A middle-aged fisherman drowning in debt; a housewife who is seeking the truth in God's Word; a daughter who tries to define her own life within an oppressive environment. Until a tragic incident strikes the family, pushing the three heroes to face their own personal impasses, whilst having to deeply consider the price to pay for their actions.
Lake theme | Composer : Marios Strofalis
An “intriguing and deft debut” [...] “An intense psychological study of murky morality, ingrained community animosity to outsiders and the lengths people will go to for self-preservation”.
Stephen Dalton THE FILM VERDICT
“a compelling debut feature” [...] “a contemporary Greek tragedy” [...] “Proedrou juggles multi-character complexity and non-linear narratives with impressive dexterity”.
Alin Taciyan FIPRESCI
“A powerful cinematic feel” [...] ”Behind the Haystacks is not merely a critique of today’s societies who remain indifferent to the refugee crisis, but also a microcosm of the human condition in a historical and Biblical context’’.
"A pulsating social psychograph that delicately handles complex political stakes and moral impasses without any instance of abandoning its humanity. [...] A socially restless film that is healingly attentive while mercilessly condemning."
“Meaningful, humane, great cinema. By the most important, new, domestic voice in directing, one of the greatest Greek films of the last 20 years”
SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
"Intense and visually lyrical"
"Audaciously symbolic flourishes […] Intimacy generated by camerawork from Simos Sarketzis as it leans in to observe the family in their most private moments […] Emotional mileage from magic hour and half-light shots, especially near the lake".
[…]“Newcomer Evgenia Lavda (actress) in an impressive debut”
Alin Taciyan FIPRESCI
I am writer and director based in Athens, Greece. My stories focus on contemporary social issues of the individual human experience, through the lens of women’s perspectives.
I am interested in how we – ordinary people – are trapped in our ‘modern’ societies, and how social structures reproduce themselves, driving us away from our ‘true’ needs and desires. My stories have their roots in psychoanalytic approaches and social anthropology and are related to my philosophical and political explorations as well as my fears.
As a writer-director, I strive to explore these themes in a relatable way through authentic and genuine local characters at the heart of my stories. I constantly experiment with new ‘point of view’ narrative structures that take us deeper into individual characters and their inner world. I also leverage the technical constraints of filmmaking to experiment with new visual styles that support my psychological, character-driven narratives.
BEHIND THE HAYSTACKS is my debut feature film. It is a social drama with thriller elements taking place in 2015 in a lakeside village on the Greek Northern border, where hundreds of migrants gather every day with the goal to illegally cross into Northern Europe.
This story is told from three different perspectives, through a ‘Rashomon-style’ narrative: we gradually discover, through the individual perspectives of three family members, the consequences of self-motivated desires and prejudices related to a central incident. The story takes place in a local corrupt and patriarchal society, while raising questions about how an entire community can be led to crime, deception, submission and collective denial.
At the same time, the background highlights the hypocrisy of our ‘civilised’ Western societies, which on the one hand shed tears for humanity, but on the other hand become accomplices in the exploitation, impoverishment, displacement and even death of thousands of people. BEHIND THE HAYSTACKS is thus, an exploration about where our modern societies are being led to and why, and about the way individual human relationships collapse within these societies. An exploration, which, however, has no intention of condemning the everyday man who – defeated – submits to corrupt social structures. On the contrary, it attempts to shed light onto the darkness and unveil everything that is human and beautiful in his/her everyday struggle to survive, from his/her need to love, to enjoy her life, and improve the world around her.
The film was shot during the second Covid lockdown in 2021, in different locations in Greece and North Macedonia - under extremely difficult circumstances. However, the challenging constraints and countless obstacles helped us take bold and risky decisions in a creative and emotionally gripping process, that turned constraints into new visual stylistic choices. These stylistic decisions related to camerawork, framing and offscreen sound, although initiated by technical constraints themselves, finally served the narrative in a unique and original way, and were coherently embodied into the overall lyrical and intimate style of the film.
Asimina Proedrou | Writer – Director
➤ Critically Acclaimed, both Nationally and Internationally
➤ The Official Greek entry for the 96th Academy Awards (International Oscar)
➤ Among the 40 Best European Films chosen for the 2023 European
Film Academy Feature Film Selection.
➤ Among the 5 films nominated for the 2023 Casting Semiramis Awards
by the International Casting Directors Association (ICDA)
➤ Winner of 10 major awards at the Greek Academy Awards, including Best Picture; 17 nominations for 16 categories; a record-breaking number of nominations in the history of the institution.
➤ Winner of 6 awards at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, including Fipresci Award
➤ Winner of the Best Debut Feature Film Award at the International Film Festival of India (Goa)
➤ Selected for the European Film Promotion program "Europe, Voices of Women in Film at Sydney IFF", and for several other major film festivals.
➤ Major Cinema release in Greece for more than 30 consecutive weeks.
➤ Developed through: Berlinale Script Station 2016, Sarajevo Script Station 2015 First Film First 2016-2017 and EAVE 2018.
➤ Supported, among others, by the ZDF-ARTE and Eurimages.
INTERNATIONAL PRESS (links)
CINEUROPA by Vassilis Economou
"Behind the Haystacks wins big at the 14th Greek Iris Awards […] The Thessaloniki-premiered feature by first-time director Asimina Proedrou has snagged ten of the Hellenic Film Academy’s major awards. [...] This achievement also marks a record-breaking number of nominations in the history of the awards, as the film got a nod in a whopping 17 categories"
SCREEN DAILY by Alexis Grivas
"Asimina Proedrou’s debut feature Behind the Haystacks dominates the Greece’s Iris Awards […] winning the prizes for best film, director, debut director, screenplay, actor, supporting actress and actor, cinematography, editing and sound".
INTERNATIONAL INTERVIEWS (links)
VARIETY interview with Christopher Vourlias
"Refugee Crisis Exposes a Family’s Moral Flaws in Greek Debut, Behind the Haystacks’’
SCREEN DAILY NEW TALENT FOCUS Interview with Elena Lazic
"Behind The Haystacks’ filmmaker Asimina Proedrou on giving up her parallel career in mining"
ARTWORKSFELLOWS Interview with Tassos Chatzieffraimidis
"Where arthouse cinema meets box office success: behind the scenes of 'Behind the Haystacks' with Asimina Proedrou"
Stathis Stamoulakatos (STERGIOS)
Lena Ouzounidou (MARIA)
Evgenia Lavda (ANASTASIA)
Christos Kontogeorgis (CHRISTOS)
Dina Michailidou (GEORGIA)
Paschalis Tsarouchas (DIMITRIS)
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Sotiria Marini, Sofia Dimopoulou
Fragiskos Xydianos, Akis Gourzoulidis
WITH THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT:
Greek Film Centre, EKOME, Eurimages, North Macedonia Film Agency, MEDIA Creative Europe, SEE Cinema Network, DI.VI.PE.K. SA
WITH THE SUPPORT:
Film Office Region of Central Macedonia, ELEMENTS
GREEK DISTRIBUTOR: Tanweer
WORLD SALES: TVCO