The humorous and uplifting story of two ingenious Greek cousins and five village women, who tackle the world market with their homegrown tomatoes, premieres at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival (7-17 February 2019).
The quirky and inspiring tale of how a village used organic farming to overcome the Greek financial crisis, screens at the Berlinale’s popular Culinary Cinema section, which offers food for thought with films about the pleasures and dark sides of food.
This year, the 13th Berlinale Kulinarisches Kino under the title “A Taste for Balance” from February 10 to 15, features 10 documentaries and two fiction films about the relationship between food, culture and politics. Top chefs Angela Hartnett, Sebastian Frank, Haya Molcho, Kiko Moya, and The Duc Ngo will serve menus inspired by the films while Yotam Ottolenghi will present his new book.
Filmmaker Mariana Economou’s documentary – whose last film, ‘The Longest Run’, was nominated by the European Film Academy for the Best Documentary Award – is set in the tiny village of Elias, amid the mountainous bound plains of Thessaly, central Greece. It follows the turn of events when Christos, a traditional farmer, turns his land to the organic cultivation of tomatoes. In his cousin Alexandros’ house, village women begin to pasteurize the tomato and hand package it as tomato paste and meals. Soon, the little jars find their place on the shelves of organic stores across the world.
The film is a story about an ordinary rural community where things start to happen in an extraordinary way. After centuries of introversion, the tomato stirs up life in the village and its thirty three elderly inhabitants respond to the new reality. On top of this, Alexandros plays Wagner in the tomato fields to help them grow, uses stories to market the products and convinces people from all over the world to visit Elias.
With humour and poetry, When Tomatoes Met Wagner speaks to us about the power of human relationships and the importance of reinventing oneself during difficult times.
The film premieres on Tuesday February 12 (Cubix Cinema, 15.30) and Wednesday February 13 (Gropius Bau Cinema, 22.00) is also nominated for the Berlinale’s prestigious Glashütte Original – Documentary Award 2019. It will also screen at the European Film Market.
The documentary is produced by STEFI&Lynx and ΑΝΕΜΟΝ Productions, in coproduction with the Greek Film Centre and COMOTE TV, with the support of Creative Europe MEDIA, 2|35 and ΕΡΤ. The development of the film took place at Docs in Progress 2018 at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival, Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes and at the IDFA Forum.
Film director Marianna Economou studied anthropology, photojournalism and film production in London. Since 2000, she directs and produces documentary series and independent films of Greek production and co-productions with European broadcasters such as the BBC, ARTE and YLE.