Voices of the Film Participants
The Hellenic Journal spoke with three Greek-Americans whom were each interviewed in The New Greek Americans 1960-Present. Describing their personal experience being a part of the documentary, please find their heart-felt responses below.
The Hellenic Journal: How did you become involved in the filming of The New Greek Americans 1960-Present?
Andrea Ioannidis: “I became involved in the film by my friend Anna Giannotis, who was working on the first documentary The Pioneers. I didn’t know if any other documentaries were in the future but I remember sharing my own experiences of growing up Greek in America. I remember her laughing at some of the stories I would share.”
Julian Lianos: “For a number of years, I have been involved in the SoCal Greek community from participating in Greek Dance, GOYA Basketball, and serving in the Altar at St. Sophia Cathedral. I am just grateful that I was invited to be a part of such a fantastic documentary series.”
James Pappas: “I became involved because Anna [Giannotis] was looking for Greek/Americans who served in the military from Vietnam to the present, and I had served in the US Navy for quite a few years as active and a reservist.”
The Hellenic Journal: Please describe the experience of being an interviewee in The New Greek Americans 1960-Present.
Andrea Ioannidis: “It has been an honor to be included in The New Greek Americans documentary. There is so much value to our stories, and those stories are important to share. I felt a great sense of responsibility to properly represent my parents and at the same time, to be honest and authentic about what it was like growing up in America to immigrant parents.”
Julian Lianos: “It was exciting! I had never been interviewed before, so it was a thrilling experience. I was actually a bit nervous because I didn’t write anything down. I just wanted to speak from the heart.”
James Pappas: “I was really honored that I was asked to be part of this experience and share my experiences; from being a young boy growing up in the church with all of her activities including Greek School, then, becoming an adult staying close to the Greek church, even while serving my Country to the best of my ability and tell my story.”
The Hellenic Journal: Please share a special memory that you have from being a part of The New Greek Americans 1960-Present.
Andrea Ioannidis: “The most cherished memory I have from being a part of this meaningful documentary is watching my youngest son Pauly Columbis be interviewed at our beloved St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox School. It feels good to instruct and pass the torch of our faith and culture to the new Greek generations.”
Julian Lianos: “It was incredibly exciting for me to see so many people express their love of our culture juxtaposed to life as an ‘American.’ Many of the people in this documentary have contributed so much to society, in the form of art, business, and politics, that it was inspiring for me to see them discuss how important their Greek culture is to them and how it influenced their endeavors. It makes me proud of where my ancestors came from and my upbringing.”
James Pappas: “Again, I was honored to be able to participate in such a special documentary with such an amazing group of filmmakers and my fellow veterans and hear their stories. There is a special bond for people who have served in the military, you have a mutual understanding of what it is like to be part of that experience. Although for me the most special memory was watching my young son, Gregory be part of this documentary and share his story even though his story has just started but, it is the beginning of a new generation of Greek Americans that will hopefully preserve our past and give it to future generations to come.”
From the Audience
Along with speaking to Greek-Americans who appeared in the film, The Hellenic Journal also spoke with audience member Annette Bravos, from the premiere of The New Greek Americans 1960-2018.
The Hellenic Journal: As an audience member, what did the film The New Greek Americans 1960-Present mean to you?
Annette Bravos: “The film demonstrated that the framework our parents and grandparents established, which centered around Greek school church, culture, cuisine, dance, etc. continues into the millennium.”
The Hellenic Journal: How did you relate to the documentary?
Annette Bravos: “I lived it.”
The Hellenic Journal: Upon leaving the premiere, what did you feel impacted you the most from The New Greek Americans 1960-Present?
Annette Bravos: “After 100 years, the Greek diaspora continues to thrive in Southern California, proud to be Americans but also proud of their Greek heritage. This to me is unique.”
Email the author: Giuliana