Chevalier

Germany, Greece 2015

Synopsis

In the middle of the Aegean Sea, on a luxury yacht,
six men on a fishing trip decide to play a game.
During this game, things will be compared.
Things will be measured.
Songs will be butchered, and blood will be tested. Friends will become rivals and rivals will become hungry. But at the end of the voyage, when the game is over,
the man who wins will be the best man.
And he will wear upon his littlest finger the victorious signet ring: the “Chevalier”.

Biography

Athina Rachel Tsangari holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and Drama from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her introduction to cinema came by a happy accident: while visiting Austin, Texas, she fell into a small role in Richard Linklater’s seminal film SLACKER (1991), right before entering NYU's Performance Studies M.A. program.

After graduation, she returned to Austin to study film directing at the University of Texas. Her first short film, FIT, was a finalist at the Student Academy Awards®. Her M.F.A. thesis feature was a lo-fi sci-fi road movie, THE SLOW BUSINESS OF GOING (2001), shot on the fly in hotel rooms in nine cities around the world. The 2002 Village Voice Critics Poll listed it as one of the year’s “best first films” and it resides in MoMA’s permanent film collection.

While a student and later a film lecturer at UT-Austin, she co-founded and directed the Cinematexas International Short Film Festival (1997-2007) as a showcase of pioneering experimental cinema and sonic art.

She was invited by the Athens 2004 Olympic Games to serve as the projections designer and video director for its extraordinary opening and closing ceremonies, and has been working as a projections designer ever since, in parallel with her film work. In 2009, she created a unique series of in-situ large-scale HD projections for the inauguration of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Her second feature, ATTENBERG (2010), premiered in main competition at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Coppa Volpi Award for Best Actress (Ariane Labed). It won more than a dozen awards at festivals world-wide, was Greece’s official submission to the 2012 Academy Awards®, and was runner-up for the Lux prize for Best European Film.

For over ten years she has operated Haos Film, a successful production company & post-production studio based in Athens. Among her credits as a producer are three films directed by Yorgos Lanthimos — KINETTA (2005), DOGTOOTH (2009, Un Certain Regard prize winner at Cannes), and ALPS (2011, Osella Award winner at Venice) along with a variety of documentaries and debut films by rising young directors. She was also a co-producer on Richard Linklater's BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013), filmed in Greece — wherein she also appeared as an actress.

THE CAPSULE (2012), written in collaboration with Polish artist Aleksandra Waliszewska, was commissioned by the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art as both a short film and an installation. It premiered at dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, followed by successful screenings at the Locarno, Toronto and Sundance film festivals.

She was one of 70 directors invited by the Venice Film Festival to participate in the commemorative project "Venezia 70 - Future Reloaded", for which she made a short science fiction film, 24 FRAMES PER CENTURY (2013). Also in 2013, she directed two episodes of the historical-drama TV series, BORGIA, executive produced by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson.

She was a jury member at the 2013 Berlinale, headed by jury president Wong Kar Wai. She also served as a creative advisor at the 2012 and 2014 Sundance Feature Film Program Directing Lab. In 2014 she directed a short film for the renowned Costa Navarino region in Messinia, working with Academy Award®-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael.

Her third feature CHEVALIER (2015) — a buddy comedy set on a yacht in the Aegean Sea — premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. It won the Best Film prize in official competition at the BFI-London Film Festival 2015. It also received a Best Actor prize for its all-male ensemble cast, and a Jury Special Mention for directing, from the Sarajevo IFF. It had its North American premiere at the Toronto IFF, followed by the New York Film Festival to critical acclaim.

In 2014 she was invited to Harvard University’s Visual and Enviromental Studies department as a visiting lecturer in film production, and received the Film Study Center’s Robert Gardner Fellowship. For 2015 Harvard has invited her for a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship in cinema, where she will research and develop her passion project, the science-fiction film DUNCHARON (co-written with longtime Haos Film partner Matt Johnson, and previous winner of the "ARTE France Cinéma" Award for development projects at Rotterdam’s CineMart).

Recently she was also honoured to be named the Lincoln Center Film Society’s 2015 Filmmaker in Residence, a prestigious creative initiative sponsored by Jaeger-Le Coultre (its two previous honorees were Andrea Arnold and Lisandro Alonso), during which she will develop her screenplay WHITE KNUCKLES, an action-noir-comedy, also co-written with Matt Johnson.

As a writer-director she is represented by ICM

Filmography:
2013 - THE BENAKI MUSEUM, short promotional (director, writer)
2013 - 24 FRAMES PER CENTURY, short, part of “Venezia 70 Cinema Reloaded” (director, co-writer, producer, production designer)
2013 - BEFORE MIDNIGHT (actress, co-producer)
2012 - PEARBLOSSOM HWY (producer)
2012 - THE CAPSULE, short (co-writer, director, producer)
2011 - ALPS (producer)
2010 - ATTENBERG (director)
2010 - LOVERS OF HATE (executive producer)
2009 - INSTANT INSTANTS (director)
2009 - DOGTOOTH (associate producer)
2008 - MARINA #5, short (cinematographer, director)
2006 - PALESTINE BLUES, doc video (co-producer, cinematographer, editor)
2005 - KINETTA (producer)
2001 - THE SLOW BUSINESS OF GOING (director, co-producer, co-writer)
1996 - ANTICIPATION, short (co-writer, co-director, co-producer)
1995 - PLANT #1, short (director, producer)
1995 - FIT, short (writer, director)
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Athina Rachel Tsangari

Written by : Efthimis Filippou, Athina Rachel Tsangari

Produced by : Maria Hatzakou, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Athina Rachel Tsangari

Director of Photography : Christos Karamanis

Editor : Matthew Johnson, Yorgos Mavropsaridis

Production Design : Anna Georgiadou

Costume Design : Vassilia Rozana

Hair & Make up Artist : Evi Zafeiropoulou, Daniel Babek

Sound Design : Leandros Ntounis

Main Cast : Yorgos Kendros (Doctor), Panos Koronis (Yorgos), Vangelis Mourikis (Zozef Nikolaou), Makis Papadimitriou (Dimitris), Yorgos Pirpassopoulos (Yiannis), Sakis Rouvas (Christos)

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Selection 2016