Greece has announced it has selected Yannis Sakaridis’ story of the opposing forces facing today’s humanitarian crises, Amerika Square (Plateia Amerikis), as its candidate for consideration for the best foreign-language film at Hollywood’s leading award show.
The film by Yannis Sakaridis, premiered last year in Busan and has won awards around the world since, including best feature at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival this year.
Tattoo artist Billy (Yannis Stankoglou) and his friend, the unemployed Nakos (Makis Papadimitriou), often hang out in the eponymous Athens square (plateia). Nakos blames immigrants and refugees for his country’s problems, however Billy believes welcoming refugees is the correct response to the crisis of people fleeing war. When the two meet Tarek (Vassilis Koukalani), the stage is set for their own conflict.
The film is based on a novel by Yannis Tsirbas, who was one of an ensemble team of scriptwriters. Sakaridis, who began his career in the cutting room, both directed and edited the film.
Greece has a long history of submitting films to the Oscars and has been nominated five times — most recently in 2010 for Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth — but has not won the coveted statuette to date.