Cypriot win in Berlin

The talents of Cypriot director and writer Myrsini Aristidou were celebrated last week, when she was awarded the Special Prize of the Generation Kplus for the best short film at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival.

It is the first time a Cypriot woman filmmaker has participated in the festival, which, along with the Cannes and Venice film festivals, is considered to be among the top three international film events.
“I feel honoured and my heart is full of joy and gratitude… Thank you to my team and wonderful actors, this recognition belongs to all of you!

“Thank you to the jury, programmers and the Berlinale for the 66 years of making a difference in the Art of Cinema!

“Thank you to the city of Berlin, and the international multicultural spirit that allows for the magic to be,” Aristidou posted on her Facebook as she left the festival for New York, where she is currently finishing her MFA in Film Production.

Her film, Semele explores notions beyond the father-child relationship and seeks to re-examine any loving relationship between two people.

“Semele will do anything to spend some time with her long-absent father.

“A school note becomes just the excuse for her to visit him at his workplace, where her presence highlights their fragile relationship,” writes a synopsis of the film.

There is an underlying understanding between the two chara-cters and certain emotions and behaviours that are universally human.

The film depicts how fragile and vulnerable human relationships are and how important it is to accept oneself, in order to take any step forward.

The shooting of the film Semele took place in early January 2015 in Limassol and features Yiannis Stanhoglou as the father and young Vasiliki Kokkaliadi (as Semele), who had no previous experience on screen.

Of the casting process which took place in Athens, Myrsini had said, “I saw about 85 girls. Vasiliki was number 85. Once I saw her, I felt she was the girl I was looking for.”

Limassol-born Aristidou is an award-winning writer and director. She is currently receiving her MFA in Film Production at NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a TSOA Department Scholarship.

In 2013, she completed her BFA in Film and History of Art, at Pratt Institute in New York as part of the President’s List.

Her latest works include Semele (2015), a short documentary shot in Argentina, Ma (2014), the award-winning short film Not Now (2013) (International Short Film Festival of Cyprus 2014 – Best Directing Award), and the short documentary Lost Hopes (2011).

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London