This extended version of Geoffrey Cawthorn's Artsville doco provides a much fuller picture of internationally celebrated Wellington composer John Psathas in conversation and at work at home here and in his native Greece.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Like many of New Zealand’s best artists, Wellington composer John Psathas and his viscerally rhythmic work may well be better known overseas than locally, something that Geoffrey Cawthorn’s documentary is obviously hoping to change. It’s a portrait of an artist straddling two worlds. As the son of Greek immigrants, Psathas’ creative life is a constant balancing act between his New Zealandroots and his Greek heritage. The distinctively Greek flavour of his ‘View from Olympus’ led to the commission to compose works for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics, where his music was heard by billions around the world. The film follows Psathas as he embarks on a series of new projects, both at home and abroad, with musicians such as Trinity Roots’ Warren Maxwell and Portuguese percussionist Pedro Carneiro, including an emotional return to Greece for a reunion with his parents. A shorter cut of this film was broadcast on TV One’s Artsville. We’re delighted to premiere this extended version and honour an unassuming local hero. — MM