It was in 1982 when Summer Lovers became the first international movie to be shot in Santorini and made the island famous all over the world. Almost 30 years later, another love story has found a gorgeous background on this island, Santorini Blue.
It took 5 years to shoot this film and many efforts to make it known worldwide, as the film has been produced by an independent film production company. In fact, it was back in 2003 when Deirdre Lorenz, model and actor from the United States, first came to Santorini and fell in love with this place.
"That time, the director, Matthew Panepinto, and I had traveled to Santorini for a wedding with a large group of dear friends", she told us, remembering the first time she set foot there. "The crescent shaped island, with its caldera and deep blue sea was so stunningly beautiful that we actually traveled back later in the summer, and then again the next summer. We were drawn to its rugged cliffs and surreal beauty. The unique and incredibly special nature of the island, coupled with the Greek history and culture, made us decide that this was a place where love could spark and, possibly, even rekindle between people. We knew that this was the right place for Santorini Blue to come alive."
More than the leading actress in the movie, Deirdre is also the producer and executive producer. A woman who takes destiny in her own hands, she set up her own production company that she called Thira Films, an obvious tribute to this magnificent Greek island. She has kindly talked to Greeka.com about the film, the shootings, the island and their effort to release the movie in cinemas.
The story of the movie is actually centered on a question, "Can love be rekindled?". Felix and Alexandra, a seemingly happy and married writer couple living in New York, are torn apart when she discovers that he has betrayed their love with an affair. After that, Alexandra decides to leave Felix and go alone on the honeymoon they always dreamed of in Santorini. She plans to continue writing on the island and confides in her manager (Richard Belzer), where she is going for her retreat.
However, Felix's life unravels on every level without his true love. Seeking counsel with his therapist (Ice T), he realizes that she was the foundation behind their beautiful life. Despite script deadline pressure from his producer (Dann Florek), Felix is determined to prove to her that he has truly changed. But will he be too late? He still has to find and convince her. After begging Richard for the information, Felix jumps on the next flight out.
The island is full of romance and temptation for both Felix and Alexandra... and it proves to be a perfect place to fall in love again with its breathtaking sunsets over the caldera of the volcano and the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea. But when an unexpected twist of fate reminds her of the heartbreak, the pain is too much. She has found great momentum in her new life. Will Alexandra forgive Felix?
In which spots of Santorini were the scenes shot and which season, Deirdre?
We used the spectacular location of Alexander's Boutique Hotel of Oia for our leading characters to stay since it is right on the cliffs of the volcano’s caldera and the rooms are exquisitely built and decorated traditional caves, very romantic and peaceful. We also shot on the ancient castle at the tip of Oia, down in the Bay of Amoudi, at Yazz Beach Bar in Perissa, out in the caldera and on Cupcake Island inside the caldera, along the boardwalk in Fira, in Oro Fine Gold and Jewelry Store by Bourtzoglou of Oia, on the gorgeous Santorini Sailing catamarin all around the island, on the traditional Greek sailing boat by Captain Giorgos, in the absolutely divine restaurant Candouni in Oia, at the amazing and classic sunset spot Tropical Bar in Fira, at Caldera View Bar and Hotel in Megalochori, at the art house and winery Art Space in Kamari, at Waves Bar in Vlihada, and we have a huge climactic scene at the fantastic traditional Greek taverna Santorini Mou with the owner and singer/musician/song writer Mihalis Hionas.
We shot all over the island... in hidden beach spots on and off the water, and more... This movie is a traveler's dream. For anyone who wants to discover the most hidden and the most special places, this movie shows you where to go. We shot in September and October, which are the most outstanding months on the island with the warm breezy days and cool, fresh nights. Talk about romance...
How difficult was it to adjust to the Greek reality and customs?
It was wonderful to meet new people and to experience the traditions of meal times, sharing food in big family-style lunches and dinners, and to eat all of the delicious food. There weren't many difficulties, just joy and bonding through creative collaboration. The Greek crew I hired from Athens came with great ideas and energy. We also had many Americans fly over to help with the shoot. It was a fantastic effort by everyone. We have all made life-long friendships that I will cherish forever. I would absolutely love to shoot another movie in Greece. Also the community leaders and other authorities in Santorini were completely supportive in every way possible.
Will the film be presented in cinemas?
I'm working to sell the movie for international distribution so that everyone can fall in love with Santorini and Greece. We have appeared in many festivals so far and have won numerous awards, including the coveted "Best of the Festival- Audience Choice Award" 1st and 3rd place at two festivals, and have received several award nominations, including Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor- Richard Belzer and Best Actress- Deirdre Lorenz.
My biggest goal, aside from selling the movie for a theatrical release, is to get the film accepted to the prestigious Thessaloniki International Film Festival this December. This would be our Greek premiere and would be a momentous celebration, as it has taken us five years of hard work to bring Santorini Blue to the big screen. We believe in this love story, and we hope others will enjoy it, as well. We also believe that this film would greatly increase Greek tourism by showing the beauty of Greece and its people to audiences around the world.
Good Luck, Deirdre, with all our heart!
Photos by Petros Kalfas