Andreas Avgousti

1. Your film Petra is just entered in our PIMFF competition. How was the
film inspired?

Firstly, I would like to thank you for selecting ‘Petra’ for your festival and for the two awards we
received! The film was initially inspired by Greek folklore; the story of goblin like creatures called
‘Kalikantzaroi’ and how they live in the tree of life but once a year they will return and seek a
special child born on a Saturday between Christmas Day and Epiphany Day. They will mark the
baby and then will wait until adulthood when this person would eventually become like them. I
decided very early that I didn’t want to make a folklore film but took inspiration from it and wrote
the story of Petra who in similar manner was marked as a baby and upon her return to her birth
house she slowly descents into mental darkness.

2. Your film was budget 11k €. How did the filming process go? What
was challenging during filming?

‘Petra’ was the biggest production this far in my career as a filmmaker. We were fortunate enough to find this fantastic location for free (Shoutout to the Ministry of Health that owns the house). Due to budget restrictions we had to film Petra in just three days which came with its challenges but thinking back now I can say things run very smoothly. Furthermore, I teamed up with a local production company called ‘Geekotopos’ who made the pre-production process a lot easier and introduced me to a lot of insanely talented filmmakers!

3. Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a

I was born and raised in Limassol, Cyprus and I loved watching Horror films and films in general
from a very young age. With a long background in Art and my love for the cinema I decided to
study about film at the University of Glasgow and then did a Masters degree for Directing at Met
Film School in London. When I applied for university I thought I would study Business
Management cause at the time felt like the reasonable thing to do. However, after the madness of
final exams and graduation I had to enrol in the army. During my two year National Service I had
more time to think things over and realised that I wanted to follow the path of Film Studies; and I
eventually did!

4. Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker?

There are several films I could start listing but hands down the film that inspired me to become a
Filmmaker was 1960’s Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock. It was a film I watched at a very young age and then revisited it in university of which I also wrote my thesis on. I love its aesthetic and music
especially but mostly I remember feeling very curious about the way it was filmed and wanted to
read everything about it. To this day, Psycho is one of my favourite films as it defined the Horror
genre as we know it today.

5. Who is your biggest influence?

Since I started making films, my biggest influence has been Director James Wan. His filmography
is packed with one great Horror film after the other. His film Insidious greatly influenced my last
two films. I like many directors but James Wan is definitely the one whose films have influenced
me the most.

6. Do you have a favourite genre to work in? Why is it your favourite?

You have probably noticed by now that I talk about Horror films a lot and that’s because it’s hands
down my favourite genre as a filmmaker and a viewer. My aim is to focus on the Horror genre and
all its sub-genres such as Psychological Thriller, Slasher Horror and Supernatural/Fantasy Horror. I feel like, with horror films the possibilities are endless because you can pretty much create your
own rules. It’s a genre I absolutely love to watch so as a filmmaker, I often put on the viewer’s hat
and think what I would love to see in a horror film and I try to recreate it in film.

7. What’s your all-time favourite movie and why?

I feel like my all-time favourite movie always changes. The Horror genre has been going through a
renaissance at the moment and every great new film challenges its predecessor. I would say some of my favourite films from the last decade are ‘Get Out’, ‘Hereditary’, Midsommar, The Conjuring 2 and Insidious. Each of them for different reasons of course but one thing they all have in common is the captivating story, insanely interesting characters and great performances!

8. If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?

If I am ever that lucky, I would love the chance to work with Julianne Moore. She is one of my all
time favourite actress! She has done it all and every film she is in, she embodies the character she is portraying; whether that is a science fiction film or a fantasy, a surreal film or a heart crushing
drama film.

9. What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker?

The most important lesson I had to learn as a filmmaker is to be organised and prepared before
shooting so I can be present during, and enjoy the experience! During filming, I used to be stressed and I was always overthinking things because I wasn’t truly confident that I was ready to film. I have learned to be as organised and prepared as possible and to really enjoy the process and be present!

10. What keeps you motivated?

The one thing that aways keeps me motivated is cinema itself! A great film will inspire me and
motivate me to go home and write my own script or a short story, sketch or paint. It’s a great
feeling! In similar manner, whenever I complete a project that I am happy about, I am always filled
with fresh motivation for the next one!

11. How has your style evolved?

I feel like it’s still a bit early in my career to answer this question. However, if there is one thing that has changed within my own personal style is the type of scares I want to film. Even if I compare Petra to my previous film Forget Me Not, I find the scares a little bit more subtle and this is something I definitely want to focus more and improve on my next projects. By doing so, I am
simultaneously improving the level of writing as the film itself becomes scarier without the use of excessive scares.

12. The project(s) you’re most proud of…

I know everyone says this, but I am proud of every single film I directed and worked in; from the film school projects to my own films. The project I am most proud of is admittedly Petra. A few
months prior to filming and most importantly the week before filming I had to overcome a lot in my personal life and I really had to push through and focus on preparing for filming. I remember feeling really stressed and had constant panic attacks that had nothing to do with the film. It was a really difficult time and I am truly proud for the finished film!

13. The most challenging project you worked on. And why?

Three words come in mind; Forget Me Not. During filming, I had a lot of help from a truly incredible crew and cast, so the shoot itself was smooth sailing compared to everything else surrounding pre-production and mainly the financial side of things. I was an unemployed student at the time of shooting Forget Me Not and with a tiny budget at hand I had to find clever solutions for moving all the equipment and all the props, locations, renting equipment etc. It was also very physically exhausting as I wasn’t just directing the film, I was producing it and I found myself cooking lunches the night before the shoot, carrying rented equipment for miles and taking multiple cab rides between locations to move everything. Moreover, I had a tough time getting all the permits for filming in London and I was so happy when I eventually managed to get them in time for the shoot. Overall, a very challenging time but at the same time I am happy with the way things turnout.

14. What are your short term and long term career goals?

Right now I am working on two short films; both horrors with one been a micro short film and the other a medium length film. I am currently in pre production for both shorts and I am looking
forward filming them! As for long term career goals; I would love to get the chance to create my own anthology series. I have a few ideas I think would work great and some I even attempted to convert into a script.

15. Your next projects?

Like I mentioned earlier, I am currently working on two short films. As of now, I plan to shoot the micro horror film first by the end of April 2021. Hopefully this will be allowed with the ongoing pandemic restrictions but I am hopeful that it will all workout. The next film will hopefully be a much bigger project as it will involve more shoot days, a larger cast and more locations. I am aiming to film the second project by September 2021. Wish us luck!