NEW YORK, NY – More than 700 dignitaries and other invited guests filled the theater at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to capacity on November 29 for a special screening of the critically acclaimed historical drama, Smyrna.
The film depicts the destruction of the cosmopolitan city once known as “the Pearl of the Orient,” by the Turkish Army in 1922.
Screenwriter and leading actress Mimi Denissi introduced the film. The event was under the auspices of the Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations and hosted by Ambassador, Maria Theofili.
In her remarks, Ambassador Theofili shared brief historical background about Smyrna and the incidents and facts that preceded and occurred during the occupation of Smyrna in 1922 by the Turkish army, noting that “through knowledge and understanding of our history, we can live more humanely, face the challenges that are arising, and shape a better future”.
“It is a great honor for our homeland and for “Smyrna”, that one of the world’s greatest museums with many ancient Greek artifacts in its collection, is showing the continuation of that history even if it is at times tragic as with Smyrna”, noted Mimi Denissi adding that “it is very rare for a film to premiere at the Met, especially a Greek film”.
Speaking at a press conference just before the screening, Denissi said that “stories like the one of Smyrna are sadly repeated over and over in a variety of ways” noting that “what the film tells us is not only for us to learn the history of Greece, as we know about the Holocaust and what happened to the Armenians, but we should also know what happened to the Greeks at that time”. “It is also a humanistic film that tells us not to ignore the immigrant, the homeless or the refugee because it can happen at any time to anyone”, she added.
Present at the premiere was also actress Natalia Dragoumi, who plays a supporting role in the film.
The film will be released on Thursday, December 8, for one night only, in more than 700 theaters across the United States and Canada through Fathom Events.
A trailer for the film can be seen here. Tickets for December 8 are available at Fathom Events or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change). For group sales information, click here.
Smyrna won five Hellenic Film Academy Awards, and was nominated for seven more, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. It is based on Denissi’s acclaimed stage play, which ran to sold-out audiences in Athens for three years. The film received a six-minute standing ovation at BAFTA’s iconic Princess Anne Theatre in London.
Denissi leads an international cast including Leonidas Kakouris, Burak Hakki, Katerina Geronikolou, Jane Lapotaire, Susan Hampshire, Rupert Graves, Christos Stergioglou, Natalia Dragoumi, and Daphne Alexander. The film, directed by Grigoris Karantinakis, is in Greek, Turkish, and English, with English subtitles.
“This powerful drama tells the stories of families torn apart by war, as a once proud people were forced to flee their homeland,” says Joseph Samaan, President of Tanweer Universe. “It urges us to pay attention to similar refugee crises that continue to plague the world 100 years later.”
Smyrna was filmed in Chios, Lesvos, and Athens, Greece. The original city’s waterfront was meticulously recreated, and many ships of the era were used on set. The Sporting Club, the Opera, cafes, shops, and government buildings were constructed as exact replicas of the originals.
To date, Smyrna is the highest budgeted Greek film in history. Smyrna was produced by Dionyssis Samiotis, alongside Executive Producers Joseph Samaan and Mimi Denissi.
In the U.S., promotional partners include AHEPA, Antenna 1 Satellite (ANT1) and Papadopoulou. Film Bridge International is overseeing the film’s international sales.
The Tanweer Productions film is a co-production with Central Stage, ANT1 Group, ERT, Greek Film Center, Tsiatlino, Finos Film, Barking Well Media, York Films, Europa with the support of the Ministry of Digital Policy and Media and the National Center of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME).