“Amerika Square”: Greece’s Submission for the 2018 Foreign-Language Oscars

The Greek Film Centre has selected Yannis Sakaridis’ “Amerika Square“, a timely story of the opposing forces facing today’s humanitarian crisesas the country’s candidate for consideration for the 2018 best foreign-language film Oscar.

The film, the second feature by Sakaridis, premiered last year in Busan and has won awards around the world since, including best feature at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival this year.

The story revolves around tattoo artist Billy (Yannis Stankoglou) and his best mate, the unemployed Nakos (Makis Papadimitriou), who often hang out in the eponymous Athens square of the title.

Nakos blames immigrants and refugees for his country’s problems, projecting his own sense of inadequacy on others. Billy believes welcoming refugees is the correct response to the crisis of people fleeing war. When the two meet Tarek (Vassilis Koukalani), the stage is set for their own conflict.

The film stars Yannis Stankoglou, Makis Papadimitriou, Vassilis Koukalani, Themis Bazaka, Ksenia Dania, Vangelis Mourikis and Alexandros Logothetis.

Amerika Square is based on a novel by Yannis Tsirbas, who was one of an ensemble team of scriptwriters. Sakaridis, who began his career in the cutting room, both directed and edited the film.