Washingtonia
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    Washingtonia

    Directed by

    Greece

    2014

    24 min

    • Greek

    Experimental

    Berlin IFF

    The giraffe is the animal with the biggest heart.
    The distance between its head and its heart is three meters, so the heart is big
    enough to send the blood all the way up.
    When the giraffe is lying down, its heartbeat touches the ground —it goes
    underground. All animals are tuned to the heartbeat of the giraffe.
    In the heart of the summer, in the midst of the tropical heat, the giraffe’s heart is no
    longer heard, the animals are thrown into confusion.
    As they search for this beat,
    it is then —when the strangest things happen.

    Awards

    • Nominated for EFA European Short Award
    • Special Mention (Live Action Short) - Chicago IFF

    Labels & Line Ups

    Credits

    Cast
    Mmamadou Diallo
    Eutychia Stefanidou
    Katerina Iliadi
    Nikos Christofidis
    Iraklis Nousas
    Spyros Spyrou
    Sally ‘black out’
    Screenplay
    Konstantina Kotzamani
    Cinematography
    Giorgos Karvelas
    Giannis Kanakis
    Editing
    Leonidas Papafotiou
    Music
    Drog_a_tek
    Panou

    Director's Statement

    The majority of palm trees in Athens were imported from other countries during the Olympic Games 2004 in order to make Athens more appealing and exotic to the olympic tourists. Among with the palm trees was imported also the Red Beetle, an insect that devours the most juicy and fleshy part of palm trees that is known as palm’s heart. Now days, in Athens the majority of palm trees are dead or dying because of the Red Beetle. The only kind of palm tree that survives is called Washingtonia.
    The Washingonia Palm has a very small and dry heart and nobody likes small and dry hearts. Not even the Red Beetle.
    These were the first thoughts when we started this project.
    My first intention was to create a strange exotic portrait of Athens abandoned from people in the summer heat with all these palm trees dying in the background. That’s why I gave this strange new name to Athens. I called Athens Washingtonia as a no-land tropical city where people are mixed with animals.
    Once we started searching for the locations I had a very strong dream.
    I dreamt of a giraffe trying to enter my house windows with her long neck. The next day I went to the zoo of Athens (where the giraffe’s shots have been shot). There I read that the giraffe is the animal with the biggest heart. Then I realized that my film is actually about that. About the big and the small hearts. It is actually about love. So I came up with the myth of the giraffe at the beginning and I started thinking about my washingtonian characters who suffer from their non-love-heart syndrome like the palm trees who are dying from their half eaten hearts.
    I guess that the very interesting process of making this movie somehow is depicted in the structure of the film. I started with no script at all. And maybe this is the reason that I felt much more close to my vision- I had only subtle images and fragile moments to capture and not a story. Somehow image was merged with instinct in this film. I just had my eyes and my senses open in order to select and combine all the elements that come across my way. And this is how the characters came up. While I was searching for the locations I was observing also people and I was trying to think what kind of character would fit in each space. None of the characters are actors and I also did no rehearsals during shooting. All the characters are playing ”themselves” in a way.
    This film was a constant improvisation from many aspects. I really had no idea how it would end. I just trusted myself and in a way I let myself free in front of the image wealth of the hidden everyday life. There is a lot of fear in that, and it is really painful sometimes not knowing what are you doing -where it is heading at all. But I understood later that this is a much more stimulative process that fits my personal way of interpreting reality.

    Production
    SQUAREDSQUARE
    Konstantina Kotzamani

    Konstantina Kotzamani

    Greece

    Films are the dreams we yearn for.

    Born in Komotini, Konstantina graduated from the Film Department of Fine Arts in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her short films premiered in major festivals including Cannes, Berlinale, Locarno and have received numerous international awards. Her short films WASHINGTONIA (2014) and LIMBO (2016) have been awarded as Best Short Film at the Hellenic Film Academy and nominated by the European Film Academy as Best Short of the Year. TITANIC OCEAN is her first feature film.

    Selected Filmography