A sold-out screening for the documentary Magna Grecia by Cotsis and Genimahaliotis

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The screening of the documentary film Magna Grecia: The Greco of Calabria by Greek-Australian producer Billy Cotsis, took place last Sunday at Sydney’s Little Italy on Norton Street, Leichhardt.

The sold-out event was co-hosted by the Antigone Chapter of AHEPA NSW Inc and the Australian Association of Hellenic Educators.

Australians from diverse backgrounds have answered the call to support the promotion of Calabria’s Hellenic dialect, Greko, a dialect that has been spoken continuously for nearly 2,800 years.

A performance of traditional Pontian music by Kostas Papoulidis at the lyra and Peter Tsenkas at the daoulikicked the event, MC’d by Themis Kallos, executive producer of the Greek program on SBS Radio, who highlighted the importance of multilingualism and knowledge of the Hellenic language in modern society.

“What Greco speakers in Calabria are looking for is support, recognition for their efforts to keep the Greco tradition alive,” Billy Cotsis told the audience. “With our documentary, we are helping their efforts.”

The key theme for the event was given by the Consul General of Greece in Sydney Ioannis Mallikourtis in his brief speech.

“Our concern is that the Hellenic language continues to be spoken in Australia. As Greco speakers have been successful for 2,800 years, we are able to do that as well,” he said.

The 53-minute film is the result of visits by Cotsis and cinematographer Basil Gennimahaliotis to Greek-speaking villages in Calabria between 2002 and 2016.

Greco, English, Modern Hellenic and Modern Italian are all spoken throughout the film, a multilingualism reflecting the situation in Calabria.

The screening of the film was followed by a discussion moderated by the young Calabrian-Sicilian Australian, Belinda Fiori.

The Q&A session included Cotsis, Gennimahalitois and historian Dr Panayiotis Diamadis, who answered a stream of questions from the audience.

AHEPA NSW INC Chairman Bill Skandalakis also delivered a short speech, highlighting the organization’s pride in being a sponsor of the film, as part of AHEPA NSW INC’s efforts in support of Hellenic education .

Finally, the President of the Antigone Chapter, Mrs. Charoulla Themistocelous, added that “a number of members of our chapter are also members of the Association of Australian Hellenic Educators. In other words, involved in Hellenic education in Sydney. That is why we had the honor and the duty to broadcast this documentary, in turn, the other documentaries made by Billy Cotsis on the Hellenic dialects of Calabria and Puglia. These films contain important lessons for Australian Hellenism”.

Additional screening dates due to demand will be announced.

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