Award-winning filmmaker Theopi Skarlatos has brought light to many issues in Greece during the economic crisis. Her new film follows the Syriza government during their first 100 days.
Theopi Skarlatos has covered many stories in her young life, but reporting the many angles of Greece in crisis, has changed her — personally and professionally.
Meet Theopi Skarlatos
Born and raised in her mother’s hometown of Warwick, Greek-Brit Theopi Skarlatos now calls London home. Her father hails from Doxa, Evros. He moved to Athens to study, and also found love. She and her family spent many holidays in Greece. Theopi attended school in Greece for one year.
After earning her degree in Broadcast Journalism, Theopi began an impressive career, contributing to Greek magazines, as well as Esquire and Huffington Post. She’s done extensive work in TV and radio, most notably for the BBC, including many online video features that she shot and edited. Theopi has reported extensively on the economic crisis in both Greece and Cyprus; and has reported from all over the world, including places like Rwanda, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Jamaica. She’s won numerous awards for her work. Her production company’s name is also inspired by Greece: Kallithea Films.
Documenting Greece in crisis
Her first documentary film, Love in the Time of Crisis, (2014) highlighted the effects of the often unseen and forgotten side of Greece’s crisis: its effect on dating, marriage, childhood and family life. She shared her experience creating the film in a collection of stories, called The Places We’ve Been, Field Reports from Travelers Under 35, which brought her to Chicago in 2014. When we met then, she said that when she went to Greece in 2013, she’d witnessed how the financial crisis was affecting people, and was inspired to tell the story, from a different angle.
In January 2015, Theopi released Greece: The End of Austerity. This short film documented Syriza’s rise to power in the snap election of January 2015. She followed Syriza activists, candidates, and leadership on the campaign trail, from the waterfront, to the tiniest mountain villages.
“Once Syriza won the election, it was difficult to put the cameras down, because we knew a clash would come between Europe and Greece. We just didn’t know when or how it would look.”
In order to keep those cameras rolling. Theopi and her colleague, reporter Paul Mason, immediately began crowdfunding.
Released in December 2015, #ThisIsACoup is a four-part series about a radical government trying to take over the world. It’s the inside story of Syriza’s first 100 days: how they won, what they did, and how they clashed with the EU and the global financial system. Theopi and Paul had exclusive and unprecedented access to the players — aptly called “characters”– including Alexis Tsipras, Yanis Varoufakis, Zoe Konstantopoulou, and Euclid Tsakalatos. They documented the government’s actions and plans, as well as the reactions of the people, as Syriza takes Greece to the precipice, nearly getting “kicked out” of the European Union. More importantly, it highlights the resilience of the Greek people, “in retreat, but not defeated.”
“I am always struck by the strength of the Greek people through all the hardships over the years and their resilience and productivity in the face of such bleakness; it never fails to astound me. It makes me proud every day to be part Greek. I often try and draw on those strengths in my own life, when things can be tough. It’s important to me that in the films I’ve worked on, that this shines through. #ThisIsACoup is not just a film about what happens in the corridors of power, but also on the streets with the people.”
#ThisIsACoup will be screened at film festivals around the world. Theopi is also organizing screenings and discussions in many cities. The film is also being made available for TV. She’s always on the lookout for her next project, and is very excited about the new year, and all it’s possibilities.
There’s so much more to come from this talented filmmaker. Theopi Skarlatos is indeed one to watch.
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