"To discover our reality we must explore our illusion" Stella Dimadis
25.12 is based on the short story, 'Christmas' written by Thanasis Papastergiou. It has been adapted into a screenplay by me with production on the short film having started in 2014, and completed in 2015. The short film revolves around an older man who faces loneliness on Christmas Day and the actions and repercussions that he goes through, in trying to experience the festivities of Christmas. When most people share Christmas day with their families, organising gifts and feasting on wonderful food, what becomes of those people who don't have anyone to experience Christmas, Easter or associated milestones throughout the year? I explore the foundations of the emotional rollercoaster of such an experience through the use of colour, the landscape, music and the art of film to exemplify this mental state.
It was easy for me to see the film before production as I had already seen what loneliness looked like. For me it was a place that not many dared to go, but many found themselves in; a scary place; futile, alienating, inhuman and brutal.
I hope that in seeing the film the audience can come away armed with a little bit of responsibility in reaching out to older people whose lives may not be as full of family and friends as initially thought.
Leonidas, the protagonist, is played by Antonios Baxevanidis, a well known Melbourne actor and photographer. He artfully portrays the emotions whilst he goes through the motions of the day, starting off by wrapping and preparing Christmas gifts, which he gives away to two strangers on a train, only to find himself in a restaurant where he beckons his dead family. The audience is left wondering of the philosophical conversation around the dinner table is in fact occurring or is it merely a figment of his imagination. The surreality of the film captures the psychological state of Leonidas' mind. He finds himself by the beach, listening to Vivaldi's Spring, played by Theano Milides as he recounts a verse written by Thanasis Papastergiou and ventures off into the cool, dark blue waters of the beach.
Leonidas is supported by Nicole Chamoun, as his mother, Jim Koutsoukos, as his father, Faezeh Parkes, Karl Peschek, as his grandparents, and Peta Nasopoulos as his younger sister. With flashbacks and stories, the viewer is drawn into a past world during world War II, where the family is touched by war, famine, disease and finally death for some of the family members. An overall cast and crew of forty five people helped to bring the film together, with a special mention of Con Filippidis who was the Cinematographer and expertly coordinated to bring the colour, light and characters to life, mindfully acknowledging my need to have each frame perceived as art in its own right.
25.12 will have its first private screening on the 5th of July, 2015, before it heads off to festivals worldwide.