Charmolypi: award to an author film

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The meaning of the title summarizes everything: Charmolypi. In Greek this word expresses two contrasting but coexisting emotions: joy and sadness. At the same time. There is nothing better than this title to explain the powerful and effective message that this short film leaves in the mind and heart of the viewer.

Only a soul deeply in love with the sea and beauty like Clauss Dragomir, photographer and athlete of the Omer Team who lives in Greece in the Peloponnese area, could feel the need to tell and show us what is happening in the sea. Because it is clear that the film is an act of love towards the planet and one towards the photographic composition, towards the pure aesthetic of the frame.

Thinking about it Charmolypi is much more. It is a vehicle, an instrument that through the use of the universal language of images accompanies us underwater to see the signs of our passage on the planet (none of us is excluded). We will be known for the tracks we have left, with these words that are the subtitle of the film, very hard, but very true, the vision can begin.

Do you already feel guilty? Well it’s normal. Because if there is something that Charmolypi leaves in the mind it is just that. The vision becomes an invitation to action and reaction. A stimulus for redemption. A promise to oneself and others to think that the sea, as well as the planet, are our only home. And now it’s up to us, but really, to take care of it.

When did you come up with the idea for this project?
About a year and a half ago. I was looking for a way to tell in a short time what my eyes see during the dives. My main job is to make videos for fashion companies. So I began to imagine a 5-6 minute short film that would combine the sea with fashion. And since the sea is full of plastic, the pace was short.

What is the relationship between these two so different worlds?
They are my worlds! The sea is my greatest passion, fashion is the environment I work for. But there is more. Fashion is an important business known worldwide. Using a model to tell about the damage of plastic at sea, making my project run seemed like a good solution to achieve my goal.

Let the world know what’s going on. I wanted to show people who have nothing to do with fishing and the sea what is in the bottom. What we humans, no one excluded, have done.

How did you see the sea conditions change?
I have been diving for 25 years. I have witnessed a huge deterioration. Between waste and lack of fish our sea is no longer the same. But I am convinced that we can do something. First take care of it.

Sudden worsening? Give us some examples.
During the work, after a bit of diving and shooting I felt that something was missing. That the material was not enough. So I tried to dive one kilometer from where we were working. A place where I usually don’t dive. As soon as I entered the water I found thousands of rubbish. Everywhere.

How did you feel?
I was surprised and sad with a great sense of helplessness and guilt. I realize how much man can be a beast (textual note). Then I think that if each of us dived to recover a single piece of plastic, everything would be different. We too few fishermen freedivers. Divers usually go diving in scenic and deep seabed. Hardly close to the coast, where it is actually very easy to find plastic.

What could be the solution?
Help each other. Do diving and apnea sessions dedicated to cleaning. There are already, let’s be clear. But they are few, very few indeed. More effort is needed. I can’t get out of my mind that anything we buy is made of or contains plastic. It seems like a provocative statement, in reality it is enough to look at a supermarket to understand that it is not so. Fortunately, not all of it ends up at sea, but too much.

Are you feeling optimistic or pessimistic?
Optimistic. (but he says it by taking a long pause).

Let’s go back to the film. How was the reception in Greece?
Very positive. Several fashion newspapers among which Marie Claire have dedicated articles and interviews to us. It was a nice surprise. But also a great encouragement to continue. Many people complimenting us asked us not to stop and move on. I showed it to the fishermen who go out to sea every day with their boats. They were flabbergasted, speechless. They have been living the sea daily for years, but only from the surface. Never would they have thought that the seabed was so polluted. They fish, but often throw plastic and broken nets into the water …

Will you take this short abroad?
Certainly. We were contacted by the Los Angeles Fashion Film Festival which will use it during the fashion week in the USA. Hopefully it’s just the beginning. The more people see it, the more people will react.

Is the topic of plastic deeply felt in Omer?
Absolutely yes. Last year we started a project called #OmerAgainstPlastic. Every athlete of the Athletes Team, as well as every enthusiast, is called to collect plastic and be photographed. The photo ends up on social media. It is thanks to this sensitivity that Omer has decided to help bear part of the production costs.

Do you often talk about us, how many have you shot?
We were 5, plus the model. In addition to the team that worked at sea, I want to thank Angie Andritsopoulou who created the net dress covered with sea waste.

How many days did you spend in the water?
The most complete calculation must also consider the time spent on preparation. My assistant and I have taken about ten days to choose the right locations and times. The filming took 3 and almost two months for editing and music.

When did you shoot?
Between October and November, with fairly cold water. The model was very good. She had the hardest job: diving in a costume and without a wetsuit …

How did you find the right one capable of free diving?
The model was a professional swimmer with the basics for freediving. I took her a one day course teaching her the basics and we started. It was very good. While not diving at great depths, about 7-8 meters at most, there were many difficulties to overcome.

For example?
He could not use the mask, the fins, the leads and he had to do everything with his eyes open. And then it was cold, we were in suit, she in costume. It doesn’t seem small to me.

What is your goal?
I do not aim to win prizes, but to show it to as many people as possible. My victory would be this. This is not a film of mine, but a film that I shot to declare my immense love to the sea. And when you love someone you want to protect him…