A Family Affair, an intimate portrait of the famous Xylouris family and their sacred bonds with the musical tradition of Crete, will premiere in Greece and worldwide in January 2015.
Directed by Angeliki Aristomenopoulou, the film follows three generations of musicians of the family who uphold and pass on the vibrant tradition of Cretan music performing ceaselessly to followers across the world.
From the legendary Antonis Xylouris – widely known as Psarantonis – to his son, the famous lute player and singer George Xylouris – nicknamed Psarogiorgis – and his three children Nikos Antonis and Apollonia studying in Australia, the film follows Greece’s most famous musical clan to discover the electrifying and the sacred ties that hold the family together.
“It captures how music is passed on from father to son to grandchildren, in a contemporary Greek-Australian family, brought together and apart by their love of music,” says Aristomenopoulou.
“We don’t carry this tradition as a family weight,” explains George Xylouris. “It’s part of our lives, of who we are. We need this tradition to live, like we need oxygen.”
The film begins in 2012. George’s family is at a turning point. George is constantly on the move travelling across the world to perform. But now, he and his Australian wife Shelagh must prepare to part with their 16 yr old daughter, Apollonia, who moves to Australia to finish school. There, she joins her two brothers already studying music. Two months later, the three children welcome their father and grandfather Psarantonis. The three generations are to play together for the first time performing at Womadelaide and the Forum in Melbourne. As the concert approaches, the children’s anxiety grows and their relationship with each other is tested. It is a pivotal time for all, before each pursues their own lives.
From the mountains of Crete to Australian deserts, the film unravels the portrait of a unique family that has the power to sacrifice – and win – everything through music.
A Family Affair is produced by Anemon Productions and Unicorn Films in collaboration with ABC Australia, the Greek Film Centre, OTE TV, and most recently, NERIT, the Greek public broadcaster. The film is released under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).
A short version of the film, entitled Sounds Like Home was aired on ABC Australia in October 2014. The feature-length documentary will premiere on January 8, 2015, in Athens, Greece. Its European premiere will take place at the FIPA-International Festival of Audiovisual Programs, Biarritz, France.
The film will be released in February-March 2015 in every state in Australia, at the Palace Cinemas. We are currently looking for screening partners in the US and in Europe.
A high-quality soundtrack of the film includes songs and live performances recorded over a three year filming period. It includes performances by George Xylouris, his three children Nikos, Antonis and Apollonia as well as their grandfather, Psarantonis.
It also features recordings with drummer Jim White and the Xylouris and Hannan family friends in Crete and Australia.
Anemon is collaborating with Coti K, an established musician, composer, record producer and sound engineer based in Athens. His work includes collaborations with Tuxedomoon, Stereo Nova, Blaine Reininger, The Raining Pleasure, Nikos Veliotis and Ilios.
But this is not all!
The film’s director and production are currently running an outreach campaign on Kickstarter to make Cretan music known to a broader international audience.
“Since we started this project, we have seen immense interest across the world by individuals, associations, music and dance groups, schools and universities to use the film,” says Aristomenopoulou.
Anemon is working with Maria Hnaraki, founding director of Greek Studies at Drexel University and author of Cretan Music: Unravelling Ariadne’s Thread, to help bring the film and Cretan music to classrooms across the world –especially in communities of the Greek Diaspora. The teacher’s guide will be offered free of cost and will help teachers use A Family Affair to teach Greek and also to help students connect with Greek music, and learn to compose Cretan mantinades and to dance.
The team is also looking for outreach and screening partners across the US, Australia and Europe, to host screenings of the film and help to organise special events dedicated to Cretan culture.
Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/XylourisFamily
Reach us at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1135847574/a-family-affair-soundtrack-and-outreach-campaign
Angeliki Aristomenopoulou, Director
Angeliki Aristomenopoulou is a director and photographer living in Athens. From 2005 until 2010 she worked as director and researcher for the documentary series World Musicians, one of the ERT’s most popular series about world music. She has completed over 30 documentaries with themes from all over the world, some of which have been broadcasted by CBC/Canada, Al-Jazeera/UK, Czechka Televize & Slovenska Televizia.
Her most recent work as a director and cinematographer is the feature length documentary Wandering Soul that won the Fipresci Award for Best Documentary at the Thessaloniki Film Festival 2010.
Anemon produces documentaries, television programmes, cross-media projects and exhibitions for the Greek and international market.
Recent films include
- Kismet (Al-Jazeera, ARTE, SVT, RTS, YLE, Channel 8)
- The World’s First Computer (ARTE, ΕΡΤ, NHK, BBC 4, PBS)
- A Place Without People (FOCAL Award, RTBF Award and the best documentary Award by the Hellenic Film Academy)
The films Sugartown: the Day After and The Bridegrooms were screened by over 40 broadcasters across the world.
Anemon, a member company of Documentary Campus, organizes a year-long documentary festival called CineDoc, designed to promote theatrical releases of documentaries across Greece.