After working in the corporate world for years, Greek-American filmmaker Chrysovalantis Stamelos decided it was time to satisfy his desire to search for his roots in Anatolia, the historical birthplace of his ancestors. So, he picked up and moved to the homeland of his great-grandparents: Turkey.
His family and friends thought he was crazy. Maybe he was, but he couldn’t shake off the stories he heard growing up… of old Smyrna and Asia Minor.
Hello Anatolia follows Stamelos’ reconnection with his ancestry through the exploration of neighborhoods, interviews with Greeks of Turkey, and his immersion into the art and culture. Stamelos will break down barriers between two cultures with a history of feuding, as well as build a bridge from the Aegean to the US, all while preparing to be a father.
Pre-production of Hello Anatolia started in Spring of 2010, when director Valantis Stamelos officially moved to the city of Izmir. Over the course of 10 months, locations were scouted, as well as the remnants of the surviving Greek-speaking communities of Asia Minor. Upon development, a grassroots fundraising campaign began on Kickstarter.com, where over $6,400 was raised with the support of several communities including Greek-Americans, Turkish-Americans, documentary lovers, and people interested with the topic of Smyrna and its Hellenic roots.
Production began in May 2010 all throughout the city of Izmir, including the historical locations like the home of Aristotle Onassis, the Consulate General’s Office of Greece in Smyrna, and the historical village of Cesme, where director Valantis Stamelos reconnects with his family’s roots.
The team also filmed in Istanbul, where they filmed interviews and footage of historical Hellenic settings including the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Saint George, Apogevmatini Istanbul-Greek Newspaper Headquarters, and the Hellenic Cultural Center in Pera (Beyoglu). Interviews also include notable celebrities including legendary singer Glykeria, singer Fide Koksal who currently sings with Mimis Plessas and Giannis Ploutarhos, and famed culinary chef Maria Ekmekcioglu who currently hosts the MegaTV cooking show Apo Tin Poli Erhome (I’m Coming from Istanbul).
Post-Production took place with three teams between Turkey, Greece, and New York. The film’s soundtrack is produced by international musician and composer Yannis Saoulis based in Thessaloniki, Greece.