SMARAGDA / Cyprus
Emilios hold a diploma in Audio Visual Communication, a Bsc in Media Technology and a Digital Compositing certificate. He has worked on hundreds of productions as an editor and visual effects artist. From TV commercials with big clients, to short and feature films in Cyprus and London. Within the past 6 years he wrote and directed many music videos and two short films. His first short film “Bad Habits” has screened in 26 festivals around the world and has won 8 awards. His latest short “Rearrangement” starts its festival run in October 2018 at the Oscar qualifying, Edmonton International Film Festival.
The film revolves around Smaragda, a 50 year old childless woman who lives off from collecting residuals from a kids Tv show she hosted 15 years ago. She lives alone with her two dogs in a small house that she inherited from her mother in a small touristy town in Cyprus. One day she gets a call that the show will not be broadcasted anymore and that she will no longer collect residuals for it. Smaragda is terrified and for the first time after many years of living in a bubble, she has to face reality and get a job, a normal job. Her two friends, Paul middle-aged divorcee living with his mother and Tina, middle-aged still struggling with her sexuality, try to help her. After a few unsuccessful attempts in securing a job, Paul suggests to Smaragda to start working as a kid’s party entertainer. Having a feisty attitude and while still trying to defend her life choices within a narrow- minded community while the town is surrounded by deviant tourist behavior, Smaragda and her misfit friends, engage in juvenile activities and work their way through their everyday life trying to find a silver lining. Some could say that “Smaragda” is a coming of age film, at 50!
Smaragda is a character study film that dives into the life of a childless, unmarried 50 year old woman. The film deals with the theme of success, personal and professional, and how that is translated in society today. This film is also about being human and all its flaws, complex human relationships and social standards. It is about finding that moment of truth, your sense of purpose,
acknowledging that success doesn’t always have to be measured by wealth or fame, marriage or children; that it can be found in small things, even if it’s as small as entertaining little kids at parties, the same kids that maybe one day will face the same issues. It is about that moment in life where you realise who you are and you accept it.
The story is inspired by a personal relative of mine that lives and works in a small touristy town in Cyprus. She went through many unsuccessful relationships only to decide to stay unmarried, childless and live by herself. Many relatives and people in the town still criticise her and consider her a failure. This still shows that people’s identity has always been labeled with social statuses. They forget that this person is other things too. She’s a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a friend! More and more people in the recent years choose a childless life and are very happy with their decision.
In this film, Smaragda reflects on what she has been through and where she is now, tries to pick herself up and continue her journey. She went through her life chasing success only to leave it unfulfilled. Instead of trying to find her path in life, she got locked in a bubble living in denial. Through her feisty and somewhat quirky character, her life is being reset and she starts looking at things from a different perspective. She was raised in a small town where everybody knew each other, people talked about each other and life was structured around the ideological constructs of a narrow-minded community, while ironically at the same time, the touristy side of the town presented a deviant behaviour.
Her only friends Paul, a midlife divorcee currently living with his mother and her friend Tina, a single mom struggling with her sexuality, are part of social statuses that are still frowned upon nowadays in these small communities. We experience the genuine relationship between these misfit characters and especially Paul and Smaragda’s, which is strictly friendly but leaves us with a hint of the possibility of something more being there.
The film will have an observational naturalism using handheld camera movements to re enforce the natural feel of the film. The acting and dialogue will have a humanist feel to it with a lot of space for improvisation from the actors. The biggest part of the dialogue is to reinforce the character traits rather than push the narrative forward. The idea is to make a film with relatable genuine characters where their obstacles are being under laid in the film; slices of life, the parts which do not seem important but it’s where you find the essence in things in a subtle and honest way.
Producer: Tonia Mishiali (Bark Like A Cat Films)
Funding: Cyprus Ministry of Culture Production Support, Cyprus Ministry of Culture Development Support