BABY / Greece
Born in Greece in 1986, he received his MFA in Film Directing. He has lived and worked in several different cities anc countries, teaching Film & Media, also working in shorts and features. He took part in Berlinale Talents (2013) and Sarajevo Talents (2014). His first short drama King Kong premiered at Rotterdam IFF 2014 and continued in QueerLisboa, Split, Sguardi Altrove, Pink Screens and Queersicht. BABY is his feature debut, being developed with the support of the Greek Film Fund while winning the YapimLab award in Sarajevo’s Pack&Pitch 2014.
Zackarias (19) is a petty drug mule who recently moved to Athens with his pregnant girlfriend Sophia (18) to hide the pregnancy from her parents. After Sophia gives birth, they are no longer of use to their criminal friends and they are thrown out of the house. Zackarias\’ pick-up truck becomes their new home. Petros (17), a queer teen at the beginning of his transitioning to a girl, follows them around and is the only one who knows how to take care of the baby, helping out the couple. Sophia, overwhelmed by the responsibilities of her new role, takes off. Zackarias’ world turns upside down. Saddled with the baby and unready to look after it, he tries abandoning it but can’t see it through. He decides to man up and do everything in his power to bring Sophia back: find a job, sell his pick up truck, get a flat. But he can’t do it on his own. He’s asking for Petros’ help so the two teens form an atypical family in this new household and an intricate bond that will be challenged upon Sophia’s return.[
A contemporary teen drama, “baby” aims to be an honest and revealing insight into the unconventional and turmoiled lives of three teenagers in modern Athens who dare to challenge social prescripts and traditional values and give birth to their own atypical family.
The movie engages with the ideas of family, love and tolerance in a pragmatic and interlinkable way. The three characters embark on a journey that will provoke dilemmas and identity crises, bringing them face-to-face with their fears and weaknesses, revealing their vulnerabilities and the need they have for one another, the need to accept and be accepted.
The characters, although young and unpredictable, are also relatable and identifiable: they represent different aspects of Greek society. Zackarias embodies the older generation, echoing his father’s behaviour and ideas which are deeply rooted in patriarchal values. He is far from taking on his fatherhood role and can’t accept the reality of his girlfriend abandoning him. Sophia is trapped in a life she doesn’t want, amongst a boyfriend she doesn’t love anymore, a baby that she didn’t plan on having and can’t take care of and guilt. Petros who, after being thrown out of his family house for wanting to be a trans girl, finally gets the chance to experience and fulfil his role as a woman, through acquiring the role of motherhood for the baby. Each one of the characters is a catalyst for the other ones to grow and come together.
The setting for the story is present Athens, a complex post-millennial city: bustling, stimulating, ever-evolving, whimsical and brutal. The recent financial and refugee crises that have deeply transformed the capital, provide the ground for all different kinds of chances and obstacles that will test these three teenagers.
In terms of the visual style, the film will feature a seemingly raw and naturalistic approach to filmmaking. A hand-held camera will join the characters closely to capture those intimate moments of naivety, playfulness, distress and despair. The natural and unfiltered lighting will pay tribute to the unique quality and intensity of the scorching Greek summer sun. The editing and sound will serve the same goal by staying “invisible”, establishing a momentary and real-time feel and rhythm to the entire movie, avoiding non-diegetic sound and mood music while the baby’s cries and constant city noises will be a continuous reminder of the pressure the characters are under.
The intention is to bring all the above construction and story elements together to create a raw, honest and touching drama that will highlight the internal and external struggles of these kids in their journey to form a new family. The movie will rediscover the coming-of-age genre in relation to gender, diversity and teen parenthood, issues that haven’t been dealt with enough in Greek cinema so far. This story is crucial to be shared now because, despite recent steps towards legal recognition of LGBTQ rights, Greek society still holds on to some pretty conservative views.
Producer: Maria Drandaki (Homemade Films)
Funding: Greek Film Center Development Support