Stilvi Psilopoulou is a distinguished actress who, for almost a decade, has worked alongside some of the very best Greek actors like Elisavet Konstantinidou, Ilias Logothetis, Alexandros Stavrou, Katerina Didaskalou, Nikitas Tsakiroglou and more. She has also worked with the most prominent Greek directors like Dimitris Arvanitis, Yorgos Oikonomidis, Panos Aggelopoulos and more.
Psilopoulou received her Bachelor’s degree in Acting in 2014 from one of the top Drama Schools in Athens, Greece, the Mary Vogiatzi-Traga Drama School whilst already holding another Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the very well-known institution The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Between the years of 2006 and 2009, Psilopoulou has played the lead in many theatre productions in Thessaloniki. Later on, she moved to Athens where in 2011 she starred in the very well-known TV series "Family Stories" and also took part in another TV series "Stolen Dreams". In 2014, she started expanding her creativity by trying her hand at directing "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" with the participation of the students of Mavrommati School.
In 2016, Psilopoulou was the first to translate the British play "Yard Gal" in Greek in which she also starred and was the line producer. Under the direction of Alexandros Stavrou, "Yard Gal" became a great success. One year later, she wrote, produced and starred in what she calls her 'feminist manifesto', the short film "Black Boxed" which was nominated by the Female Filmmakers Festival in L.A. and awarded with special honours by the Artfools Eco-Fashion Film Festival in Greece.
In 2017, Psilopoulou took part in "The Saviors Of God-Spiritual Exercises" which was staged at the Odeon Of Herodes Atticus. The following year she starred in "Prisoners" at Vault Theatre and a few months later she also starred in "What Are You Doing There?" which was staged at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in London.
In 2020, she starred in "Ciao Italia" film and she also took part in "The Ballad Of The Ripped Heart".
Psilopoulou has also started her own YouTube channel ”The STILVI Show” and at the same time she has launched her online shop ''Thrift Me Harder'' supporting ethical fashion and sustainability.
In 2021 she wrote, produced and starred in "Phoenix 2021/ A Survival Guide", which was also her directorial debut. "Phoenix 2021/ A Survival Guide" received many nominations and awards and it was also screened at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Stilvi has also attended many acting and vocal workshops in both Athens and Thessaloniki and she is fluent in English, German and Greek.
Greek City Times welcomed the opportunity to catch up with Psilopoulou recently to learn more about her life.
You are the scriptwriter and director of the short film titled “Phoenix 2021 A Survival Guide”. What was your motivation to create this film?
It was the realisation that people get depressed not because they were born that way, but because they do things they don’t really want to such an extent that they barely acknowledge. They can even spend a lifetime doing a job they are not happy with, or staying trapped in a dysfunctional marriage, ending up being depressed and taking pills but still avoiding addressing the problem.
These boxes that people trap themselves in need to be broken. They are boxes made out of fear. Boxes that their families or society impose on them. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard. We all deserve to be happy, and it’s not something difficult or impossible. We want out of every toxic situation. We deserve abundance.
What’s the plot of the film about?
The film is about a girl around 30 who finds herself at a dead end. She takes anti-depressants and she struggles with a toxic working environment. Will she be able to prevail in the end?
Does the film carry a message you want to echo?
The message it carries is to make people more aware of what they really want in life so that they find the strength to pursue happiness and oppose anyone who tries to control them in every possible way. The message is freedom. Freedom of thought.
Tel us about your experience having your film screened at the most famous theatre in Hollywood, the Chinese Theatre and how did this happen?
This was one of the most memorable experiences! ‘’Phoenix’’ was selected by the Silicon Beach Film Festival which takes place there. I will never forget that day, walking outside of the theatre, looking at all the footprints and the signatures of so many famous artists and then entering the building to watch my film. As a woman, my goal is to make a contribution to the male dominating film world from the female gaze. It is also very inspiring seeing more and more women directors entering the film industry every year. It’s a very big deal. Our voices need to be heard.
During the shooting of the film were there specific cinematographers whom you draw inspiration from?
A few cinematographers have inspired me a lot throughout the years. I will never forget the work of Jim Denault in ‘’Maria Full of Grace’’ and of Matthew Libatique in ‘’Requiem for a Dream’’. Expressing reality in raw ways is always my thing.
Do you believe that team spirit works and always makes the best out of anything?
Of course, this is very important. Not one single person can ever be so well qualified or capable of doing everything most effectively. Every one of us is different and that’s the beauty of it. We all have specific talents and skills, so the result is always stunning when we bring them all together.
Your film has been nominated in different categories by many international festivals and it has been awarded. How would you cash in on this success?
I never expected so many awards and nominations! It’s very important to see your ‘’child’’ getting acknowledged by so many festivals. I succeeded in passing across my messages and in getting to meet so many artists out there and mingle with them thus feeling deeply appreciated and supported as an artist by the community.
What are the upcoming projects you are working on?
I’m working on a new short film, but I think it’s too early to say more. The only thing I can tell you is that it’s going to be very intriguing and controversial.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
You can never tell, right? One thing is for sure I will be in a creative state of mind as I am always, evolving and expanding.