Anna Rezan is fierce, sensitive, and a wonderful storyteller. Her documentary film, "My People," recently premiered at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival and is Anna's directorial debut. It is a historical feature documentary film about the Greek Holocaust survivors produced by her and two Academy Award-winners. It's a story of trauma, unbearable circumstances, and hope and gratitude.
Who Is Anna Rezan?
Anna was always singing and dancing since she was a child. She even starred in her first musical production at the age of 11. In her early teens, Anna Rezan began her career by appearing in Greek films and television series, most notably Farewell Anatolia, and starring in the 2010 comedy film "ShowBitch" that premiered at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Her first international feature film role was in "La Commedia di Amos Poe," a new translation of Dante's Divine Comedy by Amos Poe starring Roberto Benigni that premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. She made her catwalk debut as a high fashion model in New York Fashion Week in 2014. In 2016, her song "Let there be Love" was released internationally by Universal Music Group. In 2018 she co-starred in "DFLD: with Mikis Theodorakis on the Road" which premiered at the Hof International Film Festival.
Rezan then returned to Greece and began creating "My People" by herself and her cinematographer Zaf Haitides. Anna is a millennial filmmaker and a great-grandchild of Greek Holocaust survivors. When she had a quick moment at the premiere, she spoke with Gemma Magazine about her film and has so much passion for it.
What inspired you to tell this story about your ancestors?
Well, I wanted to tell the story of my family. However, in the movie, a line goes, "My history is your history" (a worldly message) about grandparents and great-grandparents. They still learned to enjoy life after these circumstances, and to have the ability to transform this experience into something powerful is impressive. It becomes a universal message.
What was it like revisiting the concentration camps to do the film?
Honestly, a part of me dreaded it because it's an authentic experience.
I did feel nervous the night before. Yet, as I spoke with many survivors, I realized what great feedback I received. These resilient people decided to continue, get married, have families, and be grateful for what they still had in their lives.
What would you like to come out of this story?
Even though the Holocaust survivors experience terrible trauma and awful circumstances, the film should set an example. I wanted to transform this film into something powerful that empowers the audience to believe in love and life.
I hear 7 men helped you get this movie completed. Tell me as a female filmmaker, what was it like to have all this support and backing?
It was wonderful to have the support and encouragement. Also, knowing that you have that support can get you anywhere.
Well obviously working with an important ... veteran filmmaker who is Mitchell block.. the fact that he wanted us, to work together is such an honor and a blessing.
When I met with Kim Magnusson, a multi-Academy award winner, it was a really unexpected surprise. I believe that it helped me in believing in myself and that I was actually able to do this.
As for Zafeiris Zaf Haitidis, I believe that nothing would have happened if it wasn't for him. When we started working on this, he was the one that said "This is your baby, you should direct this movie." Of course, aside from co-producing the project, he is basically responsible for this incredible cinematography that served my vision for the highest aesthetics we could possibly have in the film.
At the same time, I worked very closely with Pantelis Kodogiannis. We know each other from his starring role in Promakhos(Netflix) and I was a fan of his work. We had a wonderful time working on such an unpleasant and uneasy script together.
Makis Matsas is a true inspiration because he's living proof that a happy ending exists in real life and what he gave me as a human being always stays in my heart. Also provided such important archival elements that we were able to use coming from the Greek Jewish museum as he is its president.
Billy Nikolopoulos has been my composer since I was a teenager. I feel so lucky to be able to have his extraordinary original score in "My People" and I'm forever grateful because he jumped in when this was just a longshot idea.
Theocharis Chronis was able to support me with his incredible abilities in editing and we spent so much time together. I believe that he is an incredible filmmaker and also a great man.
Last but not least Kostas Exarcheas because his sound design really manages to express the feeling of what I want the audiences to experience while watching the film. His creativity and the fact that he stood by my side when I was so overwhelmed while working on the film.
If more men were like the men who worked with me on this film, this world would definitely be a much happier place.
What words of inspiration would you like to share with other female filmmakers trying to get their "idea" from ink to the big screen?
Once you have a calling, listen to that voice, and eventually, you will attract the right people.
You can keep up with Anna Rezan and her inspiring projects on her social media platforms.