Yellow: Another film with a Greek signature receives BAFTA nomination - Poor Things with 11 nominations

Yellow film

The woman in bustling Kabul, a few hours after the withdrawal of international troops and the takeover of power by the Taliban, is the script of the film that is in the running for one of the top Awards of the British Film Academy.

The short film "Yellow" with Director of Photography and Co-Producer Yiannis Manolopoulos was nominated for the Best British Short Film category award. The 77th BAFTA Awards ceremony will occur on February 18 with David Tennant as host.

This is the second film with a Greek signature nominated at BAFTA, after "Poor Things" by Lanthimos, which in the race for awards has 11 nominations, second behind "Oppenheimer", with 13 nominations.

The "self-made" film that moved the audience

In an interview with the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, Yiannis Manolopoulos "recommends" the film written and directed by Elham Ehsas and starring Afsaneh Dehrouyeh.

“At the time Elham wrote the script, the Taliban had just returned to power. They reiterated a series of bans that drastically limited women's rights, excluding them from public life, schools, and work and severely restricting their freedom of movement, which is only possible by wearing the chadari. Wanting to convey this image, Elham wrote this short script with a very powerful dialogue, capturing the daily struggle that women in Afghanistan began to experience.

We are talking about a generation of women who grew up in a big country without restrictions and suddenly found themselves faced with this new reality that completely deprives them of their freedom. The film's purpose, as he very beautifully imagined it and sent me the first script, was to describe the inner process and a small moment when a woman faces the reality of this thing. I was very moved by the script when I read it. We tried within a short time, and this was my part to tell the story with pictures. In this particular case, we "framed" so that the sandals, which are always on the wall, are imposing in all scenes and above the head of the protagonist as if oppressing her", said the Greek filmmaker.

“Without any financial help and wanting to do it quickly because of the subject exposure, we developed the script and started using my own equipment. We found a fabric shop in Dalston, East London, while Elham had a friend who was a filmmaker filming a documentary in Kabul at the time. So he shot the first three shots of the film in the market, and we continued to bridge it with the fourth shot in Dalston with Elham's relatives and friends,” added Mr Manolopoulos.

Ahmed Jan Mano completes the film's cast in which the dialogues are written in Urdu. Music plays a significant role, with notes played on a rap composed by Darryl John Hannan. The film is co-produced by Elham Ehsas, the Greek filmmaker, and Dina Mousawi and Azeem Bhati.

"It is a small production completed with the efforts of the family, friends and ourselves. Immediately after, she began her journey making the "festival circuit". With our own money again, we started strong, and it started to go well. It was very well received and screened at over 30 festivals. She started winning some awards, and we saw people loving her and being moved by her subject. A few days ago, we succeeded and made it to the Oscar and Bafta shortlists, where the latter's results made us candidates. Of course, this is amazing. Now we're waiting for January 23, when the Oscar nominations come out, and we hope to be there too," he emphasised.

Then Mr Manolopoulos said, "If something good comes out of this whole trip for us, it would be that the matter be discussed publicly, and of course, there should be a change. We also believe that if it reaches the big awards, it might catch some eyes that have the power to bring about some change," and added: "For me, I believe and hope that it will have a big influence on my career because it gives exposure."

"Although I've been here since 2010, having managed a steady flow of work, I can't say that I've entered the centre of the industry, i.e. making the biggest films or series. I have worked on productions outside the country worldwide, such as India and Saudi Arabia, which were very interesting, and I really enjoyed them.

"Being based here in England, I believe a nomination and maybe a win at Bafta will open doors for me to be able to discuss with producers of another range. My interest is in fiction cinema, whether that is in either the 2-3 hour format in the cinema or the new format that TV series have.

"The script, the director and the collaborators are important to me. Those of us in the field are in a very happy moment because, in recent years, there has been a boom in television series, the quality and budget of which are rising more and more, and their level is convergent towards cinema. So I don't separate it in my mind.

"It's more what's of value, what script can speak to me so that I can offer. I would gladly do something in Greece as well."

It is worth noting that the Greek filmmaker has collaborated again with Elham Ehsas in the past. Born in Pakistan, he has also previously worked with Steven Spielberg and for famous platforms. It is his second collaboration with Iranian-born actress Afsaneh Dehrouyeh.

"Cinema is a universal art that can unite people all over the world, and this is one of the reasons I do it", concludes Yiannis Manolopoulos.

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