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UFT Hellenic American Educators Association’s Greek heritage celebration

Greek cinema discussed

Deme Savopolis, the president of the association, welcomes members to the celebrCara MetzDeme Savopolis, the president of the association, welcomes members to the celebration and introduces the evening’s speakers, Jimmy Demetro, the director of the annual New York City Greek Film Festival, (left) and George Stephanopoulos, the writer and producer of “Swing Away”.

UFT members who are part of the union’s Hellenic American Educators Association braved the cold for the warmth of a celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 16 at union headquarters. They enjoyed a discussion of the challenges facing today’s Greek cinema and dined on a Greek buffet dinner. Deme Savopolis, the president of the association, welcomed members with a brief history of Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. “Greeks began their struggle inspired by a deep love of liberty, rights and self-determination after nearly 400 years of being ruled, starting in 1473,” she said. The evening’s program included a discussion led by two Greek Americans with a passionate interest in Greek cinema. Jimmy Demetro, the director of the annual New York City Greek Film Festival, shared colorful anecdotes about the directors he has known, discussed the state of Greek cinema at home and abroad, and introduced the audience to his favorite independent cinema, known as the Greek Weird Wave for its unusual themes and treatment. “Greek films are winning major prizes at foreign film festivals, but have yet to find a large audience at home,” he said. George Stephanopoulos, the writer and producer of “Swing Away,” discussed his film, which is based on the story of a professional golfer who returns to her grandparents’ home on Rhodes and rediscovers her Greek heritage.

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