.




Olympia Dukakis, Laura Linney, Whoopi Goldberg, Lainie Kazan (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Lynn Cohen (The Hunger Games, Sex & The City), Diane Ladd (Chinatown, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Louis Zorich (Fiddler on the Roof, Mad About You), Michael Dukakis (Governor of MA), Thomas Kean (Governor of New Jersey), Austin Pendleton (Beautiful Mind), Armistead Maupin (author of Tales of the City), Jim Gianopulos (CEO Paramount Pictures), Kary Antholis (President, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming).


Director: Harry Mavromichalis Writers: Harry Mavromichalis, Sam Eggers Producers: Muriel Moraes, Keren Seol, Andrew Ford, Harry Mavromichalis Co-Producer: Lynn Webb Associate Producer: Pamela Spyrs Executive Producer: Sid Ganis (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones, Top Gun, Fatal Attraction, Deuce Bigalow), Anthoula Katsimatides Editors: Sam Eggers, Andrew Ford Composer: Paul Cantelon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jane Fonda in 5 Acts, The Other Boleyn Girl) Music by Paul Cantelon Additional Music by Alexia Vassiliou

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La Boheme Eleni Calenos, by Phyto Stratis

Soprano ELENI CALENOS as Mimi, in Puccini’s lavish production of “La Boheme” at Opera Santa Barbara, November 9th and 11th.
“I can never stop being moved to tears by this music”

By Phyto Stratis

Opera Santa Barbara Opens 25th Season With ‘La bohème’.
Tenor Nathan Granner and our very own beloved Greek soprano Eleni Calenos will headline Opera Santa Barbara’s lavish production of Puccini’s opera, La bohème, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at The Granada Theater.

Nathan Granner


Eleni Calenos

Granner was a founding member of The American Tenors, whose Sony Masterworks album reached top five in the classical crossover charts. Since then, he has established a reputation as a solo and collaborative artist with roles as diverse as Kanye West in Hunter Shelby Long’s Fair Looks and True Obedience (known as the Kardashian opera) to Nemorino in The Elixir of Love. He has sung the role of Rodolfo in La bohème with companies such as Lyric Opera Kansas City, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Tulsa Opera, Spoleto USA, Wolf Trap and Glimmerglass Opera. He will reprise the role for Opera Santa Barbara.

Calenos has admiring reviews for her performances in Tosca (Tosca), Il Tabarro (Giorgetta) and Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio San) and La bohème (Mimi) in recent appearances with Palm Beach Opera, Tulsa Opera, Sarasota Opera, Glyndebourne Opera and Zomeropera. Her recordings include Macagni’s Zanetto with Odyssy Opera of Boston. She will sing the role of Mimi for Opera Santa Barbara’s production of La bohème.

I had the pleasure of talking to Eleni a few days ago about this production and her role as tragic Mimi:

“Today is our FINAL DRESS REHARSAL here in Santa Barbara!! Even though it’s the ninth production of Bohème for me, I can never stop being moved to tears by this music and the feelings created by the view of the theater from Mimi’s death bed. Artists’ lives are not easy, but this rewarding experience cannot compare to anything… Wishing my fellow Bohemians (on stage and behind the scenes) a great run! Thank you all for sharing in this journey!!!”

CAST OF LA BOHEME Joining Granner and Calenos is baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco, who made his Opera Santa Barbara debut as Assan in The Consul in 2014, and returned as Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri (2015) and as Belcore in The Elixir of Love (2016).Orozco has performed leading roles across the United States and as far away as South Korea. He was part of the Kennedy Center World Stages Festival in the premier stage reading of Fallujah by composer Tobin Stokes.

Singing the role of Musetta is OSB artist Elle Vlaera, an alumna of last season’s Chrisman Studio Artist Program, during which time she sang the role of Berta in The Barber of Seville and Poussette in the company’s 2017 production of Manon. She is a recent LA District winner and Western Region finalist for the Metropolitan Council Auditions and 2017 Aspen Music Festival fellowship student.

Rounding out the principal roles are Vincent Grana (Colline), who sang the role of Noye in Britten’s Noyes’ Fludde, and the officer in The Barber of Seville, both for OSB; and Yazid Gray (Schaunard), a 2018-19 Chrisman Studio Artist. E. Scott Levin will sing Benoit/Alcindoro.

Kostis Protopapas, Opera Santa Barbara artistic and general director will conduct the OSB Orchestra. Omer Ben Seadia will direct the opera.

LA BOHEME La bohème is the story of four bohemian artists living in a garret in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1830s, at a time when young self-proclaimed revolutionaries defied the conventions of polite society.It is a story about friendship, hope, love (at first sight), and the toll poverty takes on those caught in its grip.

Kostis Protopapas

Opera Santa Barbara’s 25th Anniversary season also includes an Anniversary Gala Concert and Party, Jan. 26 at the Lobero Theater and OSB premiere productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (sung in Russian) March 1 and 3; and Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Crucible, April 26 and 28, also at The Lobero Theater.

TICKETS Ranging in price from $29-$204. Purchase online at or by calling 805-899-2222.


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Hercules: In search of a hero, by Phyto Stratis

An innovative production which is not to be missed starts its journey on November 8-9-10, 2018 at the Mainstage of La Guardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC) in Queens NY.

By Phyto Stratis

Eclipses Group Theater New York (EGTNY), the respected theater company known for their high productions here in New York, presents Hercules: In Search of a Hero. This production which is based on Alcestis and Hercules by Euripides is directed & conceived by acclaimed director and actress Ioanna Katsarou (artistic director of EGTNY), in a new translation by talented actor and member of EGTNY Demetri Bonaros. Hercules: In search of a Hero’ original music which is to be performed live in the show, is composed by composer and guitarist Costas Baltazanis.

Hercules: In Search of a Hero is a new theater piece presented by a multi-ethnic cast, combining excerpts from Euripides’ plays Hercules and Alcestis with original material to explore the meaning of heroism in our time.

In Alcestis, Hercules goes to the underworld and restores Alcestis to her family. In Hercules, he comes back from the underworld, is thrown into a god-induced frenzy and kills his own family. On the other hand, Alcestis sacrifices herself to save her family. Using as a launching point these two diametrically opposite actions by Hercules—the prototypical Greek hero—and Alcestis’ differently heroic act, we explore what heroism is/is not/could be in a modern context.

Using poetic language and images, our play challenges the conventional, masculine notion of heroism and contemplates a feminine alternative. It asks what counts as heroism in our time? Is an act heroic if it involves violence? Where is the place of women in the modern, Western mythology of heroism? And do we need to create new mythologies?

Creative Team:

Director/Concept/Dramaturgy work: Ioanna Katsarou
Translator: Demetri Bonaros
Composer: Costas Baltazanis
Lighting Designer: Christina Watanabe
Set Designer: Christos Alexandridis
Costume Designer: Marina Gkoumla
Assistant Costume Designer: Vivian Triviza
Stage Manager: Anastasia Thanasoula
Video: Alex Agisilaou
Fundraising/Marketing Coordinator: Katerina Alexaki
Fundraising/Social Media Coordinator/Marketing: Alexandra Skendrou
Advertisements/Fundraising: Pandora Spelios
Executive Producers: Ioanna Katsarou & Demetri Bonaros
Production: Eclipses Group Theater NY


Alcestis: Luisa Alarcón
Admetos/Death/Servant: Demetri Bonaros
Hercules: Luke Couzens
Woman/Megara: Helena Farhi
Goddess: Alexandra Skendrou

ETGNY members Demetris Bonaros, Ioanna Katsarou, Katerina Alexaki Alexandra Skendrou

Limited Engagement:
November 8, 9, 10 at 7:30 pm
For tickets please call LPAC at 718-482-5151 or visit
Tickets $18

Mainstage of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
31-10 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101

HERCULES IN SEARCH OF A HERO is under the Auspices and strong support of the Consulate General of Greece in New York.

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Melina: The last Greek Goddess, by Phyto Stratis

Melina Mercury channeled by acclaimed Cypriot actress Paola Hadjilambri, returns on Broadway in the celebrated play by Paul Lambis at the Largest World Solo Festival here in New York. A Unique performance on November 6th at Theater Row.

By Phyto Stratis

The Pancyprian Association of America Cultural Division presents renowned Cypriot actress, Paola Hadjilambri, in “Melina: The Last Greek Goddess” by Paul Lambis for one night only – representing Cyprus at the United Solo Theatre Festival, Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, New York, on 6th November 2018.

The official world premiere of Melina took place in 2017 here in New York, after a karmic connection I had via facebook, with the author and now good friend of mine Paul Lambis. Under The Pancyprian Cultural Division, the nonprofit cultural organization I serve as Artistic Director, Melina was presented in a three full house performances in the Greek language at The Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria, followed by a series of performances in Cyprus and abroad. Among them, the closing of the festival “Pafos 2017 European Capital of Culture” and a very emotional performance at the Michael Cacoyannis Center in Athens in the presence of the recently deceased Spyros Mercouris, brother of Melina.

“Melina: The Last Greek Goddess”, a one-woman play, brings to life the dynamic, larger-than-life persona of Melina Mercouri, whose international acting achievements on stage and screen, and her zestful commitment to Greek art and politics, defined her as Greece’s most celebrated national heroine.

Poignant, passionate, seductive and controversial, the play illustrates a remarkable life of a political activist who sought to symbolise the soul of Greek national identity. An outspoken woman of principle, Melina was a strong advocate for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, from the British Museum to Greece.

This exuberant production creates a gripping theatrical experience and features compelling music that exists as a trademark for Greece.

Running time: 65 minutes
Genre: Comedy / Drama / Musical
Starring: Paola Hadjilambri
Written and Directed by: Paul Lambis
Co-written by: Paola Hadjilambri
Contact Information: 212-239-6200

Actress Paola Hadjilambri and writer Paul Lambis with Spyros Marcouri, brother of Melina.

Watch the trailer of Melina The Last Greek Goddess

*Miss Hadhilambris photographs are by John Kotsovos

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Greek play “I want a country” at the Fringe Festival by Phyto Stratis

The New York Premiere of Andreas Flourakis play and its successful run at The New York International Fringe Festival.

By Phyto Stratis

On Saturday October 27th, I was fortunate enough to attend the closing performance of I WANT A COUNTRY, and follow a group of individuals search for a new & improved country. The play written by Greek celebrated Playwright Andreas Flourakis in a new translation by Eleni Drivas, address’s timely topics such as immigration, race, financial security, human rights, and living in a country that cares about its citizens and doesn’t discriminate. The New York Premiere at The New York International Fringe Festival had a run of four performances between October 20 – 27. The production was directed by Lyto Triantafyllidou and produced by HDGP Productions and The Greek Cultural Center with Eleni Drivas serving as lead producer.

Written in 2013 in an unconventional chorus inspired structure, I Want a Country advocates for social change, when a group of disillusioned individuals embark on a search for a “new” and “improved” country. But is this a search for a new country or a game of rhetoric? Can they create a ¨perfect” country? Can a society reinvent itself? Or will the ideal country remain a utopia?

I Want A Country, is a theater performance where the characters have lost their country – in a geographical and/or ideological way. Believing there is no escape from their current state, they map their time ahead declaring a New Country. Their inability of reaching a consensus on a variety of issues begs the questions: Have we reached a political turning point? Can democracy be enough?

Like a bare canvas before the manifestation of a masterpiece, the stage was full of opportunities and Lyto Triantafyllidou with her cast creatively used it as a beautiful vehicle to dive and sail into the world of Flourakis “I want a country”. The diversity of the cast was an extraordinary smart call that only helped to turn Flourakis’ Greek play, into a universal cry out.

The very talented cast of eight featured: Jessy Donn (Sophomore NYU Gallatin), Joy Donze (13 and Not Pregnant – Winner Best Comedy/United Solo 2017), Sarah Folkins (Cosi Fan Tutte/The Metropolitan Opera), Alexandra Gellner (Julius Caesar/The Brick), Lamin Leroy Gibba (Dust to Dust/FringeNYC 2016), Kevin Gonzalez (Your Ad Here/Web Series), Olivia Konteatis (Fun Home/NYU Tisch), and Simon Winheld (Pete Rex/59E59).

I Want a Country was first produced in June 2013 at Royal Court Theatre, Upstairs (London). Other notable performances include the production of the play at Athens and Epidaurus Festival (2015). Since then, I Want a Country has been produced in different festivals and platforms in Greece, Europe and the United States. Its New York Premier is produced by HDGP productions, a newly founded company with the purpose of producing transnational work, bridging the cultural gap between the continents. HDGP mission is to develop and bring historically charged and socially relevant writing to the stage and to a multicultural audience.
Andreas Flourakis is considered one of the most innovative voices in the Greek theatre scene and part of a new generation of playwrights born in the 1969 in Athens. Flourakis participated in the Royal Court International Residency in 2001, served as visiting professor on Playwriting at The University of Kansas and several institutions in Greece as well. Honors include

A beautiful post show message from the producer and translator of I Want A Country, Eleni Drivas:
“We had our last performance of I Want a Country at the New York International Fringe Festival on Saturday Oct. 27th. This production was truly a labor of love and I am beyond grateful to have had such a dedicated group of people involved in making it happen. THANK YOU to Andreas Flourakis for being so generous with his profoundly relevant and thought-provoking script. THANK YOU to Lyto Triantafyllidou, our phenomenal director, whom I have known and have been fortunate to have worked with the past few years. THANK YOU to our exceptionally talented cast: Jessy Donn, Joy Donze, Sarah Folkins, Alexandra Gellner, Lamin Leroy Gibba, Kevin Gonzalez, Olivia Konteatis, Simon Winheld. You all truly amaze me, and we couldn’t have had a better cast bring the text of I Want a Country to life. THANK YOU to Elizabeth Weber, our wonderful stage manager whom we couldn’t have done without, and to Matt Weber for his amazing photos. THANK YOU to our incredible sound designer Evdoxia Ragkou and Wyatt Moniz our light designer. THANK YOU to Andrea Alton PR. THANK YOU to our sponsors for their generosity and faith in this production. THANK YOU to friends and family who supported this project and helped in any way they could.”

Director Lyto Triantafyllidou and Translator Eleni Drivas post their sold out show with Phyto Stratis.

More info is available at and

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BRAND NEW DAY- A new CD single release by Christina Christofi

Christina Christofi, a Cypriot born singer-songwriter has released her second single called ‘”Brand New Day”, which is available in platforms such as: google play, iTunes, Spotify and cd baby. The song is a collaboration with talented young musicians; Production: Mike Mroz, Music and Lyrics: Jan Alexander Santos, Lisa Yamada.

By Phyto Stratis

Christina came to New York five years ago, to a bigger place with a much bigger dream; she was born and raised in Cyprus and she grew up in a diverse family speaking Greek and Finnish as well as English as a third language. Her father is Cypriot, and mother is Finnish.

Ever since she was nine, she started singing and playing piano. She discovered that music was her passion at a very early age and was involved in many music related activities such as the European Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Romania, in 2006 representing Cyprus, young talent showcase at the International 44th Pori Jazz festival in Finland in 2009 and Christmas CD release in Cyprus in 2007 etc.

She graduated as an honours student from a music high school in Limassol, Cyprus. Her passion for music grew with her. It was what represented her. Music was not a hobby anymore and that is the reason why she decided to pursue her higher education in New York. She graduated with a BFA in Jazz Vocal Performance in 2017 with multiple scholarships.

Christina, congratulation on your new single, it is a beautiful song. How would you describe this journey in New York so far?
“In New York I met so many people with great talent and accomplishment, apart from my great professors, and learn so much from them and with them, I’m very excited. As for the single “Brand New Day”, it has been an honor for me to collaborate with CP Lacey, known from famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem and to perform in that stage.”

What is the daily schedule of an artist like yourself here in the big apple?
Well, every day I follow a very busy schedule, working at the Jazz Gallery usually once a week and teaching at a Music Academy. I’m performing in multiple venues in the city and works at the CCNY as a coordinator for special events. The truth is that all my life experiences here in the city, have taught me a lot and helped me grow both as a musician and as a person.

Christina The Hellenic Daily News and me personally, wish you best of luck with the new release and for your upcoming endevors.
“I truly feel grateful and blessed and hope people will love our music and I hope we will be awarded with great reviews … and much more to come soon!”

Follow Christina Christofi in the following social media


Brand New Day- Single by Christina Christofi available at:

CD Baby:

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After the successful opening on Thursday October 18th, the festival continues till October 23rd at the Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street.

By Phyto Stratis

Presented in cooperation with The Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and The Hellenic American Cultural Foundation, and under the auspices of The Hellenic Republic and The Consulate General of Greece New York, The Annual Greek Film Festival 2018 opened on Thursday October 18th with a 6pm CEREMONY, followed by the screening of the film “1968”. The film was presented in the presence of its director Mr. Tassos Boulmetis and was followed by an 8pm PARTY.

Maria Tzompanaki who is the Appointed Director of the New York City Greek Film Festival stated: As a Greek Actress coming from the world of culture, I invite you to attend our celebration of Greek cinema, The NYC Greek Film Festival, which you have supported all these years. Together we’ll see 25 features, documentaries and short films from Greece, a country whose great attraction and contribution to the world was, and is culture.”

The Greek Film Festival’s mission is “the emergence of Greek culture through the art of filmmaking. The creation of opportunities for cooperation on all technical and artistic levels internationally, not only for all the participating filmmakers, but also for all Greek artists.”

Within the context of the NYCGRFF’s goal to promote Greek culture internationally, Mrs. Tzobanaki has put together a selection of 25 films, features, documentaries and shorts that will be screened on a rolling schedule from October 18 to October 22 at the Florence Gould Hall Theater and Le Skyroom, in the heart of NYC.

During the Festival the audience will have the opportunity to enjoy many gems from the recent Greek film production and to indulge in the biting satire of Nikos Perakis’ Success Story, a modern tale of love and betrayal; to witness the first Greek martial arts film with Aliki Danezi-Knutsen’s Chinatown: The Three Shelters; to travel to the mountains of Arcadia (Stelios Haralambopoulos’ My Homeland’s Flag Is Blue…), the temples of Santorini (Zaharias Mavroeidis’ Across Her Body), the fields of refugee-ridden Lesbos (Lucas Paleokrassas’ Citizen Xenos); to discover chapters from Greece’s tumultuous history with Matthaios Frantzeskakis & Vicky Arvelaki’s Flowers Fade Early: Kakopetros, August 28, 1944 and Grigoris Vardarinos’ The Great Fire of Salonica: Birth of a City; to get to know the late, great musician Nikos Papazoglou through Mihalis Aristidou & Ioannis Grigoropoulos’ Me and My Shadow; to meet the distinguished Greek-American intellectual Dan Georgakas in a special tribute that comes with the screening of Mihalis Cacoyannis’ memorable A Girl In Black (1956); and to take delight in exciting, moving, multi-awarded short stories –from the hilarious mockumentary Cowboy, the sharp thriller Heimlich and the suspenseful social portrait The Ticket to the heartwarming female-driven dramas Ourania, Hearts For Dinner or Meltemi.

The NYCGRFF CLOSING CEREMON Y on Tuesday, October 23, and will be dedicated to the celebrated Greek actor Giorgos Kimoulis. Following the awards ceremony, where Audience Awards will be presented both to feature and short film winners, the festival will honor Mr. Kimoulis for his contribution to the Greek arts over the years.

at The Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59 Street

Tickets / Information at
For more information/contact 212.629.6380

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Γρηγόρης Μανινάκης: Μην μου θυμώνεις μάτια μου

Grigoris Maninakis’ tribute to the immortal songs of Stavros Kougioumzis at the Greek Cultural Center in Astoria, on October 19, 20 and 21.

By Phyto Stratis

The tribute concert to the immortal songs of Stavros Kougioumtzis is back by popular demand! This time the presentations/performances will take place at the intimate theatrical space of the Greek Cultural Center which is located on 26-80 30th Street, Astoria, New York in Astoria. Three nights only! October 19, 20 and 21. This event is being produced by the lead singer Grigoris Maninakis, in cooperation with the Greek Cultural Center and the Mikrokosmos Ensemble.

Mr. Maninakis spoke to the Hellenic Daily News about Stavros Kougioumtzis and the upcoming concerts.

Stavros Kougioumtzis who passed away in 2005 was one the most, if not the most, ever melodic Greek Composer. He was born in Thessaloniki in 1932, and his compositions were sung and are still being sung by nearly three generations of Greeks all over the world. A timid low key person he dedicated himself to his music stating his only concern: “I only want to write nice songs that can withstand the test of time”. There is no doubt that he succeeded, beyond his own expectations , through his legacy of uniquely beautiful songs, which we are presenting at the Greek Cultural Center, this weekend.

Mr. Maninakis, what shall we expect at these three concerts?

Well, the songs will be performed in α «sing along with the audience» style performance. Along with me, I have the emerging and uniquely talented young Greek American vocalist Aggeliki Psonis. The orchestra will be comprised of Glafkos Kontemeniotis on the piano, Kostas Psarros on bouzouki and Megan Gould on violin. All three musicians of them are widely known and greatly respected in our community.

I’m sure that though the song catalogue of Kougioumtzis favorites is endless, there must be one that speaks to your heart more than the others.

Indeed there is, and I would like to share its lyrics with all of you:

«Αν δεις σε χερι παιδικό πουλάκι πληγωμένο
παρε τους δρόμους να με βρεις , εγώ σε περιμένω»

Gregoris Maninakis he has been involved with Greek music since 1974 as a founding member and soloist of The Greek Popular Chorus, established in NY by the world renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis.

Since then he has established himself as one of the major performers of quality, traditional and contemporary Greek music and song with appearances at prestigious places such as Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully and Merkin Hall of Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, La Mama and Manhattan Theatres, as well as at numerous University campuses throughout the United States.

In 1981 he established the “Mikrokosmos Boite” in Astoria , a name synonymous with high quality music and song in the Greek American community for the past 30 years to date. He is the featured male vocalist in the “Café Aman Amerika” album and the similarly named orchestra, which toured Greece and Europe, presenting the songs of the first Greek immigrants in America.

Currently the leader of the Mikrokosmos Ensemble, he has released four personal CD’s including “The Bomb” (H Mπομπα, 2002 a selection of rare rebetika) , an album with songs he recorded for film producer Costas Ferris’ ERT-TV music history series “HELLAS OF A DREAM”. A professor of Engineering at the State University of New York at Farmingdale and a Byzantine chanter he is the recipient of the “Educator of the year through the Arts Award ”, by the Hellenic Teachers Association of New York.

This Weekend at The Greek Cultural Center

Limited seating
Reservations @ 718-726-7329
26-80 30th Street , Astoria, New York
Friday 10/19 and Saturday 10/20 @7:30PM
Sunday 10/21 @ 5PM

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Ελένη Ανδρέου: Πήρα απ’τη νιότη χρώματα

Η Ελένη Ανδρέου παρουσιάζει ένα αφιέρωμα στη Βίκυ Μοσχολιού, στο Ελληνικό Κέντρο Πολιτισμού 27-09 Crescent Street, Astoria, NY.

By Phyto Stratis

Η Ελένη Ανδρεου, είναι μια από τις πιο ιδιαίτερες παρουσίες στην μουσική σκηνή εδώ στην Αμερική εδώ και πολλά χρόνια. Γλυκειά, ευαίσθητη, πιστή σε ένα ρεπερτόριο που αντικατοπτρίζει την ποιότητα που έχει και ως άνθρωπος, μια σπουδαία ερμηνεύτρια που ταξιδεύει το κοινό με την βελούδινη φωνή και την φωτεινή σκηνική της παρουσία σε κόσμου που τόσο πολύ μας λείπουν και που έχουμε ανάγκη. Αυτή τη φορά με το αφιέρωμα «Πήρα Απ’ τη Νιότη Χρώματα» η Ελένη τιμά και μας θυμίζει την μεγάλη μας Βίκυ Μοσχολιού.

To όνομα της Βίκυ Μοσχολιού, είναι γραμμένο με τεράστια γράμματα στη μεγάλη μαρκίζα του Ελληνικού τραγουδιού. Ως το 2005 που μας άφησε, η Βίκυ Μοσχολιού τραγούδησε τραγούδια που οχι μονο έγιναν μεγάλες επιτυχίες, αλλα έγιναν βίωμα, συνοδεία στη χαρά και στην λύπη κάθε Ελληνικής καρδιάς σε όλη την οικουμένη. Την κληρονομιά που μας άφησε η μεγάλη αυτή Ελληνίδα ερμηνεύτρια τιμά και προβάλει η Ελένη Ανδρέου σε μία και μοναδική συναυλία στις 14 Οκτωβρίου , 5 το απόγευμα στο Ελληνικό Κέντρο Πολιτισμού 27-09 Crescent Street, Astoria, μαζι της οι καταξιωμένοι μουσικοί : Διαμαντής Τζιώβας, Μιχάλης Μιχαηλίδης, Αγγελος Παπαδάτος, Θοδωρής Τσινιάς και ο Διόδωρος Παγούδης στην παρουσίαση.
Τα καθαρά έσοδα από την συναυλία θα διατεθούν στον μη κερδοσκοπικό οργανισμό Hellenic Relief που απο το 2012 βοηθά οικογένειες αναξιπαθούντων στην Ελλάδα με βοήθεια σε είδος.

H Ελένη Ανδρέου δήλωσε στην Hellenic Daily News πως «είναι σημαντικό να μήν ξεχνάμε τους καλλιτέχνες που πάνω στους ώμους τους στηρίχθηκε το σύγχρονο Ελληνικό τραγούδι και περιμένει το Κυριακάτικο απόγευμα της 14ης Οκτωβρίου, η ομογένεια να γίνει μια παρέα για να τραγουδήσουμε όλοι μαζί τα «Δειληνά», «Ενα Αστέρι πέφτει-πέφτει» και δεκάδες αλλες μεγάλες πασίγνωστες επιτυχίες της μεγάλης μας ερμηνεύτριας».

Πήρα απ’τη νιότη χρώματα
Kυριακή, 14 Οκτωβρίου, 2018 5 μ.μ.
Για πληροφορίες και κρατήσεις στα τηλέφωνα:347-201-1821 & 718-551-6986
Είσοδος : $30- Τα καθαρά έσοδα θα διατεθούν για τις ανάγκες του Hellenic Relief Foundation

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THE PROSTITUTE UPSTAIRS: A funny and touching one woman show about justice and equality

Greek contemporary comic tragedy, THE PROSTITUTE UPSTAIRS, makes its English language debut in New York, at the 2018 United Solo Theatre Festival. The solo seventy-minute show, finds Erato, the housewife of a corrupt Greek policeman, returning home from her husband’s funeral. Reminiscing about her past, she identifies and frees herself from the social, cultural and psychological boundaries that have been keeping her from taking charge of her life. A tribute to all women, with sharp humor and biting irony, The Prostitute Upstairs, has received rave reviews in both Greece and France.

By Phyto Stratis

Elena Crociani is a Greek-Italian actress, raised in Volos, Greece. Before turning professionally into acting, a career she wanted to pursue ever since she was a kid, Elena studied international politics and worked among others, for the European Commission and for the United Nations Organization. Leaving behind her the world of political science, she studied acting in both Athens and New York. She appeared on stage in both Athens and NY and acted in the Greek series “Oi Symmathites” and “Ethniki Ellados”.

How did you choose this play for the United Solo Festival?
I wanted to participate with a play written by a Greek playwright because I believe that the contemporary Greek artists are underrepresented in the global artistic sphere. The United Solo, being the world’s largest solo festival, felt like the right place to do so. I came into contact with Antonis Tsipianitis because I was familiar with some of his work. He sent me several of his plays, but The Prostitute Upstairs was, in my opinion, his masterpiece.

Striking title too! What attracted you to it?
It was breathtaking; I laughed, I got sad, I got upset and, in the end, I reached my catharsis in tears. It spoke to me in so many ways. It is a play about justice, cultural imbalances between the sexes and the freedom of choice in a modern world. In a way, it binds together my background as a political scientist and my current state as an artist, by enclosing all the messages that humanitarian laws and conventions try to pass, in a very warm and humane story.

How did you decide to participate in this festival?
To be honest, I was looking for festivals in New York and the United Solo, claiming to be the world’s biggest solo festival, sounded like a big challenge for me. So I decided to go for the biggest challenge. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I exclude other festivals. On the contrary! You will most probably hear about this play again soon.
Out of the 70 minutes duration of this play, what’s a favorite quote you can share with us?
“I could also do that something special…And not for one, but for twenty men! Yes Sir!”

Now that’s a statement (both laughing). Elena how can someone keep up to date with your career?
I am active on my social media. People are free to check me up on facebook by my name or follow my Instagram account (@elenacrociani). And should they want to receive updates on this show, they may click on

We wish you best of luck on Saturday’s performance of your solo “The Prostitute Upstairs” , and as we say in theater terms break a leg.
Thank you very much Phyto, you personally and The Hellenic Daily News for the support!


Written by Antonis Tsipianitis | Starring Elena Crociani | Directed by Albert Baker.
One performance only, Saturday, October 13 2018 at 4pm
Theatre Row (The Studio Theatre), 410 W 42nd Street (between 9th and 10 Avenues), New York, NY 10036
• By phone at: 212-239-6200 (Mention the United Solo Theatre Festival, The Studio Theatre and the date and time of the show: October 13, 2018 at 4pm)
• At the Theatre Row box office
• Online via:

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