Lately, my life is a little bit like a John Cassavetes film, in a gay version of course. I face the challenge of a new morning job. I must stop the flirtation of my new, air hostess, neighbor (she does not believe in gay) even if I have to accept the Kiki challenge myself dancing on the road with my 12 size sneakers hoping that she will get the message: “I am not interested at all.”
I am still trying to figure out how am I going to shoot my new film. I am still out there looking for breathtaking love. However these last days some great news arrived. My feature film “Time is up” has been selected for two more film festivals. The first one is The Durban Gay and Lesbian international film festival in South Africa. The Second one is the 20th LGBTQI International Film Festival of Thessaloniki Greece.
Thessaloniki is my hometown. It is the second largest city in Greece. It’s a nice coastal city with a great quality of life, mostly because it’s small and you can do a lot of things in walking distance. I felt weird when I got the notification that my town invites me to present in front of its audience my gay artistic point of view – it is probably because there are a lot of painful memories back there.
In my hometown, during my childhood, I felt the pain of being bullied, of being lonely, of being not compatible with the masses. In my teenager or college years, the flirt and the dating was a nightmare. We, the gays, were hiding from the world. There was only one gay bar in the city and making love was a secret act behind double-locked doors. We were afraid to go out in public. There was gossip. There was fear of gossip.
All these memories made me think again that returning in a hometown is not always cathartic and therapeutic. Real life is not cinema. But cinema is always a good way to improve or somehow change real life. So I will return to Thessaloniki to present my film and to show to everyone there that I made it. I became the gay man that I always wanted to be. I became the gay film director that I always wanted to be. The past can’t touch me anymore, can’t define my present, my future.
I love the city that I was born and grew up but as a tourist. For me home Athens is home. Athens is not ideal at all but it definitely is a metropolis. All the new things in the country start there. Gay life has a lot to offer. Art and business keep developing in a much faster way. Athens makes me feel like I am in my twenties. Athens is a moving challenge to do stuff to not stay still. Of course, nothing here is piece of cake either.
Well, nothing is a piece of cake for us gays in most of the places in the globe. Almost every day I hear news about homophobic attacks, or populists politics making speeches with anti-gay agenda. Sometimes I wonder are we gays the jews, the new blacks? Of course, we are strong, we are getting stronger but where is home for us? Why can’t we be equals and free like the others? Why should our queer art be considered as a b-class category?
But at least guys we have each other. We communicate and we are ready to take action for what we deserve. We deserve human rights, equality, love, be treated like the others. I don’t settle in as a b-class citizen or as a b-class artist.