Myrsini Aristidou

Project Name:

Iris

Producer:

Nathalie Dennes

Country:

Cyprus

Year of lab participation:

2021

Lab edition:

9

Logline

Young Iris winds up at the local police station after attacking a landlord’s henchman. It's only when her long estranged father unexpectedly shows up, that she is bound to let go of her defiant self.

Synopsis

Limassol, Cyprus. Young and defiant IRIS (13), certainly knows her way around the decadent shipyard. She works a part-time summer job at a traditional fish tavern with her friend DANAE (17) and frequently hides out at her beloved SALOME’s (75) place after pulling petty-thefts, in exchange of running her errands. When Iris discovers that Salome is being forcibly evicted from her home for the development of a real estate project in the neighborhood, she takes matters into her own hands and attacks the landlord’s dangerous henchman, winding up at the local police station. With her hard working mother STELLA (35) not answering the phone, Iris is left waiting in a drab room for a while before her estranged father ARIS (38) unexpectedly shows up. Aris at first denies all responsibility, explaining that the kid is not his problem. Unwilling to leave with him, Iris finally does, and is quickly impressed by his trick to make some easy cash out of the situation. Aware of her usefulness in the scam, she threatens to expose him if he doesn’t give her a cut from the earnings. Determined to pay a lawyer who might help with Salome’s eviction case, Iris returns to her father and artfully imposes herself into his life and work. The two begin to form an unlikely bond, with Iris ultimately forced to take a precarious step towards adulthood. Young and defiant, Iris, 13, certainly knows her way around the Limassol shipyard. She frequently engages in petty-theft, then hiding in her elderly friend Salome’s house. When Iris discovers that Salome is being forcibly evicted, she is determined to change this verdict. Iris turns to her estranged father and artfully imposes herself into his life and work. The two form an unlikely bond, through which Iris finds new powers.

Director’s Note

A police siren shakes us into alert just like an anxiously barking dog. A wave crashes on the decadent shipyard’s shore, just as a horse races to the finish line. Distressed fences, a forced eviction, henchmen and lawyers, petty-theft and quick cash, blood smears, and an estranged father beside the drifting dust, permeate the world of this film; all before the adolescent eyes of defiant Iris. The parallel drawn across the absence of a father, and the lack of boundaries for young Iris thereof, is the primal drive of the story, just as it was for me at that age. Daringly crossing the threshold of physical and emotional boundaries, to merely understand the fragility that holds them together, Iris oscillates through chaos and order as a way of understanding where exactly she stands in this world. Since my early childhood, I couldn’t help but wonder how different my upbringing would be if I had my father around. This feeling of negligence, ambiguously led to my independent seeking self, an explosive temperament ceaselessly challenging the righteousness of authority. A deep-rooted curiosity to traverse things until the end with an innate desire to hold on tight to the reins. My exaggerated self-determination often led to adrenaline highs, full blown chaos, where I thrusted myself to the verge to merely feel something; anything. It was in my adolescent years that I began to know my father, and the acceptance of our bond, even if flawed, has made all the difference. Forever in the breath of my heroine, highlighting her visceral impulsiveness and delicate naiveté, I seek to portray her precarious journey from determination to defeat and finally acceptance; just as this delicate relationship with her father unveils.

Director-writer

Myrsini Aristidou was born and raised in Limassol, Cyprus. She graduated with an MFA in Film Directing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and holds a BFA in Film and Art History from Pratt Institute in New York. Her short film Aria (2017) premiered at the 74th Venice Film Festival and continued to screen at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. While her previous short film Semele (2015) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won multiple awards worldwide, including the Berlinale Special Prize of the Generation Kplus International Jury. Myrsini is currently developing her first feature length film, Iris, a European co-production between 1.61 Films and Filmblades (Cyprus), Graal (Greece), The Living (France) and Road Movies (Germany). She was a fellow at the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence and participated at the TIFF Talent Lab, Berlinale Talents, Torino Script Lab, and the Jerusalem Script Lab. The project was awarded a special mention from the jury at the Thessaloniki Film Festival Crossroads coproduction Market. Myrsini also published and exhibited her photographic book Mother India (2009), with all the proceeds donated to the Médecins Sans Frontières. She is the co-founder of Sagapo Children's Foundation, dedicated to education.

Producer profile

Nathalie Dennes, Producer France

Producer, France Nathalie Dennes started her career within the Acquisitions department of Studiocanal in Paris before joining 3B Productions, mk2 and contributing to the launching of CG Cinéma where she managed within four years the production of a dozen critically acclaimed films such as Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas, Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven or Things to Come by Mia Hansen-Løve.

Production company profile

The Living is a Paris-based production company founded in 2017 by Nathalie Dennes to produce directors of her generation and projects combining delicate aesthetics with worldwide appeal, with a focus on women. The company‘s slate currently includes shorts and features from French and foreign directors awarded in major international film festivals. Dennes partnered with 3B Productions on The Truth by Hirokazu Kore-Eda that premiered in 2019 Venice Film Festival.


Production Company

The Living, Paris, France

ndennes@theliving.fr

+33 6 74 39 02 71

Production Budget

$1,177M

Secured funds

$555.582 Cypriot Ministry of Culture; $70.613 ERT (Greek Public Television)

Genre:

Drama

Language:

Greek