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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)





MY SWEET CANARY (Israel, Turkey, Greece, 2011) opened the 13th Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival to a full enthusiastic audience and standing ovations. Director Roy Sher and two singers featured in the film, Mehtap Demir and Martha D. Lewis, attended a Q and A after both screenings of the film.


In response to a question from the audience of how his fascination with Roza began, Roy explains: ‘My first interaction with Roza was through hearing her and her Jewish origin and I also fell in love with her music… I heard Roza’s music and only after listening more and more I went back in time and I learned about the name Roza Eskenazi. Now like when a man meets a woman there is the first temptation. So, for me the first temptation with Roza was her Jewish name. But this was only the first temptation. After this, when I started to learn about her life story and I listened to her music, which was not easy for Western ears, but after learning more and more and realizing that always the only thing we had for Roza I also fell in love with her music and this was the beginning of this journey.’

One question from the audience to Roy was: ‘What is your experience and emotions of making this film:’

ROY: The film for me, it was about meeting people. I fell in love. Everything happened to me. I got everything and lost everything. Like Roza said, ‘it’s not about the end prize it’s about the journey, the road.’

One audience member announced to the singers: ‘You are beautiful. You are gorgeous and you sing beautifully.’ Another viewer stated hopefully: ‘We are all Mediterranean…maybe this is a new start to reunite our cultures again.’

MEHTAP: I studied my PHD in music anthropology, my subject was about Turkish music practices in Israel. That’s why we met with Roy and I met Ribetiko music and Roza Eskenazi.

Transcribed by Vanessa McMahon March 26, 2011

View film trailer here:

Read interview with Roy here:


TDF summary of film:
“Roza Eskenazi sang the way she lived, with passion, fire and love. This is the story of three young musicians from Greece, Turkey, and Israel, who embark on an exciting musical journey to tell the story of Greece’s best-known and best-loved rebetiko singer for the first time on film. It’s a journey that will take them from Istanbul to Thessaloniki and to Athens, following the musical trail she left behind. Most of all, it’s a journey into a world that has largely vanished, but whose sounds continue to echo throughout the Mediterranean Basin.”


  singer: Mehtap Demir

singer Martha D. Lewis


photos from Q and A Thessaloniki screening. Click on photos for larger image.


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