10 Questions with PETROS ARONIS
"I remember ever since I was a small child, I had a membership card to all video stores around my neighbourhood."- Petros Aronis
We caught up with Petros Aronis, filmmaker and John Byrne award entrant, to talk about strong women, living in the here and now, and why dogs are the best.
In your John Byrne Award entry, you explored the question ‘Can you survive without people?’ Why did you choose to focus on this topic?
I was suffering from depression and social anxiety for a very long time. At some point, I realised that the only way out of both was letting people in. People wonder if there is life after death or if there is life beyond our galaxy. I ask them ‘Why does it matter?’. We have a life here – on this planet, in this life. And what are we doing with it? So, my short film ‘The Anathema of Wings’ is exactly about that.
When and how did you start making films? Why do you continue to do it now?
I remember ever since I was a small child, I had a membership card to all video stores around my neighbourhood. My parents would often worry that I watched too many films since I would rent two or three at a time. Films have always been my escape. Very early in my life, I knew I wanted to get into films. However, I used to be confused about the role I should have in film making. I wanted to be an actor, but I know today that my talents are strongest behind the camera.
I am currently studying History of Art but I aspire to be a film director. Taking into consideration the complexity in the process of making a film, I took up photography in 2015 as a way of controlling my aesthetic abilities in a single frame before moving to 25 frames per second. I made my first video a year ago and I currently have two new videos in the pipeline. So far, all the videos I’ve made fall in between the categories of film and video art installation. I am trying to work with simple ideas expressed in ever more complex means.
The reason why I’m currently making films is to apply for a master’s degree in film directing after I graduate. But the real reason I am making films is pure selfishness. All my artistic work has been for and about myself. To express myself, satisfy myself and heal myself.
Where do you get your creative inspiration?
Sometimes inspiration finds me and sometimes I look for it. When it finds me, it can be on the street, at the grocery store or even in my dreams. My notebook is full of them. When I look for it, it often comes from art, fashion, cinema, music, feminism, gender theories, and social issues.
What do you value most in life?
Dogs. I think we have so much to learn from them.
What impact is your work having/ would you like your work to have?
I want people to feel less alone.
Who do you admire and why?
I admire all kinds of strong women. But most of all I admire my grandmother, Elli, for being the strongest, stubbornest woman I know, even now that she is deprived of physical and mental strength due to her old age.
Recommend us something to read, watch or visit, please. Can you tell us the story behind why you’d recommend it?
I recommend that everyone watch ‘The Diving Bell and The Butterfly’ (Julian Schnabel, 2007). The film is the real-life story of the Elle editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby. After experiencing a stroke, his whole body became paralyzed apart from his left eye and he was forced to reconsider his perspective in life. What I love about this film is that the camerawork, which mimics the body of the disabled character, forces an able-bodied viewer to reconsider their perspective in life. I must warn you; the film is going to break your heart.
Describe yourself and your creative work in one sentence?
A fine line between healing and self-destruction.
What do you think of The John Byrne Award?
I think that it is a lovely opportunity for young people to have a platform to showcase their work and receive validation for it. But what I find truly wonderful about The John Byrne Award is that it is not just platform. On the contrary, the organization gives artists a real cash prize that can be used as a resource to further develop their work.
What would you do if you were president of the world for one day?
I would make discrimination towards any minority group an illegal action punishable by law. The punishment would require the discriminating person to do community service for organizations that work in support of the group that they discriminated against.
Share your own work to be in with a chance of winning the annual £2500 prize.