Κυριακή, 15 Απριλίου 2018

"Freedom Besieged:” Hope Springs From The Youth!




Written by Justine Frangouli-Argyris



With the title “Freedom Besieged,” the young Greek-Canadian director from Vancouver, Panayiotis Yiannitsos, attempts to complete his documentary about the post-crisis era in Greece.



Using captivating interviews with international personalities and the youth of Greece who have been trying to overcome the difficult times through innovative ideas, the Greek Canadian director carries out a dialogue beyond the criticisms of the crisis, seeking to open a new chapter with the hope of renewing the functionality of the state and its institutions.



A child of immigrants with an experiential relationship with Greece, Gianitisis attempts to balance the past and the future with his documentary, recounting stories with messages of optimism with an eye towards a vision of liberation from the crisis!



 Why Freedom Besieged?



I titled the movie Freedom Besieged inspired by the famous Dionysios Solomos' poem, "The Free Besieged", which was inspired by the third siege of Missolonghi, an important battle during the Greek War of Independence. One of Solomos' themes in the poem is the Greek fighters "freedom of the will", that is, the spiritual and psychological advantage they carried over their oppressors. It was in fact this strength of mind and soul, not sheer brute of force, that thrusted the Greeks to victory. Such is the focus of my film: the psychological path to freedom.



What is the film about?



Freedom Besieged is a feature-length documentary concerning the current economic and political climate of Greece and specifically how it has impacted the psychology of the nation's youth. The film follows the stories of several young Greeks and community leaders in their journey to re-discovering their identity as Greeks and the actions needed to re-ignite an era of innovation and prosperity in the country moving forward. In addition, the film includes the perspectives of several world-renowned intellectuals, politicians, and experts of various fields to offer insight and re-build a bridge of communication between young Greeks and the world around them.



What is your perception of the crisis in Greece?



My perception is that Greece will feel the effects of this economic crisis for years to come and the country will have to swallow the pill that is we will be under economic supervision for decades. That does not mean the country's youth are shackled to the floor, especially in this era of information and endless technological achievement. As a side effect of the crisis, many young entrepreneurs in the country today have a heightened sense of creativity and resilience that we have already seen produce groundbreaking and world-renowned work with limited resources. The conversation has shifted from taking place only in this stagnant era of crisis. One of my favourite phrases is, "Η άλλη Ελλάδα" (The other Greece). For the first time in many years, a foreshadowing of life after the crisis has begun for many young Greeks and what I am waiting for now is a Greek state that modernizes itself to catch up to them. Although I don't expect a complete overhaul of the Greek political system or way of governance, I do sense that the next party in power will have no choice but to find tangible ways of enacting change to engage the young population.



Have you experienced it through family, friends etc?



One of the moments that convinced me to create this documentary was while I was sitting around the dinner table with some of my friends in central Athens. We were all in our very early 20s in 2014 and I asked my friends what their goals and dreams were after graduating from University. Some in political science, agriculture, and micro-biology. I had mentioned that I was aspiring to open a new film production company. A good friend of mine turned to me, laughed, and said "What's wrong with you? We don't talk about our future, anymore. Ask me what I'm doing tomorrow." It was the laugh that struck me the most, that the notion of goal-setting for the future had become a futile exercise for this table of young, talented Greeks whilst for myself it was an expectation and a norm in provided by my home country of Canada. The difference was stark and worrisome. This tiny moment shook me to my core.



But I have also witnessed the resilience of the Greek people in many ways. Look no further than John Karkalatos who, for the past sixteen years, has run a youth development camp in the village of Kiveri, often self-financed, despite the fact that he is a modest farmer struggling to get by. That is the definition of self-sacrifice for the future and after coming to know his story I realized a film had to be made. There is also the unique fact that I participated in John's basketball camp when I was ten years old and have seen many young Greeks, including myself, benefit from his methods of empowerment over the years.





What elements make your documentary different from the other documentaries on the Greek crisis?



Because, frankly, this isn't a documentary about the Greek crisis. It mentions the past for ten minutes and then moves on to the future and into a conversation we've been needing to have with our nation's youth for decades. That is, one of hope and promise for a new Greece. The next version of this country and finally, one that includes a firm hold of the modern Greek identity. This is about a place where we challenge our children to come up with the next great transformative idea that will ignite the nation. This is a film in which Greek eco-villagers in the mountains of Evia island building Mongolian-style yurts are in the same film as Noam Chomsky, the European Commission in Brussels, and a basketball coach from a Peloponnese village of 1000 people. This is an unprecedented gathering of not only Greek minds, but minds from all over the world to talk not about the past, but about the path towards a new era of prosperity and innovation.



What is your message?



As Peter Economides' says in the film: "This economic crisis is a social crisis. And that social crisis stems from an identity crisis." Adding to that, in order to enact systematic change we must first heal the Greek individual. And in many instances, that is by enacting local change and empowering our communities with leaders whom children can build a sense of neighbourhood around and exist in a social environment that promotes self-respect, self-governance, discipline, teamwork, and pride in investing their future back home.





Where do you stand when you say there is innovation in Greece?



Young Greeks have withstood an incredible amount of pain to build their businesses and innovate over the course of the crisis. Working within such harsh conditions has made them increasingly resilient and creative, which has shown through in their world-renowned work. But, we should not take their innovative spirit for granted because I can tell you as someone who has been on the front lines that many Greeks who have fought for over a decade in the country to realize their dreams have grown tired. As we all know, many have left to succeed abroad. This attitude of innovating in spite of and against the inefficiencies of the state can only last so long. At some point, some support must be given to convince young Greeks to invest their future in the country again because these are some of the brightest and most creative minds Europe has to offer.



Why did you interview Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis and not the prime minister Mr. Alexis Tsipras?



For close to three years, I have made over a dozen attempts to organize an interview with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to speak about the identity , psychology, and future of Greek youth in the nation. Unfortunately, I have not been granted this request. Kyriakos Mitsotakis agreed to interview, as have dozens of prominent figures from around the world, and for that I am grateful. The first step is communication. If Prime Minister Tsipras has a change of heart, and as he is the youngest Prime Minister since 1865, I would gladly hop on a plane to receive his perspective.



Do you think that the whole crisis was a financial conspiracy?



I believe that Greece is to fault for many things that led up to this collapse. Not only corruption within the political field but also individual corruption among its citizens that became a social norm. Having said that, Greece was aided and abetted by foreign conglomerates along the way to hide its debt so that others could cash in. But, again, this entire crisis, if you want to call it a financial conspiracy, was made possible because of the social and identity crisis that has existed in Greece since it regained its independence from the Ottoman Empire. To understand the "whole crisis", I really believe one must have a full view of the historical context that has taken Greece to where it is today.



Do you think that Greece can get out of the crisis with wishful thinking or with a few innovation projects here and there?



Greece needs much more than wishful thinking and a few bright ideas in the long term, but it is through the actions of a few major individuals that can start the fire needed to inspire a new vision throughout the country. That, for me, is without any doubt. It starts there, whether in an eco-village, a basketball court, a small bedroom. Greece needs a transformative idea.



How do you foresee the future of this young generation of Greeks?



Today, Greece is like a pot full of fertile soil. Its youth are among the most innovative and promising around the entire planet. But the truth is, if you do not supply fertile soil with light and water, sustainable growth is difficult.



Do you believe there is a lost generation from the crisis in Greece?



There are estimates from some experts that nearly 600,000 Greeks have left the country over the last decade. To put that into perspective, I've been told that is like 20 million people getting up and leaving from the United States. A statistic like this cannot be ignored. Having said that, I feel this label is a generalization that fits nicely into a headline but is not a reflection of reality once you spend significant time on the ground. The fact is, the many brilliant young Greeks who has stayed and fought for their future deserve more respect than to be labeled as fat left on the bone of this exodus. Young Greeks are tired of being caricatures of this crisis. In addition, many within the generation of youth who left during the crisis have gone on to accomplish extraordinary things in their education and within the workforce. What must be understood is that, frankly, many of them want to come back. The key is that they come back not for nostalgia's sake but with a plan. This generation is not yet lost.



How can your film offer a cure to the spread desease that has been called the debt crisis?



I'm often asked if my film contains the solutions to Greece's economic inefficiencies or the magic button to solving decades of political unrest. The fact is, this film will provide some answers with real testimony as to what type of social environment we need to create as citizens and community leaders in order to inspire our youth to want to look for the step-by-step reforms needed to turn this country around. This film is about the bridge between these two steps. 






What would you like to shout out to the world about your homeland?



Greece is a country in which has a proud and rich history, the cradle of western civilization, one of the food capitals of the world, and unparalleled natural beauty. Its people are among the most hospitable and caring on the planet. Make no mistake, much of what exists and survives in Greece today already is sought after by many hence the country welcomes tens of millions of visitors per year. The resources and the talent exist in hoards. Having said that, it is also a country in which has over the years squandered the opportunity to formulate an identity as a modern state. This is due to a lack of vision and the Greek people have paid dearly for this. But from within the ashes of this despair have risen a new generation for the world to see with the gusto, resilience, and creativity that would make the ancient innovators of the past proud. They have taken back their freedom from the death grip of the crisis and with or without the state, will move on, but I ask a bridge of communication be rebuilt. I hope my film helps start that conversation. 


Πέμπτη, 8 Μαρτίου 2018

Acting Classes by Stratos Tzortzoglou and Con Horgan

NEW YORK – The well-known Greek actor Stratos Tzortzoglou and Actors Studio Member Cornelius (Con) Horgan are offering acting classes in Manhattan. Having studied among some of the Actors Studio greats including Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Ellen Burstyn, Alec Baldwin, and Estelle Parsons, Horgan is a sought after instructor. Tzortzoglou- known for his breakthrough starring role as Orestes in the films Landscape in the Mist and Ulysses’s Gaze with Harvey Keitelboth directed by the Palme D’Or winner Theo Angelopoulos, and as Stavros in Up, Down and Sideways opposite Irene Papas under the direction of the 5-time Academy Award nominee Michael Cacoyannis (Zorba the Greek).
The 9-time Academy Award nominee Ingmar Bergman (Fanny and Alexander) compared Tzortzoglou to “a Stradivarius violin,” adding that “the great actors are great instruments.”
The chairman of Paramount Pictures Jim Gianopulos said, “Stratos is destined for great things, he has a unique way of capturing the audiences with his charm, his authenticity and has truly mastered his art form. He is bound to succeed in the American entertainment industry.”
The Oscar-winning actress for Moonstruck Olympia Dukakis said that “Stratos has a lot to offer to the American film industry in his unique sense of acting, combining talent, intuition, passion, and determination.”
Tzortzoglou completed his masterclasses in LA with Ivanna Chubbuck whose students include Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, James Franco, Sylvester Stallone, and with Aaron Speiser whose students include Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Gerard Butler, and Marion Cotillard. Speiser said about Tzortzoglou, “In all my experience, I have never met an actor as dedicated and talented as Stratos.”
In their class, Tzortzoglou and Horgan detail the greatest lessons they have learned through their momentous careers— the struggles and successes that made them so well-known today.
“Education has always been an important part of my life,” Tzortzoglou said in a statement.
“The teachers, mentors, and those who gave me opportunities along the way have made me feel blessed because they taught me the value of striving to be your best. I’m delighted to be part of this new wave of education. As my mentor Karolos Koun once said, ‘We must believe in miracles, in order for miracles to happen.’”
Acting classes are taking place at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 337 East 74th Street in Manhattan, on Mondays from 6-10 PM. More information is available by phone: 917-579-3707 or email: stratosleo@gmail.com.
Greek actor Stratos Tzortzoglou. Photo: Courtesy of Stratos Tzortzoglou
Well-known Greek actor Stratos Tzortzoglou and Con Horgan are teaching acting classes in Manhattan. Photo: Courtesy of Stratos Tzortzoglou

Τρίτη, 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2018

Stratton Stevens, The Departure of Α Nobleman

Written by Justine Frangouli-Argyris

The Montreal Greek community recently lost a patriot, a proud Greek, a patron who supported and strengthened the community and its members.



Stratton Stevens, one of the most prominent personalities of Hellenism in Canada, lost his battle with life last week. He was often voted Montreal's most eligible bachelor and was well known for the glamorous receptions at his impressive residence on Montreal’s Golden Mile. He was a true cosmopolitan who did not limit himself to the Greek environment of Montreal but became a man of the world through his relationships with the most important people on the planet.


His most famous friendship was with legendary Canadian Prime Minister Pierre-Elliott Trudeau with whom he enjoyed dinners, conversations and trips to the Greek islands, in the immediate vicinity of which current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was often to be found.





Due to his closeness with the Trudeau family, Stratton Stevens was able to help politicians of Greek origin stand out in the Liberal Party while also supporting them economically at the same time.



Stratton Stevens, or Stratos Skafidas, was born in Montreal, Canada on April 15, 1932 to Greek parents. His father, Dionysios Tipaldos-Skafidas, hailed from the island of Cefalonia while his mother, Eugenia Poulides, was from Constantinople and Prussia. Her father, Efstratios Poulides, arrived in Canada in 1866.



Stratos' father, who was born in Typaldata, a village just outside Lixouri, emigrated to Canada in 1902 (the day his mother was born), first arriving at New York's Ellis Island and then, by train, to Dalhousie Station at Place Viger in Montreal. He was a little boy, only 11 years old, and Stratos loved to relate the story that his Dad claimed to be 17 in order to land a job in the construction company that built the Québec City bridge, only to be turned down because he looked so young. 



His father would return to Montreal and begin working in fruit distribution, initially earning $100 a year and eventually opening his own store in 1912. He would go on to support George Tzanetakos, the originator of United Amusements, a company that held the distribution rights to many films. However, his wealth would came in large part from the stock market.



Stratos' parents married in 1923 and bore five children: Harry, who would  become the first surgeon of Greek descent in Canada and take on the position of director at the Reddy Memorial, one of the country's oldest hospitals, two beautiful girls, Andrianna and Helen, as well as Stratton and his twin brother, George, a chartered accountant.





Stratton Stevens began working hard early on, opening his first restaurant at a very tender age. Anxious and smart, Stratton would quickly expand his business interests to include two hotels, other restaurants and even some kiosks at Montreal’s memorable World's Fair, Expo 67. He became a shipowner and made several acquisitions in real estate, making him one of the richest Hellenes in Canada.



The genius of the man lied in the fact that he did not simply amass material wealth but, given his charismatic persona, was able to create lifetime friendships with many prominent individuals and families---from the Guccis to the Trudeaus.



His friendship with late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was a very close one and they were often seen eating together in Greek restaurants and holidaying in Greece. He maintained close ties with the whole Trudeau family including current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.



Canadian Supreme Court Justice, Antonio Lamer, was also a close friend and regular attendee at Stratton’s receptions where he would join the elite of the political and business world of Montreal.



Stratton Stevens was awarded  the Order of Canada,  the highest award given to a Canadian Citizen.



Stratton will be remembered as a distinguished Canadian and a true Hellene!



Τρίτη, 16 Ιανουαρίου 2018

Parenting In The 21st Century



Parenting In The 21st Century



With an emphasis on the psychology of the child and teen, the scientific committee of The Lyceum of Greek Women of Montreal will hold their annual seminar entitled «Parenting In the 21st Century», on Sunday February 18, 2018 at the Greek Community Center of Greater Montreal, coordinated by Dr. Stavroula Christopoulos and Dr. Lila Amirali.

The subjects that will be discussed are:

1) Mindful and Attachment Based Parenting: Keys to Confident and Resilient  Children

Dr. Mary Tsonis, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist



2)  Growing up Healthy in a Digital World

Dr. Stacey Ageranioti Bélanger, MD, Ph.D, D.E.S Pediatric Neurology, CHU Ste-Justine



3) Parenting an Anxious Teen

Dr. Theodora Katerelos, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist


4) Landscape of Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents in Montreal and Concluding Remarks

Dr. Lila Amirali, MD, MMgmt (IMHL), Child psychiatrist, McGill University Health Center


The seminars will be followed by a question and answer period with our panel of experts.

Coffee and deserts will be offered.



Free Entrance



Sunday February 18, 2018, 2:00pm-4:30 pm


Hellenic Community Center “Adrian Maris”

5757 Av Wilderton, Montréal, QC H3S 2K8








Τρίτη, 4 Απριλίου 2017

Liberals win Saint-Laurent riding byelection!!!


Liberals win Saint-Laurent riding byelection

By Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Emmanuella Lambropoulos, the 26-year-old school teacher who easily won Monday's federal byelection for the Liberals in the riding of Saint-Laurent, can credit her victory to a "perfect storm," her supporters say.
Once Lambropoulos became her party's candidate after a nomination process riven with controversy, she became the heavy favourite in a Montreal riding that has sent Liberals to the House of Commons ever since it was created in the 1980s.
"I'm sure it will hit me a little later," Lambropoulos said after a victory speech at an Italian restaurant in the riding that served as the party's byelection headquarters.
Lambropoulos claimed about 60 per cent of the vote, a convincing win over her closest competitor, Conservative party candidate Jimmy Yu, who managed less than 20 per cent of the vote.
Her real battle, as it turns out, was at the nomination level.
Alan DeSousa, the popular mayor of the borough of Saint-Laurent, was not allowed by the party to run for the nomination, and insists he was never given a reason why.
When that happened, "the Greeks had their chance," said Justine Frangouli, a member of a local Greek feminist association, who was among the 100 supporters who showed up to celebrate the victory.
"I knew we had it."
Lambropoulos had been up against former Quebec cabinet minister Yolande James, widely expected to replace Stephane Dion, the former Liberal leader who resigned his seat to become ambassador to Germany and the European Union.
Frangouli said voters in the riding were upset that DeSousa couldn't run and didn't want to vote for James, whom they accused of being "parachuted" into the riding by the party.
"Lambropoulos lived a perfect storm," Frangouli said.
John Theodosopoulos, president of the Hellenic Congress of Quebec, said some people in the riding were upset because they felt the Liberals wanted them to vote for James.
"All those things combined for a perfect storm for (Lambropoulos)," he said. "We are proud of her Greek heritage, but we are particularly proud of her credentials."
Lambropoulos worked in the Saint-Laurent riding office of Dion, who held the seat since 1996.
"I looked up to him," she said.
Saint-Laurent is a particularly diverse riding, with over half of its population born outside Canada, 40 per cent of whom arrived in the country after the year 2000.
The riding is also home to one of the biggest industrial hubs in the province, and the second biggest in Montreal.
Major aerospace firms such as Bombardier and CAE employ thousands in the riding, as do big pharmaceutical companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline.
"She is young and pure," Frangouli said of the new Liberal MP. "Pure in politics and sophisticated in her thinking."
Lambropoulos might be new to politics, but she quickly got the MP treatment by her Liberal party handlers: after only a few minutes of questions, she was spirited away from the cameras by party employees.
Four other byelections took place on Monday; the Liberals won in Ottawa and the Markham-Thornhill riding north of Toronto, while the Conservatives cruised to victory in two votes in Calgary.
By Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

Δευτέρα, 13 Μαρτίου 2017

Sophie Durocher et Le Vote Ethnique!

Je ne pleurerai pas pour vous Sophie Durocher…



Je ne pleurerai pas pour vous parce que la Communauté grecque a soutenu Emmanuella Lampropoulos, qui a grandi dans la communauté, fidèle à son héritage greco-québécois et greco-canadien.

Je ne pleurerai pas pour vous Sophie Durocher, puisque, à titre de journaliste, vous devriez comprendre les faits tels qu’ils le sont :

Les Québécois constituent 80% de cette population et n’ont pas besoin de soutien extra.  Ils sont les habitants naturels de la belle province de Québec.

Stéphane Dion n’avait pas besoin de soutien extra de la part du Québec.

Il avait tout, c’était évident. Je suis certaine qu’il a été endossé par plusieurs organisations québécoises.  Et c’était juste.

Sophie Durocher, vous les Quebequois , vous êtes mainstream.

Et nous appartenons avec fierté aux communautés ethniques, nous aimons, adorons le QUEBEC et les Québécois et nous sommes fiers de parler trois langues.   

Peut-être devriez-vous commencer à apprendre à propos de la diversité du Québec !  Il n’est jamais trop tard pour arrêter d’utiliser les fameuses paroles de mon bien-aimé Jacques Parizeau contre le vote ethnique !

Justine Frangouli-Argyris
Auteure-Journaliste

I Won't Cry For You, Sophie Durocher!

I would like to answer to Sophie Durocher and her article on ethnic voters and Quebec nationalism!



I won't cry for you Sophie Durocher ...

I won't cry for you because the Greek Community supported Emmanella Lampropoulos who grew up in the community being faithful to her heritage as a Greek-Quebecer and as a Greek Canadian.

I won't cry for you Sophie Durocher who, being a journalist you should understand the real facts:
Quebecers are the 80% of this population and they don't need any extra support. They are the natural inhabitants of beautiful Quebec.


Stephan Dion did not need any extra support from Quebec.

He had it all, it was just obvious.I am sure he was endorsed by various Quebec organizations. And it was fair. 

Sophie Durocher you are the main stream.

And we proudly belong to the ethnic communities, we love, adore QUEBEC and the Quebecers and we are proud to speak three languages.

Maybe you should start learning about Quebec's diversity Sophie Durocher! It's never too late to stop using my beloved Jacques Parizeau's famous words against the ETHNIC VOTE!

Justine Frangouli-Argyris
Author/journalist
Montreal
Quebec