BENEATH THE OLIVE TREE 15+
CountryUSA | Greece, 2015
LanguageEnglish | Greek with English subtitles
Written by Sophia Antonini & Stavroula Toska
Produced by Sophia Antonini & Stavroula Toska
About the Director:
Born in Sindos, Greece, Stavroula Toska studied Marketing and PR in Thessaloniki before heading to Athens to pursue her dream of acting. That dream would take her to New York before stepping behind the camera for the first time with the award-winning Beneath the Olive Tree (2015).
These women were just so inspirational and strong, and just bad ass, that I had to tell the story as a documentary.” Filmmaker Stavroula Toska
A series of secret journals were found buried beneath an olive tree on the island of Trikeri, the site of a concentration camp during the Greek Civil War of 1946 to 1949. Inside were stories of thousands of everyday women – political exiles – accused of crimes they did not commit.
Despite being suppressed for years, their stories were so fierce they stretched across the decades to inspire a young Greek woman in New York, Stavroula Toska, to track down the few surviving women who were teenagers at the time. Two of the original notebook writers even emerged. And little did she know that asking her own mother a simple question about the civil war would change her life forever.
Narrated by Toska’s mentor Olympia Dukakis – and using an evocative combination of archival footage, contemporary interviews and motion capture technology – Beneath the Olive Tree is an exposé of courage, ideals, forgiveness, healing, and the important role our past plays in our present and future.
Winner of the Van Vlahakis Award for Innovative Filmmaking at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival.