MANA: Director’s Statement

When I first met the nuns 20 years ago, I was both fascinated by their resilience and amazed at how the children who were there seemed to have a self-confidence and sense of belonging.  Lyrio was their home and they were proud of it.  It was also interesting to see so many people from all over Athens visiting on weekends, bringing all sorts of things, spending time with the children and helping in the cooking.  It was a much broader community than just the nuns and the children, it expanded beyond the walls of the Lyreio grounds.
It took me many years to convince the nuns to let me make a film about them and the village. They always put me off with a smile. Three years ago, they finally agreed to let me film. In part it might have had something to do the financial  crisis Greece was in, the fact that they were getting older, and that their story was of interest and meaningful. For me, it was an opportunity to show a positive side of Greece and Greeks, albeit with their shortcomings, but potentially enormously giving of themselves.
Valerie Kontakos, March 2015

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