Europe’s elephant

In the meantime we have brought our film project “Finding Europe” to Greece, Austria, Lithuania and Poland, we will soon be shooting in Leipzig and Berlin (Germany) and we are intensively preparing the filming for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania (Transylvania) and Italy, France, Spain, Denmark and Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Because we’d rather go filming than write about shooting, we have neglected this little blog very much. In loose order you can find a few stills from the filming in Austria, Poland and Lithuania. Those were some moving weeks in which we met very special people who gave us deep insights into their lives. Of course, the photos only give you an idea of that, but there will soon be a film that will tell you much more and more precisely.

Under the conditions of the global pandemic, “Finding Europe” has of course been and continues to be somewhat different than it war planned. There are quarantine times in the respective countries, when we have to wait and we are not be able to work. We no longer know how many tests (all negative) we already had in the team. We have to devote a large part of the logistics and planning to observing the respective national regulations and their hygiene concepts. But Corona (this is our impression of the material we have already shot) also makes the cinematic search for Europe much more exciting. Almost all interviewees mention the pandemic when they talk about Europe’s (lack of) cohesion, its decision-making ability and its bureaucratic hurdles. The “Finding Europe” project has become more specific, so to speak, because of the pandemic, because a very obvious touchstone of European identity is also the (non-) coping with the challenges of the pandemic: Corona is Europe’s elephant that stands in the living room.

Hanioti

In July 2020 we started filming for our project “Finding Europe”. Bille and Georgios (a German-Greek couple) took us to Hanioti, a double-faced holiday village in the south of Thessaloniki. Hanioti has two faces because it contains two European realities. The wealthy holidaymakers frolic along the coastline of the village. In the small houses in the mountains above the village, the staff of the vacation dream often lives in poverty. Those who are “lucky” work hard enough for a meager wage during the summer months, so that there is enough money for food, wood and a few little dreams for the cold, wet winter. Those who are unlucky fall by the wayside.

Georgios and Bille were our guides and translators. Georgios conducted three of five long interviews with people from the region himself. Bille also became a set photographer. Most of the pictures in the gallery below are from her.

Corona hit Hanioti hard. The number of visitors collapsed. Many “villagers” were now unable to find work in the hotels along the beautiful blue sea. The Greek state can hardly help. The Union’s austerity policy has paralyzed the country and has infuriated the Greeks. “Where is Europe when it is needed?” our interview partners kept asking us.

And yet there were tentative dreams of another Europe based on solidarity that might set out to resolve social inequalities within and between countries more resolutely. These parts of the interviews are perhaps the most touching.

We will go south a second time in the next few weeks. This time to Athens, where we want to explore the urban side of the country. Then we will turn to the next EU country, Lithuania.

New film project: Finding Europe

The European house was once built by heads of state and governments and was initially primarily an economic project in the interest of a peace order. It was not the European people who demanded and fought for Europe, but they rather moved in the Union like tenants in a house that others built for them. Today, the European house is in need of renovation. Nationalists and separatists threaten it. Britain will leave the EU. People in other countries and regions are also campaigning for the exit.

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