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A mother/daughter-led urban reclamation effort aims at transforming a 43-year old ghost town in Cyprus into a model ecocity. Greek and Turkish-Cypriots unite to turn the once thriving historic tourist resort of Famagusta, a city occupied by the Turkish military since 1974, into a model for peace, reconciliation and sustainability in the troubled Middle East region.
The district of Varosha, within the city of Famagusta, is located on the northeastern coast of Cyprus. Following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and subsequent evacuation of Famagusta by its Greek-Cypriot residents, the Turkish army surrounded six square kilometers of the Varosha tourist resort in barbed wire and has held it as a captive ghost town ever since. As the inhabitants fled in haste, they left laundry hanging on the lines and half cooked rice on the stove. Forty-three years later, Varosha remains a shell of a once vibrant and thriving community; a mere bargaining chip for Turkey's negotiations with the Cyprus Republic. Its crumbling buildings are guarded by armed troops to this day, as its aging citizens await a return home.
If the island is reunited, Famagustians will be given the right to return home. When this happens, they will confront one of the largest reconstruction challenges Europe has seen since the end of World War II.
Vasia Markides - Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor: Director of Waking Famagusta and Founder/Director of The Famagusta Ecocity Project; A painter originally, Vasia completed her first documentary short in 2008. Hidden in the Sand is a chronicle of her mother’s hometown under Turkish occupation, which is now off limits within the six square kilometer fenced off abandoned district of Varosha. Hidden in the Sand has screened in venues and festivals across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Germany, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, France and Portugal. As a media maker, Vasia has worked with clients such as Oxfam America, Global Nomads Group and other human rights organizations. After launching the Famagusta Ecocity Project and directing a documentary about the effort, her team’s work gained worldwide media attention (CNN, BBC, Associated Press, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, National Geographic, Boston Globe, ABC News, U.S. News & World Report, TedX Limassol & more). In addition to working on her personal projects, she freelances as a filmmaker and video producer mostly in Maine, New York City and Cyprus.
Maria Stylianou - Producer: An independent film and media producer for fifteen years, Maria has worked on award winning films Stratos, Blunder of Bleeding Land (Doc), Semele, Dorothea, and The Palace (Academy Nomination Selection). She has worked with international media companies such as Discovery, History, Showtime, Konami, Bloomberg, iTv, Polsat, and BBC. Maria is also an active member and advocate of women and mothers in the film industry. Her most thrilling experience was riding a British Army Helicopter during a BA TVC filming, and producing two TEDx events in Cyprus.
Erika Sutter - Editor: Erika Sutter has been editing film, television and commercial content for over fifteen years. She has created work for a range of broadcast networks, independent directors, non-profit organizations and musicians. Her editing has been recognized by The New York Times and The International Wildlife Film Festival as well as receiving a CINE Golden Eagle Award and an Emmy Nomination.
Christina Lenis - Associate Producer: Christina Lenis is a documentary film/television producer. Her work has appeared on a variety of networks, both nationally and internationally, including SHOWTIME, PBS, History Channel and National Geographic. Show credits include: FRONTLINE’s Emmy-award nominated, “Middle School Moment”, SHOWTIME’s, Emmy-award nominated, “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth”, and History Channel’s “Brad Meltzer’s Lost History”, in which Ms. Lenis was part of the team that recovered the infamous 9/11 flag, raised by firefighters at Ground Zero. She is based in NYC, however is a die-hard Red Sox fan.
Armando Garma-Fernandez - Motion Graphics: Co-founder of the Famagusta Ecocity Project; Architect, Educator, and Visual Artist who is preoccupied with the environment and the construction of energy conscious infrastructure. His architecture experience focuses on renovation, restoration, adaptive reuse and the socially responsible use of resources. He also freelances as a motion graphics creator, animator, and editor. https://vimeo.com/user12416572; www.ecocityproject.com