Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos was blown away by the ancient stage of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus as he sat next to Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis under the shadow of the ancient Acropolis for a talk about all things Greece, his heritage and storytelling.
Before beginning the answer the first question of the evening by moderator Linda Rottenberg from Endeavour Greece, Sarandos began:
"First of all, my breath is taken away from where we’re sitting right now. Right this second. I don’t think it’s a coincidence or incidental or piece of trivia that I do what I do, that I’m here tonight and that my grandfather was born in Samos, Greece. Samos, Greece. Samos is Greece. We’re Greek from Samos. And I say that because what the Prime Μinister just said just over on the other side of this, the whole idea, big ideas were born, critical thinking about drama and those discussions 2,500 years ago when thinking about what a great society might be, took drama and storytelling into incredible consideration.
"When Aristotle writes about it in Poetics, he tries to make some sense of what the rules of storytelling might be, which tells you how important it was already that long ago. And those very arguments, those very debates I have every day, about what is storytelling, what is art, what is cinema. All those debates that continue to this very day, is it going to be defined by distribution? Is it going to be defined by the written form versus how it’s performed? Αnd I have those discussions and I have those debates with the curiosity and the passion of a Greek.
"And that’s why that heritage is important to me and why it sits in my blood and in my bones when I do what I do every day, which is always about storytelling and advancing the art of storytelling. And so that is, I think, the impact of my Greek heritage. I would learn a word last night. I don’t speak Greek. I apologize. «Σόγια» which I just love the sound of, but which is in my heritage. It’s something I knew as soon as I get off the plane here that I’m home.
"And the journey of my grandfather to America was a classic and that he was a very young man. Son of a farmer. Who I’m sure 120 years ago would not have contemplated that someday his grandson would be sitting next to the Prime Minister. But left home at a very young age with his head full of stories of cowboy books that he would read and went to America because he thought he might be a trail cook. He thought that it was a real job in America when he went to America. And he changed the name from Alex Karyotakis to Sarandos when he came to America."
WATCH THE FULL TALK (IN ENGLISH) HERE: