Cinema audiences will from Friday, April 4 be able to enjoy screenings of Michael Papas' 'Little Odysseus and the Cyclops,' a film for all the family that was made entirely in Cyprus.
To be screened in Greek with English subtitles, the movie was three years in the making, a labour of love for the internationally-renowned Nicosia-born director.
Papas wanted to give the children of Cyprus a film inspired by their own mythology, taking place on their own island, and - with a great deal of skill and imagination - to create a child's point of view of one of the most famous of all Greek myths.
Inspired by Greek mythology and using the digital technology to create impressive visual effects, the film is based on the Homeric story of Odysseus and the Cyclops, adapted to modern day.
Little Odysseus and the Cyclops combines fantasy, comedy and adventure and should appeal to parents almost as much as to children, particulalry through its references to contemporary Cypriot society.
The main character is a boy of 11 named Odysseus, who lives in Nicosia. When he visits the Archaeological Museum with his class he is impressed by a statue of a cyclops - a one-eyed giant from Greek mythology - and buys a small replica of it to take home.
That night he dreams that he is the ancient hero Odysseus, leaving Troy, and being caught in a storm at sea with his followers - who are in fact his classmates Sophocles and Chloe.
They land on an island and start to explore. When they enter a dark cave they are confronted by a gigantic cyclops. Just as the Cyclops reaches down to scoop them up in his huge hand Odysseus wakes up.
The next day Sophocles and Chloe come to Odysseus' house to play.
When Odysseus paints a coloured eye on the little white statue of the cyclops it comes to life… not the fierce cyclops of his dream but a friendly innocent who wants to play with the children - and who leads them into many adventures.
Three talented Cypriot children, 11 years-old at the time of filming, play the leading roles: Christos Michaelides as Odysseus, Dina Kapitsi as Chloe and Christos Margadjis as Sophocles. Under the experienced direction of Papas the children give not just convincing but charismatic performances.
Well known TV actress Maria Michael makes her first big screen appearance as Odysseus' mother, and young actor Andreas Nikolaides also makes his cinema debut as an imposing but lovable cyclops who wins all our hearts.
The film was written, produced and directed by Papas, co-produced by his wife Susan Papas and photographed by his son and fellow filmmaker Minos Papas, with music by Tao Zervas.
Born in Nicosia, Michael Papas attended the English School in Nicosia and as a schoolboy in the turbulent years 1955 to 1959 expereinced first hand the liberation struggle against British colonial rule.
He went on to attend the London Film School and in 1966 made his feature film debut as producer/writer/director of the politically-controversial and critically acclaimed 'The Private Right' - widely considered to be the first truly independent film made in the UK, It was also the British selection for the London Film Festival, and was invited to many other international film festivals.
Papas' next British film, the allegorical thriller 'The Lifetaker,' was so controversial that EMI distribution cancelled the UK release. Distributed internationally the film has gained a cult reputation over the years.
Hailed for its cinematic style and compositions, it was the director's first Scope film, his preferred format ever since.
Papas also experimented with film form and dance in an avant-garde feature, 'Solitaire, about a young ballet dancer (Bente Jørgenson) living alone in London.
Her fears, fantasies and obsessions, were expressed through dance choreography, camera movement and lighting. Papas eventually deemed the film too personal and private to release.
His UK/Cyprus co-production 'Tomorrow's Warrior,' about the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, was distributed in the UK by David and Barbara Stone of the Gate Cinemas, won wide critical acclaim and was distributed in over 25 countries worldwide.
In the 1990s Papas returned to Cyprus and realised a childhood dream, setting up the Acropole Cinemas in Nicosia. He later also returned to production work with 'Little Odysseus and the Cyclops' and the feature film 'Secret Paths,' currently in post-production.
Look out for the film's timeslots at the K-Cineplex cinemas in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos in the The Cyprus Daily from Friday onwards and The Cyprus Weekly next Saturday as well as on the K-Cineplex website.