Monday
May232011

ASTRONOMYTHS now screening also in Macao, Hong Kong and Brazil – Our story

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new". Albert Einstein said that. I will take his word for it and make the mistake of blowing my own horn. White Tower Media is the proud father of "Astronomyths", the digital planetarium show, and at the same time owner of the tech news site WTMNews.gr. Given these facts, it is still a great pleasure to announce our new licensing agreements with planetaria in China and Brazil as they mark an entry into two very promising markets. I think it is also one of the hundreds of small interesting stories that never get heard. So, here is my take.

Our 3D animation (not stereoscopic) movie, ASTRONOMYTHS, is a digital planetarium film that blends modern astronomy with ancient Greek mythology. Conceived to be a tetralogy of shows, one for each season, this first movie refers to the Autumn Sky. The storyline travels you through the autumn constellations and the respective ancient Greek myths after which they were named. Pretty cool, with some breathtaking full-dome scenes. If you find yourself in Thessaloniki, drop by the magnificent Noesis Technology Museum to watch "Asterismoi & Mythoi" (Αστερισμοί & Μύθοι). It will soon be playing in Athens too. But luckily, not only. It is a Greek production that travels and plays all over the world. Living proof of Greek products potential, which is limited only by our imagination. And to quote that great man again, Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. I think he was on to something.

The  show is now playing in planetaria in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, UK, Germany, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Korea, Japan and now China, with 95% of sales actually delivered directly by ourselves. Even though we signed distribution agreements with the major planetarium equipment manufacturers, it seems - to blow our own horn yet again - that we did a pretty good job at promoting our product ourselves and building this expertise in house.

The production was privately funded, i.e. without state or EU subsidies and we had to deploy an ultra lean-and-mean approach to building the product. Following the completion of the first production we did actually apply for funding by the European Union MEDIA program, twice!, for the development of the remaining 3 shows of the tetralogy but both times we were rejected. As the expert examiners phrased it: “did not know how to budget and plan production properly”. Hmm … I guess this is the reason our show plays in 14 countries while those that did know how to produce are now DVDs in the European Commission’s storage room. We also had a talk with the Greek Film Center some years ago and if I recall correctly the executive responsible said: “who cares about planetaria?!”. My first compulsion would be to recall that very famous quote of Albert's regarding the infinity of the universe and human stupidity but I won't. Instead I will present facts: 700+ planetaria in 50 countries. Tens of millions of students that visit them annually. Teachers who spent time preparing study material for the educational excursion.

I am not as smart as Einstein but I have come to this conclusion: Different people see things in different light. The same goes in Greece, Europe and the world. There are those who have dreams and make them happen and there are those who do not. Period. It would be nice if the latter did not stand in the way of the former but that is not possible either. So we go on like this. The same way humanity has for millenia. There are small teams of young people (Greeks too) with dreams, talent and sheer determination that make a difference and pop up in the most unexpected places. We managed to produce ASTRONOMYTHS because such an exceptional, young, talented and highly motivated group of individuals made it happen. Together, we climbed up a very steep and slippery mountain. Together, we managed to turn serious doubts about our ability to deliver a world-class production with minimal resources, into the enthusiastic applause of student audiences around the world. I never realized how powerful and yes, rewarding the phrase “M'am, can we see it again?" could be.

I always studied quotes but now in these difficult times when the vast majority of our fellow citizens have totally ignored for decades our predecessors’ wisdom, the question is what do we do? Which one do we pick? As someone told me at the start of my career “you have it inside you and no-one can take it away from you”. And of course that goes for everyone who has a dream and makes it happen. Greece is in a pickle nowadays to say the least. And it is generally stated that positive forces are scarse. I strongly disagree. We are many. But we are marginalized. My conviction is that we will not be pushed aside for long. The people who build the new world (Greece included) exist now and will drag along the rest. Make no mistake. It will be a very long and hard road and more often than not, a very lonely path. But a successful one. Make no mistake about that either.

Thanks Albert!

Konstantinos Giantsios

astronomyths_team

Direction & Script: Yannis Zafeiriou | Original Idea & Scientific Supervision: Dionysios P. Simopoulos | Production Manager: Konstantinos Giantsios | Animation & SFX Supervisor: Sakis Kaleas | Original Music: Nikolas Labrinakos | Music production: Mark Warman | Music mix: Metropolis Studios London | Surround sound mix engineer: Matt Lawrence | Mix assistant: Declan Gafney | Sound design & final sound mix: Spyros Aravositas | Voice Cast: Old Man-Jeff Bear, Boy-Achilleas Vriniotis, Computer/ Andromeda/ Medusa-Anna Karakalos | Montage: Nikos Moutselos, Sakis Bouzanis – 235 S.A. | Animators: Manolis Douvitsas, Yiannis Papadakos, Marios Vlachos, Yiannis Konstantinou |Storyboard & Conceptual Artwork: Apostolos 'AMIS' Michailides | Freelance Animators: Dimitris Dagdilellis, Athena Papadopoulou, Alexander Arapantonis | Producer: Konstantinos Giantsios | Production: White Tower Media Productions



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