Veteran Greekdirector Theo Angelopoulos is probablythe only name internationallyrecognisable among his local peers. If the Greekfilm industry has any hope of making an impact in the internationalmarket this lies with a handful of new directors who have the means and thetalent required.

Womanwriter/director Olga Malea is probably the most prominent among there - . withthree box office hits to her credit, Malea is currently putting the finaltouches to her latest film Sugar AndSpice.

Her first outing, The Cow's Orgasm (1997) was madeindependently after her script was turned down by the Greek Film Center."Fortunately my producers, Panos Papahadzis and Pandelis Mitropoulos, not onlymade their money back, but also enjoyed considerable profit. Thus I was able togo ahead and make my next project" says Malea.

Her second (The Mating Game 1999) and third (Risotto 2000) films were even biggerhits in Greece, leading the forty-something filmmaker to Sugar And Spice, probably hermost provocative cinematic outing.

Malea says that "Sugar And Spice is once more a comedybut with a cutting edge, as it touches upon the issue of child molesting. Thestory develops around an adoring piglet which, searching for loukoumades (akind of Greek doughnut), reveals thesecrets of a whole community. Even more than my previous films, Sugar And Spice is dangerously playingbetween comedy and drama. We did a couple of test screenings a few days ago andI was very happy as I felt that the film is working as a comedy provoking fullhearted laughter to the audience. At the same time however one is constantlyaware of the underlying drama".

Despite herprevious successes, Malea encountered serious obstacles to getting the filmfinanced, probably because of the delicate subject matter, never before tackledin the local film industry. After two years of searching she managed to secure the backing of producer Tassos Papandreou (who also producedRisotto). "Papandreou is a veryopen-minded person, says Malea, and we work very well together. He has anunmistakable instinct about story telling and about casting. His advice isinvaluable to me."

Papandreou, thoughintrigued by the originality of Sugar AndSpice, also wanted to split the risk. Greek TV channel MEGA, distributorPandelis Mitropoulos (Prooptiki S.A.)and the Greek Film Center decided to get involved in the project asco-producers and to back the picture'smodest Euros 600,000 budget.

Malea considers Sugar And Spice to be "a deeply moralfilm. Its aim," says the director "is to make as many people as possible talkabout the issue of child molesting and face the issue. I believe it's the onlyway to stop this from happening in silence too close to us".

The film was shotduring eight weeks in Athens and the provinces and is due to hit the screensearly next year distributed by Prooptiki's Mitropoulos who is also handlinginternational sales. Before that, this provocative and impressive piece of filmmaking should be able to secure a berth in a major international festival.

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