The life of Anna Kannava will be celebrated by the 2012 Greek Film Festival with the launch of her book, Stefanos of Limassol – a parable on belonging, love and loss, amidst a distant glimpse of hope for the reunification of Cyprus.
Anna formed a strong relationship with her publisher and senior editor at Ilura Press, Christopher Lappas. He told Neos Kosmos, “It was difficult to resist Anna’s enthusiasm and vision. Anna touched us all. She exuded an immense zest for life, right up until the end.”
We asked Christopher about the editing process. “We worked with Anna on her novel for over two years. Because of her illness, and the difficulties she had typing on a keyboard, it was a longer process than usual, but it was always enjoyable and full of creative energy. Several interns assisted with the novel along the way. Anna was particularly grateful to Jo-Roxy Vaegan-Lloyd who was involved in the very early stages when we were still shaping the structure and developing the characters. Some vigorous exchanges and opinions came out of those early discussions, and some of the characters in the original manuscript didn’t make into the final draft, while others were completely reshaped. It was a rewarding experience for the young editors who were a part of that process.”
The filmmaker turned to writing when she was too unwell to make movies. And now, we have the legacy of her art in film and book form.
Anna Kannava was born in Cyprus and migrated to Melbourne in 1974 at the age of 15 with her mother and two brothers. She studied drama, art, photography, film and screenwriting; and worked as an animator, actor, writer and director.
Despite being hampered for most of her adult life by a debilitating condition, scleroderma, Anna completed a number of highly personal and poetic films. As well as the fictional features Dreams for Life (2004) and Kissing Paris (2008), her filmography includes the acclaimed documentaries Ten Years After, Ten Years Older (34mins, 1986) about her return to Cyprus; and The Butler (58mins, 1997) focusing on her family, especially her brother, Nino. These two films come together in a rare screening at the Greek Film Festival, along with Kannava you Can’av’er (1min, 1980).
After a ten-month fight against cancer, Anna died on 5th May 2011 at the age of 51. As she battled through physical limitations, she never stopped dreaming and planning her next project. She was an inspiration to all who knew her.
The book Stefanos of Limassol will be launched by acclaimed Melbourne author Arnold Zable on Thursday 1 November at 6:30 pm at Palace Como, 299 Toorak Road, South Yarra (cinema 1) prior to the film session and will be available to purchase in the foyer. To book tickets to this event visit www.greekfilmfestival.com
If you miss the screening, books will be available at all good bookstores and online through www.ilurapress.com