CULTURAL ORGANISATION - SHORT FILM FESTIVAL IN DRAMA
MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND SPORTS - MUNICIPALITY OF DRAMA
Name: Alexandra Matthaiou
Tagline: The first days in the life of a woman who’s just been released from prison after 20 years, as she embarks on a road trip with a younger woman on her way to reclaiming a new life for herself.
SYNOPSIS:NIKI(60) is released from prison after a 20- year sentence in a rural small town. As the prison gate shuts behind her, she is on her own, navigating her way around an unfamiliar place. She walks via streets empty of cars, the sun relentlessly hitting her face as we observe her coming to terms with a newly found form of freedom. Like a ghost, she struggles to emerge from a state of moral and spiritual limbo.
In a brief conversation with her sister, NIKI decides to make her way to Athens despite her sister’s reluctance to sound happy about her prison release. As NIKI carries on her journey on foot, she walks into a surreal looking Bingo hall, located right in the middle of nowhere, as she hopes to get something to eat and drink. Within its busy premises and the Bingo games in progress, she encounters DIMITRA(32), a young woman selling bingo cards who comes to her hometown only over the weekends to work, and then drives back to Athens where she lives and keeps another daily job; while also trying to pursue a university degree and look after her one-year old baby boy.
Soon after and in a sudden twist of luck, NIKI plays a bingo game and wins 10.000 euros. DIMITRA even kindly offers NIKI a ride to Athens and a place to crash overnight until they head off the next morning. What ensues is a character-driven road trip between the two women alongside DIMITRA’ s baby boy on their journey back to Athens.
The particulars of NIKI’s crime are left unsaid, even as DIMITRA (like the audience) can barely contain her curiosity over the past of this woman. Does her quiet, decorous, depressive manner represent a longing for peace or a sublimated threat?
Short CV of the writer/director: Alexandra Matheou is a Cypriot filmmaker and writer based in London.
She studied Law at King’s College London and holds an LLM Master’s in Commercial and Financial Law. In 2009, she completed an MA in Film at University College London (UCL). In the same year she wrote and directed her first short film A Winter Sonnet for the Golden Clouds. The film opened at the Cambridge Film Festival (Official Selection) and also won the Best Work of Fiction Award at the Crashfest International Film Festival in Thessaloniki.
In 2011, she was commissioned by the Cyprus Ministry of Labour to produce and direct The Road towards Equality, a short documentary on Gender Equality in the workplace.
Since 2012, Alexandra has worked as an Assistant for Production Company Matador Pictures (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Ten Minutes Older: The Cello). She also spent a year working as a Junior Assistant and Script Reader for UK Distribution and International Sales Agent The Works Film Group (Paris, Je T’Aime, The Cove, I am Love, The Road to Guantanamo, This is England).
In 2014, Alexandra joined The Discovery Channel as Programming Coordinator for West Europe and later, the Nordic regions.
Her second short film ANORAK, has premiered in competition, at the Athens International Film Festival 2015 and won two awards (Best Editing and Best Actress) in the International Short Film Festival Cyprus (ISFFC) 2015.
This year, Alexandra was invited to join the latest edition of Euro Connection, the marketplace for short film co-production in Europe during the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2017.
She is currently writing her first feature film and has just wrapped production on TERRA NERA, her latest short film starring Themis Bazaka and Kika Georgiou, shot on 35mm in Sicily.