MY HUMAN SELF (2017) - INFORMATION
Running time: 75 mins
Directors: Lukas Agelastos & Spiridoula Gouskou
Language: Greek (with English subtitles)
Country of origin: Greece
Format: 1920x1080,16:9, 24 fps, Sound: Stereo
The middle-aged Kostas is struggling with unemployment. With his stubbornness and selfishness driving him, he creates a social kitchen with which he cooks on the streets of Greece every day, trying to come closer to people in need. When his social venture becomes famous, his ego and stubbornness bring him close to failure and in conflict with his life partner and his own self.
Since 2006, Lukas Agelastos and Spiridoula Gouskou have been professional photographers and video directors, capturing over 500 weddings on the island of Zakynthos and other Greek locations.
In November 2013, we first heard about the Social Kitchen "The Other Human", while we were looking to create a short documentary on a social issue. We phoned Konstantinos and he invited us to film him. Once we met him and Elena Aggelopoulou in Athens, we were blown away with his view on the world and how he deals with solidarity. We filmed them for two days and created the short documentary "The Unemployed Man Who Feeds The Homeless", that recently went viral on social media in Greece with over 300,000 views.
This short film won Film Of The Month at Eurasia Film Fest Moscow 9/2017, and Best Short Documentary Film at Bucharest Short to the Point Film Festival 7/2017, Berlin Flash Festival 9/2017, Miami Independent Film Festival 7/2017 and Eurasia Film Fest Moscow 9/2017.
Seeing the success of this short and the very positive comments from people spurred us on to delve deeper into the issue of homelessness, and decided to explore it by interviewing organisations that deal with homeless people, as well as homeless people themselves. In March 2014, we began a second round of filming. We interviewed NGOs dealing with homeless people, as well as homeless people themselves. All in all, about 25 interviews. But we kept coming back to Konstantinos, Elena and the other volunteers of the Social Kitchen "The Other Human" as the material we got from them was so strong.
In January 2016, we travelled to the island of Lesvos with Konstantinos and Elena to see how they deal with the refugee crisis. In October 2016, we followed them to Central Italy, where they tried to open an independent Social Kitchen.
While we had an idea of what we wanted to film from Konstantinos, it was through a discussion with Elena on the way to Italy when the final story of the film started taking shape. We asked her what she thought the biggest obstacle in the amazing story of Konstantinos was. She replied "it's his own self!". We knew then that this was where we needed to focus our material on: On one level the amazing story of the Social Kitchen's solidarity, but on a second, deeper level, the character of our protagonist and how his ego and stubbornness are what created this and at the same time are his biggest obstacle. He says at some point "There can't be solidarity without selfishness" and we think this really sums up the personality of our film's protagonist.
We went into the story quite openly and only in the end started writing a treatment, which we based our edit on, and which we kept refining during the edit, which lasted from September 2016 to January 2017.
Our micro-budget production was financed by ourselves and with the help of four friends.
We shot entirely on our existing gear from our photography studio, and even using our mobile phones where we weren't permitted to shoot, like for example in the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesvos.
Specifically, in scenes shot in 2013, 2014 and 2015 we used Canon 7Ds, Sennheiser lav mics, Rode VideoMics and two 500W Bowens photography studio lights with softboxes for interviews. In the scenes shot in 2016 and 2017 we used Sony a7s and Sony a7mk ii cameras as well as our iPhone 5 and Sony Xperia Z3 mobile phones.
We used a Manfrotto tripod and Manfrotto monopods, as well as a lot of handheld shooting with the Sony a7ii, which incorporates a built-in 5-axis stabiliser. We also shot with a Steadicam Merlin, a DJI Phantom 3 drone and a Gildetrack slider but ended up cutting nearly all of these scenes out because they looked too produced for the intimate style we wanted to achieve.
We usually were only one or two people present while shooting, to create this intimacy with our protagonists that is visible throughout the movie. This of course created some technical issues, as being the director, the DP and sound recordist at the same time isn't easy. But in the end, we think story always comes first. And we have an interesting story here.
Directed, written and filmed by Lukas Agelastos & Spiridoula Gouskou
This is their first feature after having created a short version of the film.
Lukas has studied Social Studies, Business & Management in Scotland, and Film Directing at Raindance Festival/Staffordshire University.
Spiridoula has studied Photography & Restoration of Ancient Works of Art, Acting and Film Directing at New York College/ Greenwich University. As a photographer, she has received awards from National Geographic magazine, the Hellenic Centre of Photography, and others. She has taken film seminars from famous Greek directors Nikos Grammatikos, Filippos Koutsaftis and screenwriter Doris Avgerinopoulos and is a professional photographer.
Editor: Ioanna Pogiantzi
Ioanna has worked as editor on numerous short and feature narrative films and documentaries,such as Taxidiara Ssychi, Soula ela xana, Vibes, Ontos filiountai?, Roughcut, O tyflos psaras, and most notably as assistant editor of Oscar-nominated Dogtooth (2009, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis).
Original Music: Ypogeia Reymata
Ypogeia Reymata is one of Greece's best known rock bands. They formed in 1992 and have released 8 studio albums with such notable hits as "M'aresei na min leo polla" and "Asimenia sfika".
The music for this film was written by them.
Here is the video clip of Ypogeia Reymata performing "Xenos", one of the tracks of the documentary.
MY HUMAN SELF (2017):
Music recording & mixing:
polyphoniki sound studios
Pantelis Zervos/ Provocateur