Skip navigation

Category Archives: film reviews

Let’s see: Alex is working on a movie about a communist mom and her relationship to her son, but both characters are performed by one and the same female actress, so if you take away the gender-confusion of a female performing a female and a male role, Alex’s movie might as well be a movie about mother-daughter relationships and how these are affected by Greek communism. The name of the mom in his movie is Νίκη/Nike which is the Greek word for “victory”, so the mother’s name is basically “Victoria”. Lo behold, today I discovered this Bulgarian 2014 indie film by female filmmaker Maya Vitkova called, oh yes, Виктория or”Viktoria” which she claims is a semi-autobiographical tale about  mother-daughter relationships set in the 1970s and early 1990s in Bulgaria under communist rule and after the fall of Soviet communism, which is the exact same time period that Alex’s upcoming film is set. COINCIDENCE?

Here is Maya Vitkova explaining her movie Виктория/Viktoria:

And here is what she said on IMDB (which makes her the only if not one of the few filmmakers ever to address their film viewers on IMDB in the comments):

Author: mayvitkovitz from Bulgaria
2 June 2015

The key situations in Viktoria are stories that happened in my own life, but the willingness to tell them is not an obsession for psychoanalysis or a self cure. The motive to write Viktoria links to the story Kurosawa tells at the very beginning of his autobiographical book. A healing frog in a box with mirror walls, frightened by its own reflection, starts secreting an oily secretion similar to sweat. They used to boil this sweat on a faint fire for days and that’s how produced a miraculous cure. According to Kurosawa, to write about yourself, is similar to being locked between four walls covered with mirrors and stare at yourself. And although you’re not a frog, you feel sweat streaming down your body… Storytelling is a mission, one of the few ways to change human lives. To write stories and turn them into films, which truly regenerate the humanity, the human spirit, you odd [ought?] to be honest. To lock yourself into the mirror box and examine you from top to toe, to tell a story of a moment in your life which somehow changed you, a story, that can thus help turning the lives of those who see it better. I do hope that the cure – the film – I prepared out of my „sweat”, will be healing for the people who use it for their „wounds”. That’s the reason I wrote Viktoria.

Wow, that sounds like a student of Jodorowsky’s brand of Psychomagic Psychobabble right there (doesn’t Alejandro always say he wants to make movies that heal?), but anyway, onwards to the movie itself class! Study this film-trailer for Виктория/Viktoria closely and diligently:

Dreaming of the West, Boryana is determined not to have a child in communist Bulgaria. Nonetheless, her daughter Viktoria enters the world in 1979, curiously missing a belly button, and is declared the country’s Baby of the Decade. Pampered by her mother state until the age of nine, Viktoria’s decade of notoriety comes crashing down with the rest of European communism. But can political collapse and the hardship of new times finally bring Viktoria and her reluctant mother closer together?

The film follows three generations of women in the final years of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the new government, focusing on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter, Viktoria, who in one of the film’s surreal, magical touches is born without an umbilical cord. Though unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country’s Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the East Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation.

You will see that there are several scenes here which in another context would have been pedophilic, such as an image of a baby’s bare bottom and another quick shot where a girl’s pair of underwear is cut off with scissors. I obviously haven’t seen the movie itself but everything about this trailer suggests that Maya Vitkova’s Виктория/Viktoria is a movie that touches on the subject of sexual child abuse under communism.

This surreal excerpt from the movie of a young girl dressed up like a mix between Kenny from the animation  Southpark and Little Red Riding Hood being pushed over by a gigantic hand, again suggests that Виктория/Viktoria is a movie about child abuse:

Then there is this excerpt of what appears to be a catholic priest or lawyer’s gown in a tub of water spreading a cloud of blood:

Another scene which suggests child abuse:

And this scene of a piano recital reminds me of those stories that Alex used to tell in interviews, where he said he was being paraded around like a trophy by the Greek communists after he and his sister joined the Greek Communist Youth organization at the ripe old age of 12, and Alex saying that he considers this experience of being paraded around by the communists in his youth “akin to child pornography”:

The communist context of the movie is made explicit in the following somewhat parodic  excerpt:

So, let’s take this from the top again:

1) Alex is making a movie where the mom character is called Νίκη/Nike or Victoria. Two years ago Vitkova already released a an indie movie called Виктория/Viktoria, which is the name of the daughter in her movie.

2) Alex’s mom character Νίκη is a communist, Виктория/Viktoria takes place during communist rule in Bulgaria with the mother and daughter being celebrated by the communist regime.

3) The time period of the events in Alex’s film is the 1970s and 1990s, Виктория/Viktoria likewise takes place in the 1970s and the early 1990s.

4) Виктория/Viktoria is about mother-daughter relationships, Alex’s movie is about mother-son relationships but the two main characters, the mother and the son, are both interpreted by a single female actress.

5) Alex is a pedophilia apologist; Виктория/Viktoria‘s trailer suggests that this movie touches on the subject of sexual child abuse under communism, with many scenes suggesting or depicting child abuse.

6) Alex said in interviews that being paraded around by the communists after joining the Greek Communist Youth organization as preteen was a very traumatic experience for him which felt “akin to child pornography”; Vitkova’s girlchild character Viktoria is paraded around by the communists in Bulgaria as the “Baby of the Decade”, in a movie that Vitkova claims is semi-autobiographical. Alex’s mom is a communist who still in public interviews will refer to other leftists in Greece as “comrades” and is a former card-carrying member of the Greek Communist Party. Vitkova claims that Виктория/Viktoria is about trying to restore her relationship to her mother after the fall of communism.

I’m sure Alex would say that he has never seen Виктория/Viktoria and that these similarities are all a big coincidence, but I have come across so many male artists ripping off lesser known female artists that I am extremely supicious. Obviously there are other films that depict mother-child relationships under communism or the post-communism transition period (the German film Goodbye Lenin would be a well-known example amongst my contemporaries), but the above similarities should raise an eyebrow.

The Feminist blacklist of Greek rape movies by male filmmakers (and a few female ones) is an ongoing feminist film criticism project by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou. The creation of this list was prompted by the following interview with lesbian American actress Jodie Foster, wherein she condemns the use of rape as a plot device in American films:


She added, “It was ridiculous, it was every single movie I saw. If you really got to what was the overriding motivation that that woman that you found out at the end, it was always rape because for some reason men saw that as this incredibly dramatic thing. ‘Well that’s easy! I can just pluck that one out of the sky and apply it to her.’ ”

Foster said she believes the storyline persists because men have failed to create a “complex merging” with female characters. “They were unable to put themselves in her shoes and her body and say, ‘She was competitive with her mother’… They were unable to make that transition.”

Jodie Foster Slams Male Filmmakers for Relying on Rape as a Motivational Device for Female Characters

These comments by Jodie Foster in fact very accurately describes almost every indie Greek movie being praised by the online hegemony and the Voulgaris oikogeniocracy. I thus decided to assemble a list of male-made Greek movies that use rape as a lazy-assed plot device: Το μικρό ψάρι by Yannis Economidis, Μέχρι το πλοίο by Αλέξης Δαμιανός, Lost Girl by Nikos Pastras, Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός (literally “If rape was legal” <– CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS FUCKING TITLE?!) by Alexandros Sipsidis, the list of Greek rape movies by men just goes on and on. Μέχρι το πλοίο (1966) by Αλέξης Δαμιανός this movie that many young Greek filmmakers have been brainwashed to think of as a sensitive Greek treatjerker and one of the greatest pieces in the Greek film canon, is actually a rather badly made rape movie. The scene where the woman is in the barn and the two men are pulling at her arms is a rape scene. The only reason you don’t see any body-parts is because they couldn’t show that back then. Anyone who does a close reading of that scene should be able to see it for what it is: simulated rape.

Just to be fair and to also to preempt any silly MRA kind of criticism, I will also assemble below the male filmmaker blacklist a list of Greek movies with rape scenes by female Greek filmmakers, so you can see for yourselves how completely different the rape scenes are when they are directed by women. Most recently we saw rape uncritically and sensationally being used as a plot device in the 2015 film Ursa Minor by Elissavet Chronopoulou, which surely a cinematic example of Stockholm Syndrome and how female Greek filmmakers adopt a male gaze because they don’t know better and haven’t got a clue about feminist film criticism. I know this for a fact because not a single female Greek filmmaker I have ever met has ever read any form of feminist film criticism.

In addition to the second list of females directing rape scenes, I also tried to to think of a single Greek movie where a man gets raped by men (like, say, the rape-scene in American History X where Edward Norton “picks up the soap” in prison) and I basically can’t think of one. I can honestly say I have never seen an adult Greek man get raped by another man in a Greek movie. The victims I see in Greek rape movies are always women. There a castration scene in the Hellenic Genocide drama feature 1922 by Nikos Koundouros where a Turkish lynch mob captres and cuts the balls off a Greek (all this in a Greek movie long before Hostel ever came out people!), but that movie by Koundouros doesn’t really count because it isn’t rape — in that movie too it’s Greek women who are getting raped by Turks. Singapore Sling, the Greek exploitation rape movie by Nikos Nikolaidis doesn’t count either because that’s supposedly a man who is being raped by women, who curiously never looks like he isn’t enjoying himself. I think it’s fair to say that despite its reputation of churning out edgy films, it’s abudantly clear from my list that homosexual rape amongst adult men is the ultimate cinematic taboo in a macho patriarchy such as the Greek culture. It reminds me of a quote I once read in an essay in the late Eve Sedgwick’s Tendencies book, where either she or the person she was interviewing said something to the effect that the image of a man on his back with his knees in the air and his rectum exposed is the ultimate cinematic taboo in American film and that showing this image to American audience would be akin to the Apocalypse, this being an image that, if shown to a mainstream audience, would signal the end as far as American culture is concerned. (But I have actually seen La Pudeur des Icebergs by Daniel Léveillé Danse performed live onstage in Amsterdam 10 years ago, so I beg to differ.) So, if you really want to be an edgy Greek filmmaker, stop making Greek rape movies and basically go and make a Greek “Πάρτι των Λεμονιών”. Perferably yet, stop making rape movies altogether. Having a movie literally titled Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός, “If rape was legal”, is not very funny, mr Alexandros Sipsidis. I want this list to show how gross, disgusting and overtly sexist Greek cinema has become just as its becoming more well-known around the world than ever.


Το μικρό ψάρι by Yannis Economidis

Lost Girl by Nikos Pastras

Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός by Alexandros Sipsidis

1922 by Nikos Koundouros

Μέχρι το πλοίο, 1966, Αλέξης Δαμιανός
(rape scene in the barn at 17:50)

ΜΙΚΡΕΣ ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΕΣ / Young Aphrodites (1963) Nikos Koundouros
(simulated rape scene of a 14 year old girl)

(rape scene at the end)

Singapore Sling: The Man Who Loved a Corpse 1990 Nikos Nikolaidis
(incest between adults, male rape, too many scenes to count)

Miss Violence, 2013, Alexandros Avranas
(Movie about incest, rape scene happens off screen but it’s still rape)


Lullaby by Yianna Amerikanou, 2009

Ursa Minor by Elissavet Chronopoulou, 2015 <– This movie in particular is the perfect example of the way female Greek filmmakers have internalized the male gaze and the rape scene as a plot device because they’ve witnressed it times immemorial in Greek movies and have hence thus ended up reproducing sexist Greek stereotypes of women being masochistic victims who supposedly “crave” abuse and humiliation. As one critic of the movie commented: “Ποια κοπέλα θα έβλεπε έναν άνδρα να την ακολουθάει και να της λέει: «Δε θα σε αφήσω να φύγεις.» και εκείνη χωρίς κανέναν δισταγμό θα έμενε και σε λίγες ώρες αργότερα θα προθυμοποιούνταν να κάνει έρωτα μαζί του, χωρίς τη θέληση της, προκειμένου να τον πείσει να μείνει σπίτι της το βράδυ (δεδομένου μάλιστα ότι αρνείται την ερωτική επαφή στη συνέχεια μέσα σε μια σχέση πέντε μηνών με αυτόν τον άνδρα); Η δημιουργός αναφέρει ότι «Η ιστορία μιλάει για ένα κακοποιημένο κορίτσι, που ακριβώς επειδή έχει κακοποιηθεί, έλκει την κακοποίηση.» Δε φαίνεται πουθενά ο λόγος για τον οποίο αποδέχεται την κακοποίηση.”. Greek female filmmakers are thus neither encouraged or interested in subverting the expectation of rape and misogynist abuse in Greek movies. Female Greek filmmakers are merely ignorant reproducers of the rape convention. So completely have Greek female filmmakers internalized the rapist gaze of male Greek filmmakers that they can’t even conceive making a film from the perspective of the female and instead explicitly adopt a male gaze, since this gaze is all they know: “βρισκόμαστε στην οπτική γωνία του ήρωα και επομένως ξέρουμε μόνο όσα ξέρει κι εκείνος”. In Greece, even the women identify with the rapist at the expense of the female rape victim. The misogyny of Greek films is therefore a truly totalitarian and tautological manifestation of the rapist male gaze. Even the critic makes up excuses for the rapist, describing him using the inevitable perenial favourites amongst Greek rape apologist, “child-like” and “sensitive”: προβάλλεται ως ένας ευαίσθητος χαρακτήρας με μία εμφανή παιδικότητα, κατανόηση και μεγάλη θέληση για να βοηθήσει, να διορθώσει την ηρωίδα (ατάκα ήρωα: «Ήλπιζα να γίνεις κανονική.»). Yes, Greek film critics really do believe that rape and abuse are the result of “too much feeling” and even a “child-like innocence” on the part of the rapist,  rather than the result of a truly psychopathic lack of any feelings of empathy in a man. Let there be no mistake about it, no man ever imagines himself a child when he is raping a woman. This suggestion that rapists are brutalizing women because they are innocent children who cannot help themselves is one of the most dangerous mindfucks Greek women have suffered at the hands of a sexist patriarchal culture.



Δεν την φυλάει κανείς, uh-huh
Φοβούνται μην τους μείνει αδειο το κελί της
Μα όλο γελάει αυτή, uh-huh
Θέλει το πτώμα να βρουν
Και να παριστούν πως τάχα δεν μπορούν
Να την φανταστούν ωμή
Πως είναι μόνο κρέας αυτή
Και έτσι θα αρχίσει να χωράει
Μες την πληγή το μαχέρι

Έλα να δεις κι εσύ το μαύρο – η μάλλον κόκκινο – χάλι που έκανε ο Άλεξ την Σοφία Κόκκαλη στο νέο του music video. Η απόλυτη δηθενιά και αναισθησία να παριστάνει την συναισθηματικότητα. Χίλιες φορές προτιμότερα να έβλεπα την Κόκκαλη να την έδενε ο Vinny Winn Kyle με τις πορτοκαλι μπλούζες του όπως έλεγε ο Vinny στο βίντεο για την Μικρά Αγγλία 😀 Δεν ανέφερα καν που η ιδέα πίσω από αυτό το τραγούδι και βίντεο είναι 100% κλεμένη από το βίντεο και τους στίχους του Liar του Henry Rollins σε σκηνοθεσία του Ολλανδού Anton Corbijn, το βαμμένο κόκκινο πρόσωπο, τα γαλλία, οι στίχοι για την μοναξιά, οι γκριματσες, όλα πρωτοφανές, όλα κλεμμενα –>

And since we are on the topic, here is Alex’s mom the communist before a class of highschool students in Greece openly admitting to these kids that she lies during interviews:

12:54 Δεν μπορω να δωσω τις 50 συνεντεύξεις που μου ζητάνε, γιατί, ακόμα και τις 3 η 4 που δίνω πιάνω τον εαυτόν μου πολλές φορές και να επαναλαμβάνω, να κάνω νιάνιά τα ίδια και τα ίδια όταν είναι και ας πούμε και παροιμίες οι ερωτήσεις, και έχω πιάσει πολλές φορές τον εαυτόν μου να λέει ψέματα.

Translation: I cannot give the 50 interviews that are requested of me, because, even with the 3 or 4 interviews that I do give, I catch myself repeating, yapping the same old same things when the questions are the same, let’s say, and I’ve also many times caught myself lying.

Well, this is certainly refreshing for yours truly, to have a liar like Alex’s communist mom Ioanna Karystiani openly admit before a class of children and even openly on Youtube by extention that she lies during interviews, because most of the liars I profile here on the blog as rule will staunchly deny being liars and will instead accuse me of being a liar for painstakingly documenting and exposing their lies. How refreshing is this indeed! 😀 Maybe it’s a Greek thing because in my experience Americans are always shocked and offended to the core of their being when someone manages catches to them in a lie. I obviously wish people had it together enough that they didn’t have to lie at all, but if I had to choose then I think I  prefer the Greek approach of openly lying and openly admitting it and consider this to be more healthy than the aggressive American denialism I generally have to deal with. Why can’t Americans be more like Alex’s communist mom and just admit that they too will lie in public?

OK, boys and girls in filmschool, today I am going to show you how to instantly recognize a Certified Arrogant Indie Asshole™® of a filmmaker in the American indie film industry. After wasting everyone’s time, effort and money on tanked projects, these Certified Arrogant Indie Assholes ™® continue to talk about themselves in glowing terms, refusing to admit they were wrong, refusing to take responsibility for being irresponsible with investors’ money, while spewing self-inflating crap very similar to this:

“Indeed, Æon Flux ultimately made $25.9 million domestically and $52.3 million worldwide, a costly and embarrassing flop for Paramount.”

Kusama’s agents told her in a singsong, jokey tone that she was “in movie jail now.” It’s an industry term for the fate of filmmakers who helm a box office bomb, and the implication is that, eventually, you’ll be released from movie jail.

“It’s the sense that each movie represents some kind of finality, potentially, to their career, as opposed to the sense of you have hits, and you have misses. That’s called being an artist.”

“I know when I sit in these studio meetings — I’m not afraid to say this — I’m one of the smartest people they’ve ever met, and I’m certain it’s terrifying [for them],”

GET OVER YOURSELF LADY! Also, someone please find me one interview where Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, Richard Linklater or any of the other men name-dropped in this article are claiming to be the smartest guy in the room like Karyn Kusuma does, bragging that their superior intelligence is scaring the studios. Arrogant statements like this make you sound like a self-absorbed asshole artiste, irrespective of sex. As for the ridiculous claim that male filmmakers supposedly get a free pass to fail over and over and waste investors’ millions  like Kusama did “because I am an artiste and I should be allowed to have misses, it’s called being an artist” (ON YOUR OWN DIME LADY!), tell that to Adam Rifkin who tanked with The Dark Backward and never made another feature movie again. Tell that to Samuel Bayer who tanked with the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot and never made another feature movie again. So no, this myth that men get a free pass to fail time and again in Hollywood just because they are male is a lie.

Now, with regards to Karyn Kusama’s tanked Aeon Flux project and the long shadow this epic #FAIL cast over the rest of her career, the author of this article ridiculously claims that “Zack Snyder went from making Legend of the Guardians ($140,073,390) and Sucker Punch ($89,792,502) to making Man of Steel ($668,045,518)”. Actually, Zack Snyder went from making 300 ($456,068,181) and Watchmen ($185,258,983), two successful comic book based movies, to making Man of Steel ($668,045,518). Even Zack Snyder’s most #failed project, Sucker Punch, made more money than any movie Kusama has ever made. The author of the article then goes on to write: “After David Fincher bombed with Alien 3, he made Seven.”… but Alien 3 didn’t bomb. Alien 3 made $159,814,498 with a 55 million dollar budget. Since when is making 3 times your budget considered a bomb? Not too bad for Fincher’s first feature movie. Something tells me the author of this article is just blindly repeating bullshit examples that Kusama fed him during the interview without fact-checking whether any of these claims are true. Serenity didn’t bomb, it was a close call, as was Zathura. The Frighteners wasn’t Peter Jackson’s first big movie, that was King Kong, and he had already made Heavenly Creatures before that, and the fact is that The Frighteners managed to earn back its money. Literally the only example in this list that bombed hard the way Kusama’s Aeon Flux did was Apt Pupil. How dare she compare herself to male filmmakers who did way better on their projects than she did on hers.

Now let’s look at what actually happened with the Aeon Flux #FAIL. Kusama, then a 30something newbie with no sci-fic experience, seemingly out of the blue was given a XL-sized million dollar film despite having no prior experience whatsoever with a multi-million project or with a project involving a super-hero character associated with an existing media product. Why give such a huge project to a newbie like her and not another more experienced filmmaker? Am I the only one who sees the gaping hole in this story? Something tells me that the studio went shopping around for a director and all the others they had approached (probably all men and more experienced filmmakers) had turned Aeon Flux down. Why would these other filmmakers turn it down? Because the screenplay was lousy. Peter Chung, the maker of the Aeon Flux cartoon, has stated that he had a bad feeling about the movie after reading the screenplay. Everyone who is serious about filmmaking knows that you can’t make a good movie out of a lousy screenplay, period. Kusama can complain all she wants about the studio cutting 30 minutes out of her movie, but something tells me everyone but Kusama, the self-declared smartest girl in the room, had already recognized that Aeon Flux was a kiss-of-death project. Gee, maybe the self-declared smartest girl should’ve taken a hint from all these male filmmakers instead of seeing dollars&stars? If I was a newbie filmmaker and I was handed a huge-ass sci-fi project that everyone around me was turning down, all my alarm-bells would be going off.

And to add insult to injury, Kusama ends up falling in love with one of the two MALE screenwriters who wrote the lousy Aeon Flux screenplay that Peter Chung said was bad news from the moment he first read it and made him feel “humiliated” when he saw the end result on screen. Quoting from an IMDB review of Aeon Flux: “The only possible conclusion is that the real writer for this movie was a high school kid, and that he wrote it the day before it was due to the studio execs, and he’s never seen an entire Aeon Flux all the way through. The overwhelming amount of inconsistency with the cartoon is baffling.”. Everyone who has ever been to LA knows that losers of a tailfeather in the Los Angeles indie film industry tend to flock together.

So no, I’m totally not buying this “Hollywood’s sexism crushed this visionary female filmmaker” narrative. Don’t go around blaming sexism when you are too arrogant to admit you foolishly took on a project that everyone else (with a dick?) wisely foresaw was a kiss-of-death project because of the screenplay.

What is the moral of this Karyn Kusawa Aeon Flux #FAIL story, boys and girls?

1) You can’t make a good movie out of a bad screenplay. PERIOD. When the screenplay stinks, just say no. Don’t marry the screenwriter.

2) Avoid anyone who claims they have a right to waste investors’ money because “I am an artiste and I have a right to fail, it’s called being an artist“. No, that’s actually called being irresponsible with investor’s moneys. A big commercial movie with a multi-million dollar budget is a profit-making business venture. Not art. You can make art and fail hard on your own dime.

3) Avoid anyone who claims they are the smartest boy/girl in the room like Karyn Kusama does in the above interview. Always be humble and remember you can learn from people who will never know as much as you. Being arrogant and self-important in the aftermath of failure is not feminism or assertiveness. It’s called being delusional.

4) Yes, there is sexism in Hollywood, but that has as much to do with the audiences as it does with those who hold the purse-strings. Read this list of TV shows that failed in 2014-2015, and you will see that several of these failed shows were trying to be a form of diversity programming. The undeniable fact is that diversity-projects tend to flop despite the best of intentions because of audiences themselves not wanting to change their viewing-habits. It’s OK to admit this. All it means audiences have to become more progressive along with Hollywood.

5) If you are a filmmaking newbie and aspirant and one day Hollywood approaches you of the blue, inviting you to helm a huge sci-fi project that all the older and more experienced male filmmakers they had approached before you have already turned down… wipe the stars and the green from your eyes and just say no. Learn to recognize a kiss-of-death project. (see #1)

6) NO, male filmmakers do NOT get a free pass to fail over and over again and waste investors’ money just because they are men. That is a myth.

7) Weaponized Femininity is not feminism

I basically refuse to use the term “Greek weird cinema”. The term “Greek weird cinema” is used only by ignorant American indie filmmakers in Austin, Texas with a Richard Linklater connection who have only seen Dogtooth and Attenberg and have basically never seen another Greek movie in their lives. What these ignorant Americans refer to as “Greek weird cinema” is just a subset of movies that emerged out of the Athenian Filmmakers in the Fog movement from seven years ago. Consequently, I myself refer to these contemporary Greek movies by Athenians as FOG movies, and I call the filmmakers themselves a bunch Foggers. I will describe a Greek movie as “foggy” when it has that typically sexist, misogynist, austere, aloof, autistic and nonchalant look that I consider to be typical of those young Athenian filmmakers involved with FOG. Lathimos is FOG. Athena Rachel Tsangari is FOG. Alexander is FOG. Miss Violence is FOG. The Boy Eats The Bird’s Food is FOG. Wasted Youth is FOG. Tungsten looks like FOG but is actually more of a traditional Greek narrative movie, which can only mean one thing: even Greek filmmakers who are making traditional narrative films have been infected by the FOG bug, making it harder for ignorant Americans and other ignoramuses outside of Greece to determine whether they are watching a FOG movie or a regular Greek movie. Generally as a rule of thumb, if Europeans and Americans like it and Greeks hate it’s a FOG movie. If Americans and Europeans think they get it and Greeks are wondering what the hell they just saw, it’s FOG. The Lobster is an example of a Greek filmmaker making a FOG movie with Americans in English (and Americans assuming that a Greek movie with Americans must be a comedy and ridiculously marketing the movie as such), but it’s still technically FOG because it still has that stark aloof foggy look (which is why that American trailer is so ridiculous   compared to the way the movie has already been marketed in Europe). Just as g-rap doesn’t stop being g-rap when it’s in another language, likewise FOG doesn’t stop being foggy just because the actors speak English. When Americans buy a Lanthimos film, they are buying a a film with specific arthouse look that appeals to American film nerds. That look that Americans want to buy is the FOG look.

Filmmakers in the Fog retrospective – how do FOGgers talk about the FOG initiative 7 years after the fact? In this Al Jazeera article FOG is basically nothing more than a publicity stunt that helped launch the international careers of a bunch of Foggers, while doing absolutely nothing to change things for domestic Greek filmmakers:

That defiance came to a head in 2009, when dozens of actors, directors and producers boycotted the 50th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, the country’s longest-running and most prestigious festival. Calling themselves “Filmmakers in the Mist” — a riff on the endangered apes of “Gorillas in the Mist” — the group lashed out at the government’s slow-moving efforts to overhaul film legislation. They urged officials to introduce financial incentives for local producers, enforce a legal mandate stipulating that TV stations invest 1.5 percent of their annual net revenue in new film productions, and end the political meddling that was hampering industry growth.

A year after Lanthimos’ Oscar nomination for “Dogtooth,” four Greek films appeared at the Venice International Film Festival, including Tzoumerkas’ feature debut, “Homeland,” and Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Attenberg,” which mimed a naturalist documentary style to explore the awkward coming-of-age of its 23-year-old heroine. Two years later, Alexandros Arvanas won Venice’s prestigious Silver Lion for “Miss Violence,” a dark tale of abuse and denial set in a claustrophobic Athens apartment. Today, from Rotterdam to Berlin to Cannes, Greek directors regularly appear at the most prestigious festivals in the world.


Whereas FOG is misrepresented as a Greek youth movement of sorts concerning young film school graduates at the start of their film careers, many Foggers were actually mature filmmakers of age. Here is what one of the older Foggers had to say about his FOG experience: “We went sailing in a boat with torn sails.”


Η ιστορία με τους Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη που βρίσκεται; Έχει προχωρήσει;

Η Ομίχλη έχει παγώσει με το βήμα μετέωρο από τη στιγμή που έγινε το καινούργιο νομοσχέδιο. Το μεγάλο θέμα όταν ξεκινήσαμε ήταν να καταργηθεί ο προηγούμενος νόμος, να αλλάξουνε οι όροι χρηματοδότησης, να περάσει το tax shelter. Λίγο-πολύ γίναν αυτά. Κάποια γίναν και με πολύ καλά αποτελέσματα. Και μετά ενέσκηψε η κρίση όπου όλα αυτά κατέληξαν ένα κομμάτι χαρτί. Γιατί άνθρωποι δεν υπάρχουν να εκμεταλλευτούνε τις φορολογικές διευκολύνσεις και να επενδύσουνε στην ταινία σου όπως προβλέπει ο νόμος, το Κέντρο Κινηματογράφου έχει λαμβάνειν επιστροφές φόρου 4,5 εκατομμυρίων από το ΦΠΑ, έχει να πάρει και τις τακτικές του επιχορηγήσεις (που δεν τις παίρνει). Είμαστε όλοι σε μια βάρκα με σχισμένα πανιά. Φτιάξαμε τη βάρκα αλλά ξαφνικά χάλασε τόσο πολύ ο καιρός που γίνανε όλα μαντάρα.


The following assessment of FOG is even more disillusioned and damning: “FOG dissolved into the fog, the name was thus not entirely coincidental.”


Πριν από 7 χρόνια δημιουργήθηκε μία ένωση δημιουργών, οι κινηματογραφιστές στην ομίχλη. Τελικά απέδωσε, βοήθησε εκείνη η κίνηση; Ποια πιστεύεις ότι ήταν τα αρνητικά και τα θετικά της;

Πριν από 7 χρόνια ένας υπουργός πολιτισμού από το παράθυρο, θέλοντας να ‘ναι αρεστός εφ’ όσον προετοιμαζόταν για αρχηγός, είχε συμφωνήσει με τα σωματεία να περάσει ένα νόμο, όπως εκείνα θα επεξεργάζονταν, γιατί ο νόμος Γαβρά «έμπαζε από παντού».

Τελείωνε αυτή η διαδικασία και ο Σαμαράς θα τον περνούσε, όπως έλεγε – γιατί δεν πρέπει ποτέ να δίνεις σοβαρή βάση στα λεγόμενα των πολιτικών, που κατά κανόνα εννοούν ακριβώς το αντίθετο απ ο,τι λένε – στο θερινό τμήμα της Βουλής όταν, αίφνης, σκάει ένας πανικός που ονομάζεται «ομίχλη» και απαιτεί να ισχύσει επί τόπου ο νόμος Γαβρά, που απαιτούσε, ας πούμε ένα απλό, για να εισαχθείς στη σχολή κινηματογράφου (Ακαδημία την ονόμαζε) να έχεις κάνει ταινία μικρού μήκους σε συμπαραγωγή με το Κέντρο!

Είμαι βέβαιος ότι ο καθ’ όλα σεβαστός κύριος Γαβράς, δεν είχε διαβάσει που έβαζε την υπογραφή του. Και αντί να αξιώσει ο χώρος αυτά που τον καίνε, φρόντισε με αυτή την κίνηση, που προβλήθηκε αρκούντως από τα μέσα, να εγκαθιδρυθεί η διχόνοια. Το απλούστερο των έργων της: Πριν την ομίχλη, υπήρχαν Κρατικά Βραβεία Κινηματογράφου – ένα σημαντικό στήριγμα να αντιμετωπίσεις τα χρέη που άφησε η ολοκλήρωση της ταινίας.

Με αφορμή την Ομίχλη, ο νέος υπουργός φρόντισε στα πλαίσια των περικοπών που έπρεπε να παρουσιάσει το υπουργείο του, να συμπεριλάβει τα Κρατικά Βραβεία, τα οποία ουδέποτε δόθηκαν ξανά, χωρίς καμία εξήγηση.

Ο Κινηματογράφος απουσιάζει από τα «εκλεκτά» του κράτους έκτοτε. Έχουμε βραβεία Θεάτρου, Λογοτεχνίας, Μουσικής, ο Κινηματογράφος έλαχε να βοηθήσει το οικονομικό σουλούπωμα της ασχετοσύνης ενος υπουργού, για την ακρίβεια, επιστέγασμα των υπουργών που διαχρονικά επωμίζονταν το πάρεργο του πολιτισμού.

Το όνομα αυτού του υπουργού θα ‘χε ήδη ξεχασθεί, αν δεν υπήρχε ο πάππους του. Το φτωχό του έργο στο υπουργείο, τα δυο χρόνια που ‘παιξε, σαν παιδάκι κι αυτός, συνοψίζεται στην κατάργηση των Κρατικών Βραβείων και τον περιορισμό της κρατικής μέριμνας για τον κινηματογράφο, στην παρέα του κέντρου οριστικά. Εύγε του. Επί τη ευκαιρία, πως είπαμε ότι τον έλεγαν αυτόν τον υπουργό;

Έκτοτε, για να επανέλθουμε, η ομίχλη δεν έδωσε σημεία ζωής. Ενταφίασε και χάθηκε στην ομίχλη, δεν ήταν καθόλου τυχαία διαλεγμένη η ονομασία τους.

And this is an example of critical piece about FOG from when it was still active that rings even more true today (as for the Academy mentioned later in the article that essentially has replaced the Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, I have already written about the Academy here):

πολλά έγιναν στον κινηματογραφικό χώρο. Το κυριότερο είναι πως έσκασε μύτη το νεοπαγές μόρφωμα των «Κινηματογραφιστών στην Ομίχλη».

Πριν συνεχίσω, θα ’θελα να διευκρινίσω πως οι όποιες σκέψεις κι επισημάνσεις που ακολουθούν δεν έχουν καθόλου να κάνουν με το καλλιτεχνικό έργο όσων προσδιορίζονται ως «Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη», αλλά με τη δράση τους.

Υπενθυμίζω σύντομα: Λίγες μέρες πριν το περυσινό Φεστιβάλ, μια ομάδα σκηνοθετών αρνήθηκε να υποβάλει τις ταινίες για βράβευση στα ετήσια Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, θεωρώντας τα άκρως διαβλητά. Η άρνηση αυτή πήρε γρήγορα μεγάλες διαστάσεις και σε λίγες μέρες άλλαξε στόχευση. Δεν ήταν πια το «διαβλητό» της επιτροπής που ενοχλούσε, αλλά το ότι δεν είχε ψηφιστεί ακόμη ο νέος νόμος για τον κινηματογράφο. Το ότι η κυβέρνηση ήταν πολύ πρόσφατη και ο Υπουργός Πολιτισμού δεν προλάβαινε εκ των πραγμάτων να ’χει μελετήσει τα δύο προσχέδια που υπήρχαν στο συρτάρι του προκατόχου του δεν απασχόλησε καθόλου αυτούς τους σκηνοθέτες. Έτσι, με το «καλημέρα σας», οι νεόκοποι τότε «Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη» πέτυχαν ν’ αποδυναμώσουν το 50ό Φεστιβάλ –και κυρίως το Πανόραμα Ελληνικών Ταινιών– και να στείλουν στις ελληνικές καλένδες τα Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, που κάθε χρόνο έδιναν μιαν ανάσα σε τόσους ηθοποιούς και τεχνικούς. Ανάσα καλλιτεχνικής επιβράβευσης αλλά και οικονομικής στήριξης. Το ότι για όλα τούτα –και πολλά άλλα– το νέο αυτό ρεύμα δεν παρασκοτίστηκε, πολλοί το χρέωσαν στην ορμητικότητα του καινούριου. Την εκκωφαντική όμως σιωπή του Υπουργείου και του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Κινηματογράφου δεν νοιάστηκε κανείς, τότε, να την ερμηνεύσει.

Παρ’ όλ’ αυτά, οι «Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη» γιγαντώθηκαν μ’ εντυπωσιακό ρυθμό. Γι’ αυτόν το λόγο, ό,τι πέρυσι θα μπορούσε να θεωρηθεί «νεανικό» παράπτωμα, φέτο δεν μπορεί ν’ αντιμετωπιστεί ελαφρά τη καρδία. Οι ενστάσεις μου πολλές. Κατ’ αρχήν για την επίθεση σε κάθε μορφή συνδικαλιστικής εκπροσώπησης. Έφτασε πέρυσι να ζητάει γνωστή σκηνοθέτρια απ’ τον Υπουργό να τους δεχτεί όχι σαν ομάδα ούτε ως συνδικαλιστές, αλλά ως ανθρώπους. Μπορεί βέβαια η Εταιρεία Ελλήνων Σκηνοθετών να μην είναι πια του γούστου τους. Οι σκηνοθέτες όμως την έφτιαξαν, αυτοί ας την αλλάξουν. Έτσι ορμητικοί και πολυπληθείς που είναι, με μια μαζική τους συμμετοχή στη γενική συνέλευση μπορούν να σαρώσουν όλο το «κατεστημένο». Πώς λοιπόν να μην κάνουμε και δεύτερες σκέψεις; Πώς να μη συνδέσω αυτή τη στάση με την κυρίαρχη σήμερα απαξίωση των συλλογικών εκπροσωπήσεων μέχρι την κατάργηση των συλλογικών συμβάσεων εργασίας; Δεν είναι λίγο περίεργο που «πρωτοπορεί» η κινηματογραφική πρωτοπορία σ’ όλα τα «πρωτοποριακά» μέτρα του ΔΝΤ και της «σοσιαλιστικής» μας κυβέρνησης; Πώς να μη σκεφτώ πως η περυσινή παράλειψη του Υπουργείου να απονείμει τα Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, μιας κι οι περισσότεροι δε θα τα ’παιρναν, ήταν το πρώτο πάτημα για να καταργηθούν πλήρως στον καινούριο νόμο;


Here is Alexander complaining about his FOG friend Yorgos Lanthimos bugging out of Greece in search of greener pastures in Hollywood (yeah, OK, so he didn’t actually move to Hollywood, SFW, everyone knows the reason he stayed in London is to make that film about Queen Anne):

Ένα από τα κινηματογραφικά εγκλήματα της κρίσης στην Ελλάδα είναι ότι η πολιτεία (συμπεριλαμβάνονται εδώ το κράτος, το κοινό και ο ίδιος ο κινηματογραφικός κόσμος) δεν κατάφεραν να κρατήσουν τον Λάνθιμο εδώ. Αντιθέτως σχεδόν τον έδιωξαν με αλλεπάλληλα δημοσιεύματα περί σεναριακών κλοπιμαίων, αρνητικές θεατρικές κριτικές που βγάζαν μάτι σκατοψυχίας, έλλειψη βασικής χρηματοδότησης και συνεχές παράπονο περί αρρωστημένης τέχνης που δεν έχει σχέση με την Ελλάδα και που δεν είναι έτσι η Ελλάδα λες και η Ισπανία ήταν όπως τη δείχνει ο Ανδαλουσιανός Σκύλος ή η Γαλλία ήταν όπως τη δείχνει το Με κομμένη την Ανάσα. Ο Λάνθιμος λοιπόν έφυγε και τον χάσαμε και ακολουθούν και άλλοι κατα πως φαίνεται.

I will also posit that Alexander has projected his relationship with Lanthimos into the Weird American Cinema (ha!) 1991 movie The Dark Backward, while failing to disclose the fact that The Dark Backward borrows heavily from a 1989 British Weird Cinema (haha!) movie How To Get Ahead in Advertising (recall here that Lanthimos started out in advertising before be became an indie filmmaker!) but that’s another blog entry. In answer to Alexander’s above comments about Greeks supposedly chasing Lanthimos out of Greece (Alexander dramatically makes them sound like a crazed lynch mob, when nothing of the sort ever happened; Greeks basically avoided FOG movies including those of Lanthimos because these were just too aloof and austere to appeal to Greek tastes), I will quote from the following blog entry, which perfectly explains everything that is wrong with FOG movies from a Greek perspective:

Αναρωτιέμαι γιατί οι σκηνοθέτες μας να μήν μπορούν να περιγράψουν τη σημερινή Ελλάδα; Πού πάνε και τα βρίσκουν αυτά τα τραβηγμένα από τα μαλλιά σενάρια; Κι όμως πολλοί παλαιότεροι  έλληνες σκηνοθέτες περιέγραψαν σωστά την Ελλάδα της εποχής τους,  όπως π.χ. ο Μιχάλης Κακογιάννης με τις ταινίες του Το κυριακάτικο ξύπνημα (1954), Η Στέλλα (1955), Το κορίτσι με τα μαύρα (1956) η Το τελευταίο  ψέμα (1958)   και  ο Κώστας Μανουσάκης με την ταινία του Ο φόβος (1966). Ωστόσο ακόμα και κάποιοι ξένοι το κατάφεραν, όπως π.χ. ο Ζυλ Ντασέν με τις ταινίες του Φαίδρα (1962) και Κραυγή γυναικών (1978)  ή ο Τζόναθαν Νόσιτερ με την ταινία του Σημεία και θαύματα (2000). Πώς να συμβεί αυτό με τούς ημεδαπούς σκηνοθέτες όταν δεν βρίσκουν καν ελληνικούς τίτλους για τα έργα τους. Without λεγόταν η πρώτη  ταινία του Αλ. Αβρανά, που έλαβε μάλιστα το κρατικό βραβείο στο Φεστιβάλ Κινηματογράφου, και Miss Violence η δεύτερη.   Attenberg  ήταν ο τίτλος μιας ταινίας της Αθ. Τσαγγάρη, To the Wolf η ταινία των Α. Huges-Χρ. Κουτσοσπύρου, September η ταινία  της Πέννυς  Παναγιωτοπούλου –φαίνεται πως ο τίτλος Σεπτέμβρης τής πέφτει μπανάλ- Luton  η ταινία του Μιχάλη Κωνσταντίνου και Wild Duck η ταινία του Γιάννη  Σακαρίδη. Τέτοια ξενομανία έχει καταλάβει πιά τους κινηματογραφιστές μας; Αναρωτιέμαι πώς μπορούν οι γιαγιάδες τους να διαβάζουν τους ξενόγλωσσους αυτούς τίτλους.  Πώς να μην αποφεύγει τα έργα τους το ελληνικό κοινό, όταν κι εκείνοι δεν το σέβονται;


All that remains in the end is just a Youtube channel with a bunch of trailers:

See also:



I was debating someone who lectured me that “Lanthimos isn’t a commercial filmmaker”… yeah, that’s why his next film is gonna be a British court costume drama with Kate Winslet… or was it Rachel Weisz? 😉 Greeks are seriously out of the loop in my experience. They think art house films aren’t commercial films, which is ridiculous because according to the latest No Filmschool podcast on the topic of American indie film distribution, the Yankee indie film industry is doing better than ever before,  with 90% of filmmakers at SXSW having a distribution deal as opposed to only 30% from just 5 years ago. It should be abundantly obvious that Lanthimos has always been oriented towards a commercial film career and that he wants to make big expensive films with famous actresses and elbatorate costumes, and iconic castle-sized locations and all that royal classist elitist feudalist bullshit. Lanthimos, he clearly wants to make the next Elizabeth. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is called a commercial filmmaker because costume dramas are expensive films, not the cheapass Dogma 1995-esque chamber pieces that Lanthimos became famous with. Those were bourne out of desperate necessity. Now that Lanthimos has tasted success and is allowed to dream freely, his dreams plainly show what his private fascinations are made of: the courtly megalomania and royal melodrama of princes and princesses. That’s who your beloved “radical” indie filmmaker really is in heart of hearts, boys and girls in filmschool: een hermelijn-aanbidder*.


Queen Anne posing with an ermine edged royal cape.

* Pejorative term used to describe the Dutch royalists by Dutch republicans who, inspired by the 1775 American Revolutionary War of Independence against the British, wanted to abolish the Dutch royalty. This term is still used to this day to describe people who have a fetishistic fascination with the Dutch royal house. Ermine fur is the type of fur used to decorate royal capes and robes — but you never hear a squeak from vegans and animal rights vegans about royalties having massive amounts of ermines culled just for them to wear such silly things, geez, I wonder why that is. By describing the royalists as “worshippers of the ermine”, the Dutch republicans alluded to the fact that the royalists were expressing and demanding loyalty to an indifferent court whose members were only using the royalists for the sake of promoting the court’s populist appeal, and would eventually skin them alive and use them up like ermines on a fur collar once they were done with them. There is a Dutch connection to the film that Lanthimos is going to shoot too because Anne’s Dutch Protestant brother-in-law and cousin was William the 3rd, Prince of Orange. “King Billy” is the man who implemented and cemented the concept of divide-and-conquer in British politics by creating a two-party Parliament with Whigs and Tories bickering amongst themselves to protect his own Protestant oikogeniocracy from being abolished by Catholics. It is important here to recall that in Western Europe Catholicism was mainly the religion of the poor masses, whereas the new Xian branch of Protestantism was the religion of the propertied middle class. Anne was Anglican, an English branch of Protestantism and was politically a Torie.  However, the character of “King Billy” would explain why the Dutch Film Fund has developed such an other inexplainable interest in Lanthimos, a Greek filmmaker with no Dutch connection whatsoever. The alleged lesbian relationship between Queen Anne and Baroness Abigail would also greatly arouse Dutch sentiments; why else would the Dutch take an interest in a movie about a British royal woman who even on Wikipedia is described as “very ignorant, very fearful, with very little judgement, it is easy to be seen she might mean well, being surrounded with so many artful people, who at last compassed their designs to her dishonour”, and as “fat, constantly pregnant, under the influence of favourites, and lacking political astuteness”? There is literally no reason for the Dutch to take an interest in such a costume drama of a biopic other than the fact that a powerful Dutch royal was involved in this woman’s autobiography, as well as the prospect of hot lesbian scenes between Olivia Colman and Emma Stone. Who wouldn’t pay to watch ignorant women get fucked and give birth to dead children 17 times for the duration of a two hour movie? I am expressing myself in such pedestrial terms only to stress and underline how fundamentally unpalatable this usage of women as “the original 3D printers” of heirs by the royal houses of Western Europe must appear to the contemporary democratic republican cinephile for whom such a usage of womankind is surely repugnant. This paradoxical combination of disgust and fascination no doubt explains the sheer popularity of costume dramas about the lives of royalty. Who doesn’t want to witness the cinematic spectacle a female royal member in the 18th century semper eadem giving birth to yet another corpse of a stillborn like semper eadem a fattened cow at a barn? If this movie ever comes out, feminist film criticsm will be all over it. As for this scene from the Queen Anne biography:

“On Maundy Thursday 6 April 1710, Anne and Sarah saw each other for the last time. According to Sarah, the Queen was taciturn and formal, repeating the same phrases—”Whatever you have to say you may put in writing” and “You said you desired no answer, and I shall give you none”—over and over”,_Queen_of_Great_Britain

Something tells me that Lanthimos might even fancy himself a Martin Scorsese and might even be planning to appropriate the famous scene from Age of Innocence! Basically, take the following scene, replace Valmont with Queen Anne, replace every utterance of “It’s beyond my control” with “Whatever you have to say you may put in writing”, and you basically have yourself a wonderful pitch for The Favourite! 😀

BTW, can John Malkovich do a Dutch accent for King Bill or he still too pricy and beyond Lanthimos’ budget? 😀


Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s The Scarapist

trailer analysis and debunking of Berlinale award claims
by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou
(cc) 2016 creative commons (attribution only, spread far and wide!)

Part 1: How to spot an American indie film poseur claiming false laurels or awards on the internet

Berlinale responds to false award claims by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza of The Scarapist

Berlinale responds over e-mail to false award claims by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, confirms her film The Scarapist was never awarded at their film festival

The American Indie Film Industry’s Punks – how indie film wannabes in America try to deceive the general film viewing public as well as potential future investors and sponsors by falsely claiming non-existing awards for their films, thus inflating the artistic and commercial merits of their films.

Alright boys and girls in film school, today I am going to show you what an American film industry poseur and wannabe looks like and how they operate to deceive the public and investors. I am sharing this information to help you determine whether someone in the film industry is trustworthy. I have seen many people get ripped off in the American indie film industry, and want to prevent that from happening to any of you. Here’s what to watch out for.

One of the way that desperate wannabes and poseurs try to sell their ass in the cut-throat American film industry is by claiming fake laurels. Basically, by claiming fake awards they have never received from organizations that don’t even exist. Laurels are those little laurel-branches that you oftentimes see printed on the packaging of DVDs, Blurays or film posters. These laurels either represent the festivals the film was screened at, or the awards the film has received. You’d be shocked to discover how many industry poseurs are claiming fake laurels for their films and are able to get away with it because of a lack of fact-checking. Using the popular and actually awarded American movie of The Revenant I will first show you what real, genuine laurels look like on Facebook:

As you can see, real laurels are indistinguishable from fake laurels. Anyone could Photoshop themselves a pair of fake laurels, put them in their trailer or on their online film-banner on Facebook or Twitter and claim themselves to be an award winner. Laurels on the internet are no indication of a real award. This is why you must fact-check any award  claims you see online! We know that The Revenant’s laurels are real because we saw actor Leonardo diCaprio receiving an Oscar on mainstream TV and other reputable media. We can also fact-check this using the Oscars’ official website where they post a list of the winners:

Now that you’ve learned how to fact-check real and genuine laurels, I will show you what it looks like when an indie film industry poseur and wannabe claims fake laurels to inflate interest for their film in an effort to deceive the film viewing public and potentional future investors and sponsors about their artistic and commercial merit.

An American indie thriller film called _The Scarapist_ by the female American filmmaker Jeanne Marie Spicuzza recently posted messages in the social media claiming to have been awarded at the Berlinale Film Festival, the biggest film festival in Europe after Cannes. Many of the documentary films that ended up being screened at the festival I was volunteering at as a post-grad were first screened at Berlinale. Berlinale is basically the tastemaker for all the other film festivals around Europe.

“The Scarapist”, released in the US in 2015 (or 2013, or even in 2012, depending on which source you believe), claims to have won a “Best Feature” award by the so-called “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” at the recent Berlinale.
Here is the tweet in question:

The Scarapist won best feature at @berlinale EFM from the Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher! Source: Twitter link

And here is the Facebook post on the makers’s wall making the same claim:

The Scarapist won best feature at Berlinale European Film Market from the Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher, also known as the Association of German Critics and Filmmakers! Source: Facebook link

Knowing a thing or two about European film festivals – having myself volunteered at a big documentary film festival for years in Amsterdam and also seen a lot of the films that end up being shown at festivals – I instantly smelled a huge rat, so I researched these claims. You’ll be surprised, boys and girls, that most people in the American indie film industry do not do this, they do not bother to fact-check award claims made by filmmakers eventhough it’s now easier than ever to do so thanks to the internet. Indie poseurs rely on this lack of fact-checking to get away with their claiming fake laurels. If you seriously want to work on indie films, pay attention to your intuition when your gut tells you that something isn’t right about a filmmaker claiming awards for their films and be suspicious when people tell you not to question things.

Here is what came out of my research:

I couldn’t find any information online about an alleged “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” being active in Germany or at the Berlinale specifically. This alleged organization does not appear to exist at all.

The only organization I was able to find through Google is a “Verband” of German film critics called “Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik”. Obviously a “Verband” is not the same thing as a “Verein” in German. I contacted them and they themselves told me that their “Verband” has nothing to do with this alleged “Verein”. This is the official website Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik: There isn’t a single announcement on their website of them awarding films at the Berlinale or of them awarding The Scarapist.

I also sent an e-mail to the Berlinale European Film Market asking them whether The Scarapist had received any awards at their festival. I would strongly recommend contacting the festival itself if you are wondering whether a filmmaker is being truthful about their film receiving awards. Festivals have a very good grasp on such things and keep close track of which films are awarded at each edition. Here is the e-mail message to the Berlinale EFM.

I am writing to you with the following question regarding a claim I came across today in the social media.

An American independent horror film by the name of “The Scarapist”, released in the US in 2015, claims to have won a “Best Feature” award by the so-called “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” at the recent Berlinale.

Here is the tweet in question:

And here is the Facebook post on the makers’ wall making the same claim:

I cannot find any information online about an alleged “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” being active in Germany. Does this alleged organization exist? Were they invited to the EFM at the Berlinale?

The only organization I was able to find through Google is “Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik”.

I cannot find any mention of such an award or of this film being awarded at the Berlinale on the website for the
“Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik”:

Furthermore, there appears to be no such
award from any German critics association mentioned anywhere on the Berlinale website:

Could you please explain whether the above tweet and Facebook post are true?

Does this alleged organization “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” even exist?

Is this alleged organization associated with the Berlinale and the EFM?

Did they really award the film “The Scarapist” for Best Feature at the Berlinale?

Please let me know because there are a lot of frauds claiming fake awards in the industry lately.


drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou


The Berlinale EFM, predictably, responded in the negative: they wrote to me that The Scarapist has never received any awards at their festival, and that they have never heard of this alleged “Verein” before.

Part 2: The proliferation of false awards claims on the internet by indie film industry poseurs for the sake of promoting their films – the use of aggregator websites and Search Engine Optimization services to spread false claims far and wide on the internet with no oversight.

Aggregator websites are used by companies that offer so-called Search Engine Optimization or SEO services. If you are unfamiliar with the wacky world of Search Engine Optimization and how they are used to manipulate search engine hits, please read this Wikipedia article:

What these companies basically do is they run a whole bunch of fake websites appearing to the casual viewer like regular press release websites, and proceed to post the same PR message on all these sites that they themselves run simultaneously. Because the message ends up on so many websites at the same time, Google’s web-crawling spider-bots pick up the same PR message over and over again on different websites and thus the PR message ends up at the top of the list of hits when you do a Google Search for a specific term. Because there is no oversight whatsoever, Search Engine Optimization services are a great way for liars to propagate lies far and wide on the internet with virtually no impediment. Google already knows about SEO websites manipulating its web-crawlers in this manner,  but Google doesn’t care to block them from doing so. In fact, as you will see in the list of aggregator sites I have assembled below, Google happily participates in the perpetration of deceitful PR messages through SEO by hosting these deceitful PR messages on their own website.
You can generally recognize an aggregator website because they will include a disclaimer at the top of their site with the following text or something to this effect: “Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.”. This disclaimer is just a legal trick for aggregator websites to absolve themselves of defamation lawsuits for being used by liars to spread all kinds of bullshit on the internet. However, some aggregator websites are so deceptive and reckless that they do not even bother to include any disclaimer at all at the top of their pages, and only upon close scrutiny does it become apparent that one is dealing with a press-release aggregator and not a regular website with real content. Such disclaimer-free aggregator websites are amongst the most rogue and feral websites on the internet.

I have assembled what I believe to be the full list of aggregator websites used by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza to spread the false claim that her film The Scarapist received an award “at Berlinale International Film Festival and European Film Market”. The language used in the original press release, which was then copied onto all the other aggregator websites, is clearly meant to be misleading and to suggest that The Scarapist received a Berlinale award. Also, notice how many of these aggregator websites listed below have the word “fox” in their domain name. The use of the word “fox” in the domain name is meant to falsely suggest that these are Fox News websites or somehow Fox News affiliated websites when they are not.

1) This is the original PR message that started the ball rolling and was copied ad verbatim by all the other aggregator websites in this list:

“The Scarapist”™ wins best picture at Berlinale
“The Scarapist”™ has been awarded best picture by the Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher at Berlinale International Film Festival and European Film Market.

Indie thriller “The Scarapist”™ from Seasons & a Muse Productions won the award for best picture from Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher (VDKUF) at the 2016 Berlinale International Film Festival and European Film Market (EFM). Based on a true story of therapist abuse, “The Scarapist”™ stars Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, Katy Colloton and R. Michael Gull, and is directed by screenwriter Spicuzza and Synthian Sharp.

“The Scarapist”™ screened at EFM on February 12, following its limited release in Landmark Theatres. The VDKUF, an association comprised of German critics and filmmakers, held its awards ceremony on February 17.

In addition to the VDKUF Award presented to “The Scarapist,”™ River Road Entertainment’s production “Seline,” which also screened at EFM, was awarded best short film. Director Luciano Silighini Garagnani and actresses Flavia Monteleone, Sara Menassi and Sofia Bergamo were in attendance.

2) Press release distributed by PRLog

3) Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

4) Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

5) idem

6) idem

7) Information contained on this page is provided by an independent third-party content provider. WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith. If you have any questions or comments about this page please contact


9) Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

10) idem

11) idem




15) <–  as you can see, even Google is all too happy to allow its search engine to be used to spead questionable if not outright false or misleading PR messages. That same deceitful PR message that the aggregator websites mirrored ended up being mirrored on itself.

Part 3: Online claims that The Scarapist was directed in 2009 by Julie Dash of _Daughters of the Dust_ fame  

According to several webpages I have found with Google (for example, here, here and here), _The Scarapist_ was directed in 2009 by African-American film director Julie Dash, the respected director of the 1991 film _Daughters of the Dust_ which I have seen myself. This claim however does not appear on the IMDB page for The Scarapist or Julie Dash’s own IMDB page. Did Julie Dash direct The Scarapist, or is this another falsehood about the film being spread on the internet using aggregator sites? If anyone knows please let me know. Why are there all these pages claiming that Julie Dash was the director? Where did these pages/claims come from?

Part 4: Close-reading analysis of the film-trailer for _The Scarapist_. Does this even look like a film deserving of an award for “Best Feature” at Berlinale?
This blog article is about ethics in film promotion. But what kind of film artist  makes false award claims to promote their film? Did Zack Snyder, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan or Stanley Kubrick make false awards claims when they were starting out to help their films along?

Of course not. Really talented people don’t need false awards claims to have a film career. Whoever is making false awards claims, chances are they are just an amateur or an industry-hack and the film viewing public might  actually be right for ignoring their film. If you want to be awarded for your films, why don’t you try making better films for starters? Instead of spending money on aggregator websites to spread lies about your film across the internet, why not use that money to get some professionals onboard and make a more professional looking film? Let’s have a close look now at the online trailer for _The Scarapist_  and assess this film trailer for professionalism, workmanship and characterization.

I had a look at _The Scarapist_ film trailer and to me as a casual viewer of feature films (I’ll admit I am unimpressed by most feature films I watch, and would much rather be watching a documentary) this looks like sloppily colour-corrected Youtube B-movie. It doesn’t look like a film I would personally pay to see at an arthouse cinema. I would only watch it for free on Vimeo or Youtube. Also, whoever colour-corrected this film clearly doesn’t know how to white-balance because the scarapist character’s face looks pink/purple in some of the scenes. The crew behind this film also doesn’t seem to know how to properly light a scene/face for a facial close-up. I mean seriously, why all these eyelash shadows blocking and distracting from her eyes? If this character is a hypnotist her eyes should be the whole focus. There is a huge difference between not being able to properly light your film and claiming your film to be “noir” because of random shadows. Unnecessary eyelash shadows isn’t “noir”, it means your director doesn’t know how to light a face threeway to prevent eyelash shadows. All in all, The Scarapist doesn’t look like Berlinale award material by any stretch. It’s an insult to the Berlinale really for someone to perpetrate the false claim of having received an award at their festival for such a sloppy and badly made film showing all the seams of an amateur job. I obviously haven’t seen the whole film so as to comment on the story. The trailer suggests a stereotypical “damsel in distress” trope. I also dislike the statements that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza made in a podcast about the female scarapist seducing the female lead, saying that the film was meant to depict a scarapist who goes looking for a patient to exploit rather than a patient who is looking for a therapist. In Queer Film Theory this is known as a classic lesbophobic trope of mainstream straight film wherein the good innocent  straight girl is seduced by the evil lesbian seductress. The presentation of the seductress as an evil manipulator is meant to foreclose any possibility that the straight girl might have desired or enjoyed the seduction and might herself be interested in exploring some form of lesbianism, whether platonic or overtly sexual.

See also:
Update 29MAR2016: The Scarapist also seems to be informed by another American literary genre, that of the so-called Southern Gothic, a genre characterized by tropes such as, to quote Spicuzza’s beloved Wikipedia, “ambivalent gender roles, decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or stemming from poverty, alienation, crime, or violence.”. One of the bands for which Spicuzza’s husband was the drummer, the Violent Femmes, is according to the Wikipedia article associated with the Southern Gothic genre in music.

Not having seen the movie itself I do not know whether this seduction is merely a metaphor or whether we are dealing with an actual platonic lesbian-esque relationship between the two female characters. (At one point the therapist reaches out and touches a strand of hair as the female lead walks by.) The trailer certainly doesn’t arouse my interest to discover how the relationship between the therapist and the patient develops, because there isn’t anything here to be discovered: the therapist is already revealed in the trailer to be the personification of evil (at one point she bears an upside down cross on her forehead) and the female lead is presented as pure if gullible innocence. Bo-ring! I would guess that most adults prefer to see movies where there are shades of gray to the morality of a character. I am willing to accept the possibility that the story behind The Scarapist might be so captivating that the experienced b-movie viewer would forgive the film its mistakes and weak points in favour of the narrative. However I do know that a trailer is meant to present the most exciting/promising parts of a film, and this trailer rather reveals everything that is wrong with The Scarapist.

Part 5: I am a desperate indie film maker, should I pull a Jeanne Marie Spicuzza and spread falsehoods about my film receiving awards I have never received? What are the risks of doing so?

I understand that the indie film industry is a cut-throat industry. I understand that this film industry is all about who you know and who they know. I know things are hard for indie filmmakers. I know things are especially hard for female indie filmmakers. All these are no excuse for you to go around making false claims about receiving laurels from your film.

You have NO right to use the name and logo of the Berlinale EFM or any other film festival for that matter as a means to lend credence to your self-serving lies. In America you can get sued for doing so. Don’t ever try to make false claims about your film having received awards at for example Sundance or any other big American festival that awards filmmakers. In the case of the Berlinale you are abusing the name and logo of a highly respected European film festival to spread lies about yourself and your film, thus increasing profits for yourself at the expense of the reputation of the Berlin film festival. What you are doing could be interpreted as fraud under certain readings of European law, and the festival could report you to the German authorities for dragging their name and/or logo into a deceitful PR campaign. I believe that unlike litigious Americans who will sue anyone and everything at the drop of a hat, Europeans don’t take it to court because they just feel sorry for you that you have to resort to such desperate measures to garner unwarranted and undeserved attention for your film. It’s a cultural difference. My understanding is that Americans have a tendency to misinterpret this European laissez-faire attitude and lack of a litigious culture as an invitation to exploit and abuse the system to their heart’s content. Maybe we should stop being so lax about this in Europe and take a few Americans to court to teach them some respect for our cultural institutions. Americans would obviously never pull this shit with an American film festival, like Sundance or Telluride, because they know they’d sue and/or would get them blacklisted all over the States for being such an industry charlatan claiming false laurels. Americans are doing this to a European film festival because they think they can get away with it. I sincerely hope that whoever claims false laurels at the Berlinale or any other European film festival will suffer the professional consequences for hurting the entire indie film industry as a whole with your selfish lies, and I hope the Berlinale will get them blacklisted so that they are never allowed to ever screen their films again at their festival or any other European festival.

If you are a young film student who is considering making false awards claims, think about how this reflects on you. You must be such an insecure attention-seeker to need to resort to claiming false awards from a non-existent critics organization to feel like you have accomplished something. Indie film industry poseurs and charlatans are making things harder for everyone working in indie film. No one trusts indie film makers anymore because of liars claiming awards never received and using aggregator websites to spread self-serving lies far and wide. They are the reason all the really talented hard-working film artists can’t get their films pitched at festivals anymore. They are a parasite and a pest on the real indie film industry where people don’t have to claim fake awards to garner attention for their films, where films stand or fall on the basis of their own artistic merits. American film makers complain about the Telluride film festival being coopted by the mainstream film industry. Well, do you realize festivals are going corporate exactly because of people trying to hawk their films on the basis of false claims? Indie film makers were already treated with suspicion, and because of false award claims this suspicion will now only get worse. Do you understand that any false promotional campaign launched by an indie film maker will affect not only your own credibility but that of indie film makers as a group?

Worst of all is when you are making false awards claims as a female filmmaker, because women have it harder than anyone else in the sexist film industry. Both the indie film industry and the mainstream industry are notoriously sexist. But if women filmmakers are as good as men, why would they need to resort to making false award claims to promote their films? Your insecurity as a female filmmaker in a sexist cultural industry is no excuse to want to deceive the public to make yourself feel better. A female filmmaker making false award claims is making every female filmmaker seem like an impostor who resorts to telling lies to garner attention for her film. Women in film are already suffering from Impostor Syndrome without having to actually resort to lies about the merits of their films.

To close, boys and girls in filmschool, don’t be an indie film industry poseur. Don’t claim awards you’ve never received. Don’t drag film festivals into deceptive advertising campaigns. Don’t deceive anyone at all if you can avoid it.

Part 6: Broken windows theory applied to the indie film industry – how industry wannabes beget more wannabes who in turn beget more wannabes. The downward spiral of corruption in the indie film industry.

Let’s apply the broken windows theory to people making false awards claims in the indie film industry. Let’s look at every false award claim being made by an indie filmmaker as a broken window in Tinseltown. People try to rationalize the deception saying: “Everyone tells a white lie every now and then”, “We like to twist things a little bit”, “Have you never told a lie on your resume”, “all actresses lie about their age on IMDB”, etc etc. I firmly believe that when liars are awarded this gives them an incentive to tell ever more grotesque lies. I have seen this corruption repeatedly with my own eyes manifest in the indie film industry. Lies incentivize ever greater and more absurd lies. Liars also have a tendency to bring other liars into the industry. People who never considered lying before suddenly find themselves lying too because they see liars getting away with it and reason that “nice guys don’t get paid”. Soon, the industry will consist of nothing but liars constantly scamming and deceiving one another in a truly sick and perverted game of oneupmanship that ultimately benefits no one. No one will trust eachother anymore and the product of the industry, the films being made, will suffer because they are being made in such a toxic environment. Film is a collaborative artform and there has to be trust. There can only be trust when people are honest. If someone doesn’t like your film they are doing you a favour being honest about it because they are inadvertently helping you become a better film maker. Stop thinking of criticism as “people throwing up all over you” and other such grotesque emo metaphors. Grow a spine and learn to appreciate criticism. I believe people sincerely want to see better films being made. I want to see better films being made because I never liked most of the feature films I saw in my life, with a handful of notable exceptions. Honest criticism is the only way to get there.

During my research into The Scarapist claims, I discovered that there was yet another indie film on Facebook falsely claiming laurels from this “VDKUF” or “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher”: UPDATE: This post appears to have been removed from the Seline Facebook page. However, the Youtube videos perpetrating the myth that this Seline film was awarded at the Berlinale are both still online, as are all the false press releases on the aggregator websites.

What you are seeing here is “broken windows theory” in action in the indie film industry. And they too were using (Italian) aggregator websites to spread their false laurel claims far and wide. Even after I confronted them if my researched they refused to admit they were deceiving the public about receiving an award at Berlinale. They admitted that they had never received an award at Berlinale (while claiming otherwise on their aggregator websites) but then tried to gaslight by claiming that the “Verein”, which clearly doesn’t exist, is supposedly some private German company that handed them an award at Berlinale but wasn’t associated with Berlinale. As I wrote above, there is no evidence whatsoever of this “Verein” ever existing or being active at Berlinale. The Berlinale EFM themselves stated they had never heard of this alleged “Verein” before. They also stated that if a film had won an award at Berlinale, they would know about it. Am I supposed to believe that some “private” German company of film critics and filmmakers is supposedly quietly handing out awards left and right at Berlinale without the EFM themselves knowing about this company or authorizing such an activity on their festival premises? If you know how punctual and formal Germans are, and how obsessed they are with documenting everything under the sun, you’d know how preposterous this claim is. I wanted to ask the Seline crew to provide me with hard evidence of their receiving an award from this alleged “private company” quietly infiltrating Berlinale, but discovered that they had blocked me from asking further questions. Someone who is honest and true should not shy away from answering pointed questions and providing evidence. It always depresses me when upon being exposed someone still tries to gaslight.

To conclude, if you want awards for your films, make better films. PERIOD.

Sources used in the writing of this article:

Full list of 2016 Berlinale award recipients <– as you can plainly see with your own eyes, Jeanne Marie’s The Scarapist is nowhere to be found in this list.
Jeanne Marie Spicuzza falsely claiming to have received a Berlinale award from this non-existing “Verein” on her personal LinkedIn page:

Feminist Frequency has a great series of videos on Youtube about the “damsel in distress” trope as it occurs in both American films and video-games:

Article about The Scarapist with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza interview:

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s latest film project Night Rain Facebook page:

Podcast interviews with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza about The Scarapist by Bennet Pomerantz:

Steated At The Writers’ Table podcast interview with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza about The Scarapist: <– this is where she makes the claims about the relationship between the scarapist and the female lead being “seduction”.

Going Commando podcast interviews with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza:

Music 4 Life radio podcast interview with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza:
“Meet guest Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, a film producer in California, as she unveils the secret that seeded the special film project called The Scarapist, then discusses deeper topics that link the Sex Pistols with Hildegarde of Bingen.”

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s autobiographical poem about her therapist: <– What is interesting is that in this poem the scarapist is described as being an older lady. In the essay I link to below, Spicuzza describes The Scarapist as the mother-figure she wished she had, again indicating that this therapist was an older person. In the film the therapist character, whose name is Ilse, is actually played by a young woman, younger even than Jeanne Marie’s character Lana. Why did Spicuzza turn The Scarapist into a young woman for her supposedly autobiograpical film? That seems like a rather peculiar capitulation to the sexism and ageism of mainstream American film for someone who in one of the above podcasts claims to have a punk rock background, and was also describing herself as a “riot grrrl” (female punk rocker) on Wikipedia, as you will see below in the Wikipedia links.

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza has written a two-part essay about her alleged real life experiences that were the basis for The Scarapist screenplay:

The Scarapist by guest @JeanneSpicuzza Part Two

This essay suggests that the scarapist supposedly hypnotized Jeanne Marie Spicuzza into visting a specific hairstylist in Los Angeles to get a haircut. I can’t imagine a story so pedestrian making for an exciting viewing experience. Who wants to see a whole film about a woman who’s scared of haircuts getting a haircut supposedly under the spell of an overwhelming hypnotist of a therapist? (Frankly, that sounds more like a great idea for a comedy than a thriller!) I can’t imagine anyone thinking this to be an exciting premise. I know a lot of women associate their hair with their femininity and might identify with the female lead based on that, but as a woman who has had both long and short hair I don’t particularly identify with that hair fetish. I just don’t see what the big deal is about someone being talked by their therapist into getting a haircut. It seems to me that this is exactly what therapists do and I would guess that people routinely visit therapists to get over all kinds of irrational phobias. I don’t see the thrill in that. As for this statement from the essay: “It turned out, she had hacked out over 65 percent of my hair, causing root and shaft damage, even hair loss.”, isn’t a haircut technically a form of hair loss by default?  If there was really “root and shaft damage” (you know what we say on the internet, pictures or it didn’t happen!), how is the therapist to blame for the incompetence of the hairstylist? Nevermind logic and reason in assigning blame, so traumatized is Jeanne Marie Spicuzza from getting that haircut that she supposedly, quoting again from the above essay, “(…) called suicide hotline over twenty-three times in nine months following our last conversation. I felt folded into pieces, broken, seemingly beyond repair. I beat my own body. I didn’t want to live with the shame. My husband found me, naked in the dark.(…) Shattering and devastation, my pain, grinding on my mind and bones everyday. I was often dizzy, and had to catch myself from falling. I was diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, and was told it would be years before I would recover.”… let’s just say I feel confirmed in my opinion that this strange story of obsessive haircut drama is better suited for comedy than a thriller. And I still don’t see how an incompetent hairstylist can be blamed on the therapist who merely recommended them, but then again in American courts judges routinely sentence completely innocent people to deathrow and call that “justice”. As for the claim that the therapist implanted sexual abuse memories, this is mentioned in passing in the essay and left dangling. What I did manage to discover during my research was this 2001 San Jose/Silicon Valley area article by a “Mary Spicuzza” about a medical malpractice lawsuit. I wonder whether this is related to The Scarapist, because this Mary Spicuzza writing about medical malpractice as far back as 2001 appears to be the sister Jeanne Marie Spicuzza. Isn’t it interesting that Jeanne Marie’s sister Mary Spicuzza was writing about medical malpractice half a decade before Jeanne Marie Spicuzza herself claimed to have suffered medical malpractice at the hands of a therapist?

Update 14MAR2016: Spicuzza apparently sent an abusively frivolous and censorious DMCA takedown request to WordPress in which she preposterously claims that quoting 8 sentences from her 400+ sentence autographical essay supposedly constitutes a copyright infringement. Spicuzza, who in this podcast interview claimed she was almost thrown out of a court for “sounding like a lawyer”, has obviously never heard of something called protected fair use in the context of criticism. According to a quantitative analysis I performed using the website Spicuzza’s essay consists of 3775 words and 411 sentences. It goes without saying that quoting a mere 8 sentences out of 411 sentences, or a mere 101 words out of 3775 words (which is about 3% of the total essay, since Spicuzza is such a fan of statistics), is proportional fair use with regards to the full lenght of the essay. Fortunately WordPress recognized her DMCA takedown request was frivolous and refused to removed my article. #FAIL It is my firm belief that Spicuzza needs to spend more time learning how to make decent movies instead of wasting her time sending out frivolous DMCA takedown requests to censor film criticism. But what to expect from someone who is so insecure that she needs false press releases on aggregator websites to inflate her film?

As for the alleged lawsuit, I now have a PACER (Public Access To Electronic Court Documents) account and can look up any civil or criminal lawsuit in the United States that isn’t sealed. I haven’t been able to find Spicuzza’s alleged lawsuit against her therapist, but this could be due to the fact that lawsuits involving doctors/therapists and/or medical/therapeutic procedures are often sealed or anonymized in the US to protect the privacy of the patient. Either the lawsuit has been sealed or anonymized for privacy, or this lawsuit just doesn’t exist the same way the Berlinale award claim is false and the “Verein” doesn’t exist. I am open to either posibility.

During my online research into Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s career I discovered that her Wikipedia article had been voted into deletion by Wikipedia editors after they discovered that she was making unsourced claims about herself and had also used a sockpuppet account to vote in favour of herself. According to the records currently available on Wikipedia, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza not only enlisted the help of her sister Mary Spicuzza in tracking down an Wikipedia editor she was enrolled in a dispute with over the Ralph Nader Wikipedia article, but even went and hired a legal gun in Los Angeles, a personal injury attorney by the name of Richard Rosenthal Esq, and sent a legal threat to the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, demanding that alleged “defamation” about her be deleted from their site. I will assume mr. Rosenthal would like to see with his own eyes my correspondence with Berlinale EFM confirming that his client never won an award at their festival and that the Berlinale has never heard of this alleged “Verein” that his client claims to have received an award from. I in turn would love to receive from mr. Rosenthal hard evidence of his client receiving a Berlinale award and hard evidence of the existence of this “Verein”.

According to this TechDirt comment Mary Spicuzza got herself involved in a Wikipedia editing war involving her sister Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s vanity article on Wikipedia and a Wikipedia editor who insisted it should be removed and succeeded to have it voted into deletion.

Legal threat by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza to Wikimedia Foundation (say hi to Personal Injury Attorney Richard Rosenthal, Spicuzza’s legal gun in Los Angeles):

In defense of Google’s Street View, and thoughts on Internet privacy

The discussion about the incident archived on Wikipedia itself suggests that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza was using Wikipedia to spread unsourced claims about herself through her Wikipedia vanity article. In other words, she was using Wikipedia in the same way she is now making false awards claims after having her film screened at the EFM. Are we to conclude that Jeanne Marie has a history of making false or unsourceable claims about herself and her achievements? Quoting from the archived discussion:

Mary Spicuzza doesn’t say that the “page” in question was in fact a Wikipedia article about Jeanne Marie Spicuzza. Another editor nominated this article for deletion on notability grounds; I was one of 16 editors (out of 19) who voted to remove the article from Wikipedia. An article about Spicuzza’s company, Seasons & a Muse, Inc., was also removed. Mary Spicuzza also doesn’t mention that her sister Jeanne was banned on two occasions from Wikipedia for sock-puppeteering at Ralph Nader articles, each time for six months.

After Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s “page” was removed from Wikipedia, another Spicuzza family member — she describes herself as “21 year old female,” where Jeanne Marie is nearly 40 — began keeping a MySpace blog about me. In her latest entry, she describes herself as “Accomplished,” gives a link to her aunt’s (sister’s?) SF Weekly article, and pronounces it “Awesome!” (The Wikip spamblock feature does not allow My Space links, but trust me.)

(In fairness to Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, author Mary Spicuzza’s sister, it should be noted that Jeanne Marie claims to be unacquainted with Wikipedia. In the Comments section to her sister’s SF Weekly article she wrote, “I do not participate on Wikipedia, nor do I use it as a source” (see comment #10, dated Feb. 13, 2008). However, this statement contradicts author Mary Spicuzza’s claim to have heard about me first from her sister Jeanne; moreover, the quotes Mary Spicuzza used in her article show an understanding of my Wikipedia dealings with Jeanne Marie that Mary could not have acquired on her own.)’_noticeboard/IncidentArchive372#Attempted_Outing_of_Wikipedia_Editor_User:Griot_by_Tawdry_Tabloid_Journalist

The following comments by Wikipedia editors voting on why the Jeanne Marie Spicuzza vanity article should be deleted are instructional in the context of Jeanne Marie Spicuzza using aggregator websites to spread her false Berlinale award claims far and wide on the internet to inflate interest for her film. These comments plainly shows that she has a history of making either false, unsourced, unverfiable or inflated and self-congratulatory claims about herself:

“A whole lot of air inflating very little. Lots of name-dropping, very little reason for that.”

“This individual appears only in her own productions, according to IMDB. No independent evidence of notability. Article is almost certainly autobiography.”

“The subject could be marginally notable but the self-promotion and policy violations are overwhelming. I wouldn’t be against re-creation of a neutral, balanced and well-sourced article. History does not give us much hope that the subject herself will be able to do that.”

“Ironically, if the article had not been so frequently edited by individuals with clear associations with Ms. Spicuzza and thus clear conflicts of interest, I might have abstained or voted to keep. But the evidence for notability is marginal and all the sockpuppet/meatpuppet activity makes even that marginal amount so suspect that it falls back under the notability line.”

What is particularly disturbing is that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, under her Wikipedia sockpuppet name of Telogen (an account she abandoned supposedly after discovering that Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales supports pornography), resorts to accusations of sexism and also has the nerve to bring up riot grrrl to attack Wikipedia editors for wanting to delete her vanity article, while insultingly referring to them as “40 year old virgins out for blood” saying she hopes to “see more fem votes” (I am a radical feminist myself and let it be known I will never endorse a poseur making false claims about themselves in the film industry just because she is female):

Article asserts notability and sources confirm it. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ranks 39 in top 100 largest U.S. newspapers, hardly “indie” or “non-trivial.” ‘Poetry Motel’ is a respected publication, and none listed are vanity presses. Sourced in international riotgrrrl publications. Ani DiFranco uses her own label, as does Kat Bjelland, etc., so doesn’t make a good argument. Btw, seems one user voted twice. Looks like a lot of 40 year-old virgins out for blood. Hope to see some more fem, impartial and/or non-SPP votes. Telogen 08:55, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

A woman filmmaker using feminism as an excuse to cover up a thorougly documented career of online vanity at Wikipedia is one of the most annoying abuses of feminism a radical feminist like myself has to encounter online.

It’s telling how Jeanne Marie Spicuzza would never make any false claims about receiving awards at an American festival like La Femme. She knows exactly what would happen if she did claim a false award at an American film festival. Not only would she run the risk of being sued for dragging the name and reputation of that festival into a false advertising campaing while effectively claiming a false endorsement from the festival, such a move would probably get her blacklisted across the US.

She fact that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza is posting about her film in a Facebook group such as Seeking Our Story, a group about films by female filmmakers while using her film to perpetrate tired old stereotypes such as “damsel in distress” is a typical example of the way Jeanne Marie Spicuzza only invokes feminism and women to benefit herself while seemingly having no understanding or knowledge of feminist film critique. If she did, The Scarapist would have been a completely different movie.

UPDATE 14MAR2016: Update: Jeanne Marie Spicuzza tried to take down this blog entry with a maliciously false DMCA takedown request for linking to this Facebook entry on the Seeking Our Stories Facebook wall which features an embedded picture of actress Katie Colloton. WordPress automatically expands the post with the embedded picture, so I removed the expanded embedded post and replaced it with this link. A whole blog entry exposing Spicuzza’s


“The truth does not bind us, it sets us free. <3” – Jeanne Marie Spicuzza.

Channels of Rage (Arotzim Shel Za’am) by Anat Halachmi (2003)  is an Israeli documentary about the rap scene in Tel Aviv. This documentary was screened at the 2003 edition of the IDFA when I attended that festival at the time. Basically every rhyme uttered by the rappers in this documentary, whether from a Zionist or an Arab perspective, would get them all home-raided, arrested, detained and criminalized, that is, if they had the misfortune of rapping in the censorious fascist dictatorship of the Netherlands instead of Israel. That’s right folks, an Arab rapper rapping in ISRAEL in 2003 had more freedom of speech to rap about whatever he wanted to than a Dutch rapper like Ismo does in the Netherlands in 2015! This comparison between the two speech regimes separated by a decade is veritable proof that censorious fascism is on the rise in the Netherlands. In one of the scenes the Zionist Israeli rapper Subliminal complains about his Palestinian counterpart Tamer having a rhyme where he compares Jews to Nazis – basically the same kind of rhyme that Ismo was indicted over last year – but never once does the Zionist rapper argue for censorship! If Israeli Jews in Israel do not support the censorship of a Palestinian rapper comparing Jews to Nazis in their own country, who the fuck are the Dutch to tell them otherwise and to indict a Dutch rapper supposedly for “criminally insulting” Jews?
What is the Openbaar Ministerie, which is clearly populated by Public Prosecutors who hate rap music and want to persecute and criminalize rappers with a passion that knows no bounds, going to do about the fact that everyone and their mother can watch this Israeli documentary and listen/read lyrics that are criminal by Dutch legal standards? Is the Openbaar Ministerie going to ban the documentary? Maybe ban access to Youtube altogether like the Turkish government does with Twitter? What if IDFA were to screen this documentary again in what are basically the cultural “Dark Ages” of 2016? Would the Openbaar Ministerie raid the festival and confiscate the DVD to prevent this documentary from being screened? I swear, at some point in the future we will be witnessing scenes like what I’ve just described, when the Openbaar Ministerie takes this censorious hysteria towards rap music to its logical extreme. I predict that in the near future movies like Straight Outta Compton will no longer be screened in the Netherlands because the Openbaar Ministerie will confiscate the digital copies and indict the makers for incitement. Here is a short excerpt from Channels of Rage that you should go and watch before the Openbaar Ministerie decides to put a Chinese-style firewall around the Netherlands to ban access to such documentaries.

The following poem is a work of fiction and bears no relation to existing people or events.

by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou
(c) 2015 all rights reserved

Feminism is onto the James Bitch shit part two
Here’s some more shit I dug up about you
I just couldn’t keep to myself
Hey you know me
I own nothing
Always sharing everything generously
Everything banned under the sun by our glorious fascist king
Sharing everything you don’t want me to share is my thing
I’d even share a bite straight out of my mouth before swallowing after I was done chewing
Why are you so embarrassed
Don’t want the world to see your real Jay Ass Ass
This is not a diss
Of my Australian feminist sis
I completely understand
You got swayed by what this man was doing
Fucking you up mentally
I just gotta say
Fuck your Jay Ass Ass rapist fuck
The only Tantric Buddhist
Who didn’t mean a damn thing of it
Don’t Google him
He hates that
Who’s raping vegan women
Who slanders whistleblowers
I don’t wonna see you suffer
Like your Australian girl did
When I come over
And get down to hunting
It’s gonna be some carnivore shit
And if I was a vegan
I’d still be eating bacon
Chicken periods, rape juice, cadavers
Mercury crazed fishes, your scrawny legs
No slaughter video is gonna stop me hon
Watch him hit on all the vegans
Watch his veg groupies get mad
But James Bitch is a serial rapist
He don’t give a fuck about that
Watch James Bitch take over these girls
Watch his rape victims get mad
Thought it would be rad
With an egoterrorist in the sack
Now James Bitch made some shit movie
Thinking he’s some Hollywood swag
I saw the film trailer on Youtube
Damn that film of his was so wack
Call yourself a veganist
Call yourself an artivist
Then you rape Shelley W.
and I’ll show up and call you a rapist
Are you mad I call you a rapist
Are you getting mad
Quick call Gregory again
You know where to find me fag
Rapist asshole I will anull
Fucking American lying scumbag
Next time you file a false deposition against a woman
I’ll track you down and make you eat it as you bow down before me
You think you’ve seen a femdom
You say they are more hardcore than men
Wait til you’ve seen me
Your art school art sluts will adore me
You will have a hard time ignoring me
Cos you thought you made them go away
But they just came to me
And told me all about you
Every judge is a rapist like you
raped women were never as credible
as your lying American Jay Ass Ass was
Every cop is a rapist like you
raped women were never as credible
as your lying American Jay Ass Ass was
Every lawyer is rapist like you
raped women were never as credible
as your lying American Jay Ass Ass was
Your fellow rapists got your back
You know they do
Everybody down like brothers
White rapist motherfuckers
Tell the Greek-hating cops in Shitholeland
How this Greek female scares you
I’m Greek
I’m bankrupt
I’m poor
I’m hungry
When I’m done eating the bacon
I’ll take a bite out of you
No meat on the bone you skinny fucker
Like chewing on a leather shoe
Go lie to the fucking racist cops again
And tell them how much you tremble
thinking of me and how much you fear me
I know exactly the spot in your house
You keep the gunpowder, the bullets, the arsenal
that I know you won’t hesitate for minute to use to kill me
Loaded and locked up
You lying American fuck up
Hiding behind your big dick guns
And ever more guns to add to more guns
Dreaming of killing me and having fun
I know you jack off dreaming about firing that shot
Watch me fall to the ground and die before you
You whoremongering motherfuck
I call you a motherfucking American
Cos you’re literally fucking a mother these days
You motherfucking American disgrace
Tell those fucking cocked and chambered cops
How much your locked and loaded ass
Has to fear from a completely disarmed female
Like, what the hell
Bend over like an acrobat
Skullfuck yourself in your own lying claptrap
Take your Yankee rapist Jay Ass Ass and
Get yanked straight into the pits of hell
“You fucking rapist, I’m still coming after you!”
You heard me yell
Bedroom racist
Bedroom rapist
Tell me how many black pussies did you fuck this week
How many trophy girlfriends to add to your collection
How many black women did you rape today at gunpoint
Your weapon of preference and choice always being your erection
You faker faking it so
Fake it harder to avoid detection
Go and change your tacky name again
Into something more wacky than James Bitch
I don’t give a fuck you’re a vegan raw foodist
How dare you call your rapist ass a feminist
You raped Shelley
You raped Tania
You raped Vanessa
Want me go down the rest of this list?
Fist in air
Yeah, hold up a fist
Full of dollars for your lawyers
To hide your ugly babyface behind
You lying James Bitch
Eat your lettuce veggie boy
But not like you down dollar bills
James Bitch rapes women
And if you let him out of your sight
There will be a kill
Rapekilling Pornokillah on the case
And it’s gonna be a chase
Who are you calling a bitch
You fucking serial womanizer
I’ll shit on your babyface
Shove that face into a mudpool
And make me some fertilizer
Shit groupierapist
Look behind you
This is the day you get hit
Shit veganrapist
Look behind you
This is the day you get hit
Shit Shelleyrapist
Look behind you
This is the day you get hit
This is it
This is it
This is the hit
This is all she does is kill shit –>

Let me be your drag-king!’s behind-the-scenes special of Alexander Voulgaris’ upcoming
Greek “Terminator 2” feature Νήμα
by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou
(c) 2014 all rights reserved

I was sent a link to’s article about Alexander Voulgaris’ upcoming feature movie Νήμα (“String of Yarn”), which includes a behind-the-scenes promo that his groupies shot on the Νήμα set during the last days of shooting before the film went into post-production. Visit this page to see the behind-the-scenes special at the bottom of the page:

Alexander Voulgaris’ blonde assistant director insists that this movie will be “the most sensitive movie ever made in the history of Greek film” (“η πιο τρυφερή ταινία που γυρίστηκε ποτέ στο ελληνικό σινεμά”), whereas Voulgaris himself claims, in all seriousness and without a trace of irony or humility, that his upcoming movie will be, get this, the Greek “Terminator 2“! Alexander’s groupies, obviously enamoured and spell-bound by their on-set visit and having been given the behind-the-scenes scoop, can hardly contain their enthusiasm and write that it’s “one of those movies you would like to see right now if only that were possible” (“μια από τις ταινίες που θα ήθελες αν γινόταν να δεις τώρα”). This is the usual pre-release hype that builds around Alexander Voulgaris’ movies only to disappoint everyone who gets to see the lackluster end-result. One of the readers’ comments right below the behind-the-scene promo says it all:
This comment shows that Greek film-fans are aware of the fact that have always hyped up Alexander’s movies in order to create a pre-screening buzz. Greek film-fans will remember how hyped the living daylights out of Alexander’s 2012 craptastic sci-fi/horror/art-house/WTF-mess of a hybrid movie Higuita, ensuring him a sold-out house at the Thess Film Festival for the premiere, which turned out to be a huge disappointment with people constantly walking out on the film and critics’ overwhelmingly scathing reviews in the following days. I say let them fall into the trap they’ve dug for themselves with their pompous comments about making a Greek Terminator 2, because you know Alexander’s The String of Yarn movie will sell-out whether it’s crap or not, due to his sheer popularity amongst the Athenian hipster quotient who will flock to his movie in droves. I recommend people pull a Marilyn Manson on Alex and do some drugs before the premiere of Νήμα to spare themselves another Higuita-style disappointment.

Having seen the behind-the-scenes promo, I have this to say, and I direct this comment particularly to the blonde assistant director, who apparently has no problem associating herself with a child pornography and pedophilia apologist:

Anyone who writes song-lyrics about, and I quote from his song “feel safe”, released on a record that Alexander Voulgaris has characterized as “my most personal record, the only record I want everyone who knows me well to listen to” (“συνεχίζει να είναι ο πιο προσωπικός μου δίσκος… και ο μοναδικός που πραγματικά θα με ένοιαζε να τον ακούσει κάποιος που με γνωρίζει.”):

Getting my shit ready to pump opposite of little girls photos.
Cumming in a coffee cup.
Don’t wanna mess things up.
Cooking is something that I like these days


Anyone who writes song-lyrics about “getting my shit ready to pump opposite of little girls photos” and cooking with his load is NEVER going to make “the most sensitive movie ever made in the history of Greek film”. NEVER. “…cause I am a fuckin tender teddy bear ready to die in his sleep.”, my ass. “School fucks with teenage queens. Thoughts like that considered sins. “, “I whisper to a kid’s ear that I’ll always remember my first kiss in her front porch.”,  um, is that a teddy bear or rather a pedo-bear he’s singing about in that song? I love it whenever I quote all these lyrics to people, lyrics from a record Alexander Voulgaris said is his “most personal”, and they still insist “he’s just being sarcastic”. People just don’t want to see what’s blatantly obvious. The guy is a pedophilia and child pornography apologist, period. Childrapists don’t molest children because they are “sensitive”, but because they are the very definition of insensitivity and selfishness.

Anyone who lists the de facto banned criminal child pornography movie Maladolescenza as one of his favourite movies is NEVER going to make “the most sensitive movie ever made in the history of Greek film”. NEVER.

Anyone who is being flippant on Facebook about Woody Allen raping his 7 year old daughter with sick ‘jokes’ such as “Woody Allen fucks hard, just ask his daughter.” is NEVER going to make “the most sensitive movie ever made in the history of Greek film”. NEVER.

And how dare he bring up the Terminator 2. Some nerve this guy has. Compare this behind-the-scenes promo on to all the behind-the-scenes videos on Youtube from when James Cameron was shooting the Terminator 2 in the late 1980s. Do you see the Terminator 2 here? I hope Cameron sues him for false advertising. Almost a quarter of a century or 24 years later, the character of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 is still the most progressive most feminist female character I have seen in any movie, American or foreign, and the only female character I have ever identified myself with as a teenager having to sit through movies with women I did not want to be. Terminator 2 was the only movie that made me go: “I want to be her when I grow up.”. It was the first time I saw a woman in a film who was completely different from all the women I had seen up to then. Terminator 2 is also one of the few movies I have ever seen where no one really dominates. The cyborg who was on the poster really doesn’t, Sarah doesn’t and her son doesn’t. In the Terminator 2 everyone, male, female, young, old, human, cyborg, meatware, software, hardware, the past, the present and the future, they all bond together and allign against a common enemy, the Skynet shape-shifting industrial petro-chemical war-machine that wants to wipe out human life. I don’t think Europeans can phathom how totally against Americans’ hegemonic androcentric sexist perception and understanding a movie like that goes, having been brainwashed their entire lives that someone, invariably a man, always has to be “The Boss” dominating the narrative and overshadowing everyone else. Suffice to say, Terminator 2 is one of my favourite sci-fi movies ever, and anyone who brings up the Terminator 2 is getting fucking personal with me.

Totally disappointed to see that actress Sofia Kokkali agreed to be in this creepy movie because I really liked her having seen her in Alexander’s dad’s Little England last year and sincerely had high hopes for her as a promising young actress. Kokkali doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into. She even admits in the video she had a hard time interpreting both leading roles, that of a mother growing up in the 1970s and her son, a teengaged boy growing up in the 1990s. Only a few female actresses have what it takes to convincingly perform a man, and I don’t expect Alexander Voulgaris’ usual experiments with ADR, like replacing all of Kokkali’s lines as a teenaged boy with a male voice actor, are going to improve her performance, which she herself admits was “difficult”. I know Alexander Voulgaris is obsessed with Kubrick, but I just don’t see Kokkali as his Peter Sellers. I even suspect that Alexander Voulgaris is hiding his sexism and misogyny behind a respected female actress. Remember, boys and girls in film-school, we are talking about the guy who brags on his Facebook wall about making violent S&M porn featuring decapitated women the likes of this (NSFW, graphic). And since we’re bringing up the 1990s, anyone still remember The Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up video? It’s a tried and true trick of the sexists to hide their sexism behind female performers. The question is, why do women allow themselves to be used in this way? Surely an actress like Sofia Kokkali would’ve had better offers following Little England?

For those of you poor sods who are actually looking forward to this movie because you bought into the pre-release hype about it being the Greek Terminator 2, let’s hope Alexander Voulgaris uses whatever money he has left from the 90 000 in film-funding he received from the Greek government to hire himself some unemployed Greek CGI and Adobe Premiere wizards, because what I am seeing in’s behind-the-scenes special can be summarized as some lame-ass art-school attempt at filming Chuck Palahniuk’s short story “Guts” with Sofia Kokkali as a pimple-faced drag-king on a depressing abandoned pre-schooler TV studio set with a dead plant in the background. Who is willing to bet all their Greek debt in a hedge fund that Alex will reverse that footage of the leaves dropping in post-production as a low-budget attempt at making it look “cooler”? You need much more than that to achieve “cool” these days, even more than much more to bring a movie like Terminator 2 into the conversation.

Or is this drag-king act Alexander trying to rip off “Ταϊσε με τη σκόνη σου με το γοβάκι σου Καιτούλα” playing Wilhelm Reich’s son in the music video for Cloudbusting? About the last thing oversexed Alex needs is an orgone generator. The best thing you can hope for is that audiences “wake up crying” after falling asleep to an excruciatingly boring and pretentious movie they thought was going to be Terminator 2.