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Tribeca Film Festival 2018 Interview: Marios Piperides (Director/Writer) and Janine Teerling (producer) - Smuggling Hendrix

“Smuggling Hendrix” delivers a dark comedy about the borders and occupation in the island of Cyprus, through the journey of a man and his dog. Part of Cyprus has been occupied by Turkish forces since 1974 and this divided island is the origin of ethnical and political issues.

Yiannis (Adam Bousdoukos), a failed musician, is looking to leave Cyprus for good. But his plans change when his beloved dog Jimi, runs away and escapes across the UN-buffered border separating the Greek and Turkish sections of the island.

Getting Jimi back proves to be a very challenge task for Yiannis, as regulations prohibit live animals from being taken across the border. Yiannis journey for a solution to bring his dog home encounters many unique characters, including a professional smuggler and a Turkish settler. The many comic episodes are based in a deadly serious conflict that unfortunately seems to have no end in sight.

We sat down with writer/director Marios Piperides and Producer Janine Teerling to talk about the political tension lived in the Island, the humanity of the characters in the fil, their identity questions and more.  

Smuggling Hendrix screens as part of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in its International Narrative Competition April 18 – 29 at various venues around New York City. Find more information on the film here

The film reflects  the tension lived in Cyprus, a divided country between the Greek and Turkish side, through the Journey of a dog, Hendricks. Were you trying to make a political statement?

Marios Piperides: Indirectly, of course, basically showing the current status quo. Things are not moving for the past 44 years. I didn't want to take any sides, I just wanted to show the things as they are in both sides. This is how it is, it shouldn't be like this anymore and it's time to move on. It's time to unify the island. The division of the island doesn't work the way it is currently. The people want to be together, there is no hatred between them.

To Janine Teerling: What made you take on this project as a producer?

We have worked together before in a previous film and it was also a collaborative idea. We developed the project together. Marios was born and raised in Cyprus and because I'm Dutch you get also an outside point of view. If you, let's say, have a political agenda it's good to discuss with an outsider.

photo by Mustafa Önder

The film also deals with Identity issues, such as the character Hasan (Fatih Al), who is a Turkish settler.

M: Yes. People ask, am I Greek Cypriot?  Or first Greek and then Cypriot? There are some people that have these questions of nationality. Sometimes you don't know where to belong. You have the Greek culture, the language, the religion, the same national anthem, both Flags- Cypriot and Greek flag. The same occurs with the Turkish Cypriots, their cultural background, religion and language. With the character of Hasan, his parents were Turkish and the Turkish government brought them to the Island, they gave them jobs and a house. They had a political agenda of course, to change  the demographics of the island. But, for somebody who is born after 1974, you grew up there, you get married, have kids, which are Cypriot, they don't know anything else. This is their country, where they were born and raised, what they know. So it's hard to tell them you don't belong here, you should go back. At one point this becomes a humanitarian question, what do you do with these people, so we tried to show it from the human side of the problem.

J:  You only hear them as numbers by both sides because they are used for political reasons. You only hear there's so many settlers and that they have to go back which feeds this hatred towards people. So what we tried to do was also to give them a face. Hasan is not a statistic, he has a family, and dreams.

photo by Mustafa Önder

The actors were really well cast, you have Yiannis, played by the greek actor Adam Bousdoukos, who lives in Germany and has worked there extensively.

M: Adam fit the profile for Yiannis, he's also a musician, he has his own band. One of the songs in the film is from his band which was a perfect song and lyrics for the film.

photo by Mustafa Önder

As a first feature filmmaker from Cypruss, any advice for aspiring filmmakers?

M: Finding the story is the most important thing. Something that you really believe in, because it's a long process to make a film. It can take 5-6 years. You really need to love the story and develop the characters, believe in them, try to work as much as possible on it, to be able to reach the best results and you need a lot of patience.

About the director: Marios Piperides is a writer, director, and producer living in Cyprus, where he runs his own film production company, AMP Filmworks. In parallel to his primary work as a producer, Marios has written and directed two short films and a documentary. Smuggling Hendrix is his first feature film as a writer and director.

Interview conducted by Lia Fietz











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About Tribeca Film Festival

Online Dailies Coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival, April 17-28, 2013


The Tribeca Film Festival brings together local, national, and international talent to provide the New York City, downtown community with five days of screenings, educational workshops, and various special events.
Live coverage with dailies from Lia Fietz, Suzanne Lynch, Claus Mueller, Maria Esteves 


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