ASTORIA – The Hellenic Films Society USA (HFS) New York Greek Film Expo continued on October 7 with the screening of Magnetic Fields at the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria. The award-winning film, directed by Yorgos Gousis, is the official Greek entry for Best International Feature at the 2023 Oscars and won Best Picture at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards in 2022, among others.
HFS President Jimmy DeMetro delivered welcoming remarks at the screening, noting that first director Gousis is a comic book artist who wanted to “break away” from his “lonely job” and do something that involved d ‘other people. Gousis made Magnetic Fields in Kefalonia with a budget of just 6,000 euros, three actors, one camera and no script, although they had a story plan, DeMetro pointed out.
“They just improvised as they went along following the precepts of this story outline that they had created,” DeMetro said. “The film has won several awards, it premiered in Thessaloniki last year, and most recently at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards it won five, including Best Film of the Year, Best Actress and best director for the first time. It swept the awards show, beating out far more expensive films, and now the crowning glory of it all is Greece’s submission to next year’s Oscar competition.
As the audience cheered enthusiastically, DeMetro clarified that “it wasn’t nominated, each country submits a film, and I hope it will catch the attention of Academy members.”
Audiences were impressed by the irresistible Magnetic Fields which follows two strangers who meet by chance and form an unexpected relationship. The single camera and chemistry between the cast created an intimate atmosphere that many big budget films lack. The characters, their reactions and interactions, and the seascapes and landscapes of the island keep viewers riveted to this film from the opening scenes to the end. In their impromptu dialogue, actors Elena Topalidou and Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos are completely natural, with awkward silences and flashes of wit creating layers of meaning in this gem of a film. The scenes between Tsitsiopoulos and Nikos Spandis as a local gravedigger exhibit a level of realism and humor that viewers greatly appreciated. As the credits rolled, the audience cheered and many expressed hope to see Magnetic Fields among the Oscar-nominated foreign language films.
The award-winning short film, Jackpot, was also screened ahead of the feature film presentation and also impressed the audience with dynamic characters in a moving and entertaining plot. Directed and with a screenplay by Dimitris Zapatinas, the film explores how no good deed goes unrewarded and features Petros Lagoutis as a grandson, Dinos Soutis as a grandfather and Renos Haralambidis as a house doctor. retreat where the grandfather resides.
The New York Greek Film Expo wraps up Sunday, October 9 with screenings of The Fortune Teller at MoMI in Astoria and My Name is Eftyhia at Alpine Cinemas in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
More information and tickets are available online: https://hellenicfilmusa.org.