Nikos Triantaphyllidis (1966-2016) in memoriam
He was born in Chicago, USA on the 9th of September. He studied sociology and communication at Panteion University of Athens. He continued his studies at the London International Film School (1990 -1992). I went to London to study films, at London International Film School, because I wanted to learn the language of cinema and its tricks. If there was a greek film industry, I wouldn’t mind do everything with the classical hierarchy. To make coffees, sweep the set and slowly to become an assistant director, until I would be able to grab a camera in my own hands. But, there wasn’t there was no such possibility here and it’s not the same thing to be on TV sets. Triandafyllidis believes that the biggest university he attended was living his life next to his father, Vassilis Triandafyllidis, in theatrical dressing rooms, nightclubs, popular cafés, TV sets and film adventures.
His first recognised short film is “Momus: Amongst Women Only” that was shot as part of his internship in the third quarter of his studies at the London International Film School. His graduation film “Dogs Licking My Heart)” with Blaine L. Reininger and Panagiotis Thanassoulis won the First Award for Fiction at the 7th Greek Short Film Festival in Drama in 1993, but not the necessary certificate of being Greek from the Ministry of Culture, so the film was excluded from the National Quality Awards of the same year. But nonetheless τhe film was screened in dozens of international festivals as… Greek! The same year Nikos Triantafyllidis directs in black and white super 8 mm film the video clip for the track “Den Choras Pouthena (You don’t fit anywhere)” by the band Trypes. The director, and close friend of the band, even directed a short film “souvenir” from the concert of Trypes at the legendary culn Marquee of London. At that concert, Nikos Triantafyllidis met Yiannis Aggelakas to the director Nikos Nikolaidis. Both films exist on the group’s cassette “A Journey That Never Ends – 1985-2000” first released in 2000. Years later, in 200, Nikos Triantafyllidis actively participates, following Yannis Angelakas , in the foundation and operation of the independent record label “All Together Now” with albums like “Breaths of Wolves” or “From Here and Up”.
In 1995, Nikos Triantafyllidis finishes his first feature film “Radio Moscow” with Svetlana Pankratova, Harry Klynn, Blaine L. Reininger, Kostas Gousgounis, Apostolos Souglakos and Dinos Iliopoulos. A Russina dancer that works at a Greek cabaret, becomes the bone of contention between her boss, a hired assassin and a violinist gambler. “Radio Moscow” tells the story of a Russian dancer that arrives after the collapse of “actually existing socialism” into a “planetary” cabaret, which represents, as Blaine Reininger, musician and actor in the film, said, “a modern duty free zone, a time without time, a place without a specific place”. Nikos Triantafyllidis was awarded with the Emerging Director Award at the National Awards of the Ministry of Culture. “Radio Moscow” travelled to lots of international film festivals, even receiving flattering comments from director Aki Kaurismaki, who described it as a “very stylish movie”.
In 1996, Nikos Triantafyllidis shoots for ET2 (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation), in super 16mm film the “tele-movie” “The Coat”, a free adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s book of the same name by him and Eugenia Lyroudia with Dinos Iliopoulos and Vassilis Diamantopoulos in the roles of the customer and the tailor accordingly. He thinks that it’s his first feature film. The movie was double-broadcasted by ET2 on 31.12.1996 and 1.1.1997. The film was the “last hurrah” of two great actors, Dinos Iliopoulos and Vassilis Diamantopoulos, as both of them passed away shortly after. In 1998 Nikos Triantafyllidis shoots, for ET2, the documentary for his favorite band, Tuxedomoon, with the title “No Tears”. The filming took place on the occasion of the band’s ten-year anniversary concert at the Lycabettus Theatre.
At the same time, Nikos Triantafyllidis collaborates with the writer Christos Chomenidis for the script of the film “Black Milk”. The film was completed in 1999. It stars Michael Marmarinos, Ierocles Michaelides, Tania Nasibian, Marissa Triantafyllidou, Renos Charalambidis, Myrto Alikaki, Themis Panou, Panagiotis Thanasoulis, Anna Masha, Blaine L. Reininger and Costas Gousgounis. The film was screened in many international festivals – especially in the USA – where it was much better received. Alekos, a writer in a creative dead end, cannot find a solution. So he escapes from reality thanks to his ability to travel through time and space. In 1999, at the age of 70, Screamin Jay Hawkins visited Greece and gave two concerts at the invitation of Nikos Triantafyllidis. The director filmed these concerts. Furthermore, he wandered with him through the streets of Athens, climbed up to the Acropolis porticoes and watched him talk to passers-by and open his heart, recalling the various events of his life. Being a great admirer
of Hawkins, he had in mind to creat a documentary about his work, life and problems with record labels. But, unexpectedly, two months after, Hawkins died. The archive that Triantafyllidis owned had now a different kind of meaning. It was a real monument. So based on it, he completed a documentary that manages to unfold the aspects of Hawkins’ personality while, at the same time, it is a tribute to the great artist. In addition to the documentary of Hawkins’ trip to Athens, the film includes rare footage of his earlier performances, as well as some very informative interviews with people who experienced him up close. The film won the First Award at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival and the Second State Documentary Film Award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in the framework of the Ministry of Culture’s Film Quality Awards. It was screened all over the world to rave reviews. Nikos Triantafyllidis also made appearances in front of the camera. He participated as an actor in the films “Clearance” (2009) and “The Second Man” (2013) by Fokionas Bogris, in the film “Thread” (2016) by Alexandros Voulgaris, in the film “Suntan” (2016) by Argyris Papadimitropoulos, as well as in documentaries: “Cinema Naked” (2010) by Dimitris Koliodimou-Vassos Gerga and “Strangers in a Foreign Country” (2009) by Dimitris Panagiotatos.
In February 2010 Jim Jarmusch himself asked Nikos Triantafyllidis for a shorter cut of the documentary “I Put A Spell On Me” that would focus on the relationship between the American director and Screamin Jay Hawkins. This footage was included in the new remastered Blue Ray edition of “Mystery Train”, released by Criterion. He worked as a freelance writer and radio producer (1988-1991) at the first private radio station-TOP FM with the show “Midnight Rider”-and at the BBC World Service when he lived in England. Triantafyllidis returned to radio with the show “Sentimental Education” through the frequency of 902 Left on FM. He returned, years later, as a staff member of the radio station “Sto Kokkino”, 105, 5 on FM, always keeping the title “Sentimental Education” for his show. A great lover of music, Nikos Triantafyllidis founded the audiovisual company Astra TV and, in 2002, inaugurated the concert venue Gagarin 205, on Liosia Street. Gagarin is still one of the main concert venues in Athens and has hosted very important artists of the domestic and international scene.
2014 is a very creative year for Nikos Triantafyllidis, as he returned behind the cameras both with the film “The Sentimentalists” and with the documentary series “The Haunts-Stories of Vulgar Civilisation”. In an interview of his with film critic Ilias Fragoulis about his 15-year absence from the cameras, he stated: “In fact, I was never really absent. I was just hibernating and woke up more alive than ever”. The movie “The Sentimentalists” began its journey in June 2014 and continued its screenings at major film festivals around the world, receiving excellent reviews. The documentary series “The Haunts-Stories of Vulgar Civilisation”, which is an important record of urban life in Athens, began airing on NERIT in August of the same year and continues with its third cycle through ERT.
His documentary “90 years of PAOK: Nostalgia for the future” is his last film, before he passes, in June 2016.
- 90 Years of PAOK: Nostalgia for the future (2016) – The whole movie for free
- The Sentimentalists (2014)
- The Haunts- Stories of Vulgar Civilisation
- Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Ι put a spell on me (2001)
- Black Milk (1999)
- Tuxedomoon: No Tears (1998)
- The Coat (1996)
- Radio Moscow (1995)
– NIKOS TRIANDAFYLLIDIS TALKS ABOUT HIS LIFE ON LIFO