Following the major artistic and box office success of the film El Greco, Iannis Smaragdis takes on a new epic tale about Greece’s great benefactor, Ioannis Varvakis.
God Loves Caviar is the compelling story of Ioannis Varvakis, who started off as a pirate in the Aegean sea, reached the court of Catherine the Great in Russia and the shores of the Caspian Sea, and became a very wealthy businessman by establishing an international caviar trade. However, his ambition was met with many a tragedy, until he eventually decided to donate his entire fortune in the name of love. He returned to Greece, which was then torn by civil unrest, during the Revolution of 1821.
Despite the dire circumstances our country is facing, the producer, Eleni Smaragdis, successfully managed to assemble an exceptional group of people –actors and collaborators alike. Sebastian Koch (leading actor in The Live of Others – Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2007) portrays Ioannis Varvakis. Also participating are actors John Cleese who stated that “this production is perhaps the most enchanting I’ve ever been on”, the great diva of European cinema, Catherine Deneuve, renowned Russian actor Evgeny Stychkin, Olga Sutulova, Spanish actor Juan Diego Botto, who was awarded for his performance as the Grand Inquisitor in the film El Greco, Nick Ashdon (starred in El Greco). Other exceptional Greek actors participating in the film are Lakis Lazopoulos, Akis Sakellariou, Marisha Triantafyllidou, Alexandra Sakellaropoulou, Pavlos Kontoyannidis, Alexanros Milonas, Manos Vakousis, George Kotanidis as General Kolokotronis, Fotini Baxevani, Iannis Vouros, Irini Balta, Kris Radanov, Giorgos Makris, Lambros Ktenavos, Michalis Iatropoulos, Dimitris Mavros, Pete Rundle, Alex Antonopoulos, Iryna Bagdassarova, Giorgos Haralambidis, Kostas Sommer, Kostas Delakouras, Kostantza Konstantakopoulou, Melina Zaharopoulou and many more. Playing Prince Grigory Potemkin is Christopher Papakaliatis, as well as young Manos Tsagkarakis, Nikolas and Eugenia Theotoka.
Aris Stavrou is Director of Photography, whereas Nikos Petropoulos is responsible for all the sets (production designer, director, costume designer in major opera production in Greece and abroad). Lala Huete is once again the film’s exquisite costume designer (Goya award for El Greco, Bafta award for Pan’s Labyrinth), George Mavropsaridis is the film’s editor and Minos Matsas is the composer. Apart from the wonderful array of collaborators above, an enormous amount of people worked on the project from behind the scenes. With great zeal and dedication, they helped complete the film.
*Three crews constructed the elaborate sets of the film which included the ships, the Sanatorium, the houses, the palace, as well as many props of that era.
*Hundreds of books were purchased for the preparation of the script and the film in general, which included extensive Russian bibliography about caviar, Ioannis Varvakis and anything that pertained to that period. Historian Alexander Markov’s collaboration, a resident of Astrakhan, was invaluable. He has dedicated his life in researching all aspects of Ioannis Varvakis’ personality.
*The script was rewritten 33 times, with the involvement of four people: Panayotis Paschidis, Iannis Smaragdis, British scriptwriter Jackie Pavlenko and Russian scriptwriter Vladimir Valutsky.
*Maria Demas created the movie shot-by-shot for the three-volume storyboard, drawing all in all 960 sketches.
*300 costumes were constructed from scratch, whereas 800 were rented from Sastreria Cornejo in Spain, one of the largest and renowned costumes houses in the world.
*It took 400 cans of 35mm film; approximately 100 actors participated in the film and around 1.000 extras.
The film will be released in theatres on 11 October 2012 by Feelgood Entertainment.
Director: Iannis Smaragdis Producer: Eleni Smaragdis
Script: Panayotis Paschidis, Iannis Smaragdis, Jackie Pavlenko, Vladimir Valutsky.
Feelgood Entertainment has taken on the distribution of the film in Greece and Cyprus, in collaboration with SONY’s offices in Greece, SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT HELLAS.