the girl with the dragon tattoo

the girl with the dragon tattoo
Yes, I have a dragon tattoo as well

Κυριακή, 24 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Ευτυχία είναι ... \ Happiness is...


[Scroll down for English]

Σήμερα βρέχει. Ευτυχία είναι έξω να βρέχει κι εσύ να κάθεσαι μέσα δίπλα στη φωτιά, με ένα ζεστό φλυτζάνι τσάι στο χέρι. Να παρακολουθείς τις φλόγες τσι όπως στροβιλίζονται και η μυρωδιά της κανέλας στο τσάι να σου γαργαλά την μύτη. Ευτυχία είναι να αφήνεις τις αισθήσεις σου να σε κατακλύζουν, ανεμπόδιστα. Η χαρά να έρχεται και να φεύγει χωρίς να κρατάς τίποτα για σένα πέρα από αυτή την απλή, ταπεινή κούπα με το τσάι.

Ευτυχία είναι να επικοινωνείς. Να έχεις χρόνια να δεις έναν φίλο, κι όταν βρεθείτε μετά από καιρό, και μιλάτε, ο καθένας για την ζωή του, και βλέπετε πόσα πράγματα σας δυσκόλεψαν, και πόσα πράγματα ξεπεράσατε, να θαυμάζετε και οι δυο μαζί πόσο απίστευτο είναι ότι καταφέρατε μετά από τόσο καιρό, να είστε ακόμη εδώ. Ευτυχία είναι η αναγνώριση αυτής της συγκυρίας.

Ευτυχία είναι τα παιδιά. Να τα βλέπεις να μεγαλώνουν, να κάνουν τα πρώτα τους βήματα. Είτε είναι δικά σου, είτε όχι. Να βλέπεις με αισιοδοξία το μέλλον μέσα στα μάτια τους. Να ξέρεις ότι ο κόσμος αναγεννιέται, κάθε στιγμή. Να χαίρεσαι, που ο κόσμος θα συνεχίσει να υπάρχει, ακόμη κι όταν εσύ έχεις πια φύγει.

Ευτυχία είναι ένα καλό βιβλίο την στιγμή που το χρειάζεσαι. Να σε κάνει να δεις την ζωή διαφορετικά. Να σε ταξιδέψει, να περιπλανηθείς στην ζωή κάποιου άλλου, να δεις τον κόσμο με τα δικά του μάτια. Κι όταν τελειώσεις την ανάγνωση, να αναφωνήσεις. Μα πόσο υπέροχη, πόσο μοναδική, είναι η ζωή.

Ευτυχία είναι να αναγνωρίζεις τις στιγμές. Το πόσο πολύτιμες είναι. Πόσο θαυμάσιο, είναι, κάθε φαινόμενο που εκδηλώνεται, κάθε στιγμή. 

Ευτυχία είναι να κρατάς το βλέμμα σου καθαρό από την ρουτίνα και την επανάληψη. Αναλογίσου πόσες συνθήκες χρειάστηκαν να συγχρονιστούν για να συμβεί κάτι, κάθε στιγμή. Πόσα πράγματα χρειάστηκαν να συμβούν για να ανθίσει, έστω κι ένα απλό λουλούδι. Θαύμασέ το, μύρισέ το, και μετά σκέψου πόσα δισεκατομμύρια, τρισεκατομμύρια, άπειρα λουλούδια έχουν υπάρξει από τότε που υπάρχει η φύση στη Γη.

Ευτυχία είναι να καταφέρνεις, κάθε τόσο, να κάνεις κάτι καινούριο στην ζωή σου. Κάτι λίγο διαφορετικό. Κάτι που σου φαινόταν δύσκολο ή ακατόρθωτο, αλλά βρήκες το θάρρος, το πείσμα και το κουράγιο να το πραγματοποιήσεις. Ευτυχία είναι να νιώθεις ότι μπορείς να κάνεις πραγματικότητα κάθε σου ευγενή επιθυμία, κάθε όραμα που έχει σημασία, όχι μόνο για 'σενα, αλλά για το καλό όλων.

Ευτυχία είναι, να ζεις την κάθε στιγμή. Γιατί κάθε στιγμή είναι μοναδική, φεύγει, και δεν επιστρέφει ποτέ. Ευτυχία είναι να μην μένεις εγκλωβισμένος στο παρελθόν και να μην στεναχωριέσαι για το μέλλον.

Ευτυχία είναι να μην φοβάσαι, τις στιγμές που αλλάζουν, συνεχώς. Να αγκαλιάζεις την αλλαγή και την παροδικότητα, ως κάτι το φυσικό και το αναπότρεπτο. Να χαίρεσαι που όλα συμβαίνουν έτσι όπως συμβαίνουν, χωρίς καμία ανάγκη να επέμβεις και να αλλάξεις εσύ τίποτα.

Ευτυχία είναι να συγχρονίζεσαι με την ροή του κόσμου. Να την αναγνωρίζεις, έτσι όπως ρέει, φυσικά και αβίαστα, όπως το ποτάμι. Να βλέπεις την καθαρότητά του, την αγνότητά του, την απίστευτη ομορφιά του. 

Τόσο απλό είναι. Κι όμως τόσο δύσκολο, να πιάσεις την ευτυχία. Γιατί η ευτυχία δεν κρατά, όταν προσπαθείς να την εγκλωβίσεις. Όταν σκέφτεσαι πόσα λάθη έκανες στο παρελθόν, και πόσα θα ήθελες να αλλάξεις, δεν ευτυχείς, δυστυχείς. Σκέψου λοιπόν ποια ήταν αυτή η αλληλουχία των γεγονότων που σε οδήγησε στα λάθη σου. Δες το αναπότρεπτο του γίγνεσθαι. Απελευθερώσου. Και πάντα, μα πάντα, επέστρεφε στο παρόν.

Μην προσπαθείς να αλλάξεις το μέλλον με σχέδια και προγράμματα. Η ζωή είναι πάνω και πέρα από τον έλεγχό μας. Όταν προσπαθείς να ελέγξεις τα πράγματα, εγκλωβίζεσαι στην δυστυχία, γιατί ποτέ τίποτα δεν συμβαίνει ακριβώς όπως το φαντάζεσαι. Ο νους σου είναι ικανός να αντιληφθεί και να προβλέψει μόνο μερικές πλευρές των γεγονότων και όχι όλες. Να σκέφτεσαι διορατικά, αλλά να δρας στο παρόν. Αυτή είναι η μόνη λύση. Μόνο έτσι χτίζεις τις συνθήκες για ένα καλύτερο μέλλον. Αλλά προϋπόθεση για να το αναγνωρίσεις, αυτό που είναι κάθε φορά το καλύτερο, είναι η σοφία.

Για να κατακτήσεις την σοφία, πρέπει να κατακτήσεις την γνώση. Όμως η γνώση είναι άπειρη, όπως ο χρόνος και ο χώρος. Γι' αυτό, φρόντισε να μαθαίνεις. Να μαθαίνεις, συνεχώς. Γιατί αυτό είναι η ευτυχία. Να γνωρίζεις τα όρια της άγνοιάς σου. Να μαθαίνεις από το κάθε τι, όσο μικρό και ασήμαντο ας φαίνεται αυτό. Και ποτέ, μα ποτέ, να μην νομίζεις, ότι γνωρίζεις τα πάντα.


***
It's raining, today. Happiness is when it's raining outside and you can sit by the fireplace when there is a fire lit, with a hot cup of tea in your hands. Happiness is to watch the fire as it swirls and to feel the smell of cinnamon in the tea as it tickles your nose. Happiness is to let your senses overwhelm you, unhindered. To let the joy come and go through you, without you holding anything for yourself, apart from this simple, humble cup of tea.

Happiness is to communicate. Happiness is, when it's been years since you last saw a friend, and then you find each other, after a long time, and you talk, each one about your own life, and you see how many things were difficult for you, and how many things you overcame, and admire, both of you, together, how incredible it is that you have managed after so long, to still be here. Happiness is the recognition of this situation.

Happiness is children. To watch them grow, to see them take their first steps. Whether they are yours or not. To you see the future with optimism through their eyes.  To know that the world is reborn each moment. To be glad that the world will continue to exist, even after you 've been gone.

Happiness is a good book at the moment you need it. To make you see life differently. To be able to travel, to wander through someone else's life, to see the world with their own eyes. And when you're done reading to exclaim: But how wonderful, how unique life is.

Happiness is to recognize the moments. Just how valuable they are. How wonderful it is, every phenomenon that occurs, every moment.

Happiness is to keep your sight clean of the routine and the repetition. Ponder how many conditions needed to sync in order for anything to happen every moment. How many things had to happen in order for even a simple flower to blossom. Admire it, smell it, and then think about how many billions, trillions, countless colorful flowers have existed since the beginning of nature here on Earth.

Happiness is to be able, every so often, to do something new in your life. Something a little bit different. Something that seemed difficult or impossible to you, but you found the courage, the tenacity and the will to make it happen. Happiness is to feel that you can actually materialize every noble desire of yours, every vision that is important not only to you, but important for the benefit of all beings.

Happiness is to live every moment. Because every moment is unique, it departs and it never returns. Happiness is to not remain trapped in the past and to not worry about the future.

Happiness is not being afraid of the moments that change constantly. To embrace change and impermanence, as natural and inevitable. Be glad that everything happens as it happens, without any need for you to intervene and change anything.

Happiness is to synchronize yourself with the flow of the world. To recognize it, as it flows naturally and effortlessly, like the river. Seeing the purity of it, the clarity of it, the incredible beauty.

It's that simple, yet so hard to grasp happiness. Because happiness does not last when you trying to trap it. When you think of how many mistakes you made in the past and how much you would change, you are not happy, you are unhappy. Consider the sequence of events that led to your mistakes. See the irreversibility of the process. Release yourself. And always, but always return to the present.

Do not try to change the future with plans and programs. Life is above and beyond your control. When trying to control things, you remain trapped in misery, because nothing ever happens exactly as you imagine it to. Your mind is able to perceive and predict only some aspects of events and not all. Think insightfully, but act in the present. This is the only solution. Only then you are able to build the conditions for a better future. But the necessary condition to recognize what is the best thing to do, every time, is wisdom.

To conquer wisdom, seek to conquer knowledge. But knowledge is infinite, as time and space. Therefore, make sure you continue to learn. To learn constantly, this is happiness. Knowing the limits of your ignorance. Learning from everything, however small and insignificant it may seem to others or to you in the first place. And never, ever, think that you know everything.

Σάββατο, 2 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Why we made The Noir Project



I am the kind of writer that has a big shelf, large enough so it can accomodate all the stuff that I write that "still need more work". This phrase is my mantra. I am both amazed and giddy when I think of the fact that The Noir Project, a film that started out as a 5 page script that I wrote back in 2007, put it on the shelf and never thought about it twice for years, is on its way to find its own audience. It's like watching your child walk for the first time.

Gregory, the director of The Noir Project, is for sure, the reason this is happening. His patience and his perseverance are notorious. He was the one who managed to pull the story out of me. First, by challenging my imagination, with a single question. And then, be being there every step of the way. His question was simple: "could you write a short film that has a Noir feel to it? Cause if you do, I would love to direct it". I took the challenge and wrote something really fast. His question sparked something in me that I never thought it was there in the first place. 

Then, after three years of Gregory's coming and going, of studying abroad and the like, he reminded me of the story again. It had gathered some dust on the shelf but it was still there. So we applied to the Microfilm program (one of the best programs for the funding of short films in Greece - probably the best ever) et voila, we were selected.

Now, the hard part (for me) came along. As part of the Microfilm program, we had to attend two 4-day seminars and produce a first draft and a final draft. Then the program would decide if our story was good enough to finance. 

The seminars were a revelation for me. My idea for The Noir Project, was something quite complete, in my head, but I was not at the same place anymore, in my life, as when I first wrote it. That 5 page draft of the film felt too fatalistic for me. Violence was answered with more violence, it was a vicious circle that never ended. I wanted to write about domestic abuse, but I wanted it to be about something optimistic and in the end, liberating. 

And I did it. But not without a lot of grief and moments where I wanted to hit my head against the wall. 

It was not easy at all. First I had to pitch my idea at the beginning of the seminar, to the other participants who, like us, were there to pitch and write and try to get the funds to produce their films.The sense of competition was kind of choking me.

And then, there was the grilling of our mentors, directors and writers that acted as filters for the Microfilm program, who were basically there to discuss our ideas with us and guide us to write a complete draft. They would question every aspect of the film and the story, and not only that, but they would literally come up with very, very different ideas about what our story should be like.  There was Nikos Panagiotopoulos, a realist, who wanted every part of the plot to be driven by sheer necessity. And there was Dimitris Yatzouzakis, who was an idealist, and who would stress the importance of character and how he/she drives the story. They were the absolute polar opposites of each other. 

But the hardest part was not all that, not the endless questions and all the doubting that came along with them. It was what was in my head already that was difficult and hard to let it get out.

Shadows of the past.

There is a scene in the Noir Project teaser, where the son is listening to his mother and father fight, behind a glass door, their shadows looming in the long corridor that leads from the living room to the kitchen.

This moment is real. It happened. It is also one of the most traumatic moments in my life, that feeling of helplessness, as I was listening the noise my father made as he was hitting my mother.

And the scream that followed.

It's something I'll never forget for as long as I live.

The terror. 

I was only a ten year old kid then.

That feeling of helplessness followed me through most of my life. Made me unable to think straight and act accordingly too many times.

Now it was the time to get rid of it. Finally.

So, this is the story of The Noir Project. A story about a kid, whose deepest, most profound desire, is to save his mother from his father and stop the violence.

Will he also use violence to do it, or not?

This is the question the audience faces head on when seeing the film for the first time. We never know what actually happens, until the end of the story.

I won't spoil it for you. You have to see for yourself.

I spent two months of my life writing and re-writing the screenplay of The Noir Project. It's 20 pages now, and the movie is about 25 minutes long.

Two months of thinking and agonizing all over this script, of its every detail.

And then another two years of working to make this film happen.

Go to Vimeo and watch our videos
https://vimeo.com/thenoirprojectmovie

Then, if you like what you see, visit indiegogo.
www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-noir-project

Let me know that this agony I went through, was not for nothing, that you want to see this story reach out to the world.

I will be forever grateful to you, if you do.