Logline: An older man faces loneliness on Christmas Day and as a result beckons his ancestors to lunch.
Director: Stella Dimadis
Producer: Stella Dimadis
About the director and producer:
Since graduating from her Masters in Film and Video from Deakin University in 2012, Stella Dimadis has set up her own Production business, Medea Films, which focuses on developing and producing short films, feature films and TV series. She is also a co-producer and presenter on She Shot; a program about female filmmakers and their films.
Her short, 25.12, which she wrote, directed and produced has been included in 18 International Film Festivals to date, winning best Cinematography at the 9th Indie Fest USA, 2015. The film traces an older man's loneliness as faced on Christmas Day.
More recently, the film, Hello Tom Sullivan, on which she was a production manager on, won a Merit award, under Disability Issues at the San Fransisco Film Awards. Stella is also the Vice-President of Women in Film and Television, Victoria, supporting women in the film and television industry, organising various screenings, forums, public events and speaking regularly at these events.
In 2014 she was a guest lecturer on Directing Film at the University of Bruwijaya, Malang, Indonesia, as part of the Kellner National Film Festival where her co-produced film, The Interview, was also screened with a Q & A. Currently she is in development on two feature films, one of which revolves around the gang culture in Australia in the seventies. Stella also blogs regularly on film and creativity. Her writing can be viewed on her website. www.medeafilms.com.au
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Funders or production company: POZIBLE Campaign, Crowd funding, Personal investment.
Made in association with: Medea Films
Release date: July 5th 2015.
Why did you make 25.12?
25.12 is based on a short story titled ‘Christmas’ by Thanasis Papastergiou. I adapted it from the short story, staying true to the surrealist concepts in the story and delving into the psychological state of the older gentleman, Leonidas, as he reminisces about his past with feelings of loneliness and alienation that have come about with ageing.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
The film captures a moment in time for an older man living in our society that is all alone. It is a common occurrence in this day an age where families are not living in close proximity to each other. Sometimes we do not take care or time to enquire after the elderly, at times leaving them to their own devices, and assuming that they are ok.
How did you discover this story?
‘Christmas’ was presented to me by Antonios Baxevanidis, the lead actor of 25.12, who had faith in the short story and its ability to come to life on the big screen. Once I read the story I was confident that it could be adapted successfully and made into a film.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Very proud of the film to date. It has been in 18 film festivals globally, some have been online and some have been live screenings. For me it has been about having the film screened in as many places as possible so that as many people as possible can view it.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback to the film has been incredible. As a director, seeing people affected by the personal journey they have gone on with the film, has been very humbling for me. It has certainly made me feel confident to tackle further concepts in future films.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
The more people that can read about the film, or have an opportunity to view it, the more the issue of ageing and loneliness can be contemplated.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
At this stage it would be great if more film directors would consider the film for their festival so the film can gain greater traction particularly with regard to the social issue that it explores.
What type of impact would you like this film to have?
As our population is ageing there are a number of issues that are becoming prevalent in our society. Dementia is one of them, but alongside this, is the individual who remains healthy and able, but finds themselves in a predicament of loneliness.
Our ageing population may not be tech savvy, therefore cannot stay in touch with family and friends via social media, Skype, may not live in close proximity to public transport, have family that is removed, friends, who may be sick or passed. The variations are many for our ageing population and in creating this short, I wanted to create a film that delved into the innermost thoughts and concepts of someone that is ageing and literally has no one to share their life with. What does this look like, especially with a day like Christmas, which is traditionally spent with family and friends?
I was given the short Story, 'Christmas', written by Thanasis Papastergiou, a writer and filmmaker in his own right who had studied at the Moscow Film School, and the story resonated with me. Even though, I am not as old as the man depicted in the short film, I have experienced loneliness, know what it is like, and so wanted to adapt the film to the story.
It was a wonderful challenge for me, and all the time I kept on thinking that the importance of the film surely had to be in the development of the protagonist's psychology, his surrounding landscape, a reflection of this too and characters that had become such a big part of his life, past and present, real life and imagination.
In order that this was achieved, I looked to the concepts of surrealism, adopted some of the surrealist's imagery pertaining to time and randomness, and infiltrated them in the film, using colour to further exemplify this artistic stream.
Flashbacks also became an important element in being able to identify moments in Leonidas' life where his thoughts wandered to. The cinematography and the discussion regarding this was of utmost importance and Con Filippidis rose to the challenge in capturing each frame to become an art piece within itself. The colourist Jordan Wood, identified the starkness of various colours in portraying the protagonist's mood and demeanour as he progressed on his journey.
For those that have seen it, the film has resonated with them, touched an aspect of their humanity in that they have realised that in order to live and age comfortably in this world, it needs to be done so with a strong social network.
I look forward to many audiences experiencing this small but important journey that Leonidas goes through, and in the words that became so important when my daughter, Juliette Dimadis, and myself were working hard to come up with a quote that revolved around reality and our illusions she spurred me on to come up with this..."In order to discover our reality we must explore our illusions".
Lastly, what’s a key question that will help spark a debate or conversation about this film?
As a society, are we looking after our elderly enough? Do we take out enough time during the day to touch base with our elderly? Two questions, one that should be asked as a whole, as a society, and one as an individual. I think without the appropriate supports ageing can be a difficult time, as is any other change that occurs in life.