Training and co-production markets: Berlinale Talents Project, TorinoFilmLab FeatureLab
Konstantinos Antonopoulos is a filmmaker based in Athens, Greece. His latest short Postcards From The End Of The World (2019) is currently traveling in festivals and winning awards such as Best Comedy at Aspen Shortsfest, Jury Prize at Regard ISFF, Audience Award at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. He received his MFA in filmmaking from Columbia University in New York, on an Onassis Foundation scholarship. While studying in the U.S. he directed several shorts, amongst which the award-winning Without Glasses (2009) and Lea (2013). Back in Athens he co-wrote the feature film Symptom (Torino Film Festival 2015), edited the feature film My First Kiss And The People Involved (L.A. FIlmFestival 2016), and directed a number of documentary series for the TV and the web. He’s a Berlinale Talents, Torino Film Lab, and Less Is More alumni. In 2019 he received the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship Award. He teaches filmmaking at the Onassis Cultural Center. He believes in patience.
Aegean Sea, 703 AD. Two shipwrecked convicts, trapped in wooden pillories, wash ashore on a desert island. One is ZAHARIAS, a naive, cross-eyed beekeeper who has been accused of heresy by a neighbour who covets his wife. The other is JUSTINIAN II, former ruler of the Byzantine Empire, now dethroned, humiliated and mutilated: his nose is cut off.
Humble man and fallen god are equally desperate: betrayed, lost and ready to die. Their chance encounter gives them a glimmer of hope. Justinian sees a chance to reclaim his throne, while Zaharias starts believing he might be able to get his wife back.
The two pilloried men embark on a mission to reach the mainland, but the island keeps placing hurdles in their way, forcing them to face their inner frailties. Determined to prove to each other — and to themselves — they are entitled to a second chance, Justinian and Zaharias will become partners, enemies, and also each other’s mentor.
Glory B is an absurd, byzantine buddy movie about power, friendship, and the need to wipe your own ass with somebody else’s hand.
Historical films tend to be associated with large productions, elaborate sets, and conservative storytelling. Glory B, based on the real story of the Byzantine emperor Justinian II, is an attempt to twist the tradition of epic films, in a minimalist, unorthodox, two-character story.
The seed of the story came from an image I stumbled upon the medieval pillory. A punishment at once cruel and ridiculous; symbolic yet as-real-as-it-gets. Indeed, the eastern medieval world of the Byzantine Empire, filled with bloody court intrigues, absurd theological conflicts, and preposterous superstitions, seems light-years away from our tidy, civil, scientific reality. Yet, traces of this “dark” period insist on saturating our newsfeed today: religious fanaticism, torture, slavery, anti-scientific dogmas, grotesque politics. Ιs history a repetition of the same play with different actors, directors, and sets? Maybe looking at a past where the illogical and the intolerable (in today’s standards) was the norm will help us clarify our present predicament more effectively.
Equally desperate and comedic, elevated and ridiculous, brutal, and all-too-human, Glory B attempts to explore our failure to live up to our ambitions and our idea of success. We all are similar to Justinian and Zaharias: living paradoxes trapped inside ourselves.