On November 12, veteran day-time television actor John Aniston, father of Jennifer, hosted the premier of a new Greek American documentary titled The Promise of Tomorrow, 1940 to 1960.
The premier was held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.
The documentary focuses on first and second generation Greek Americans living in southern California and their quest to find a balance between maintaining their Hellenic heritage while living as Americans in the United States.
The Promise of Tomorrow, 1940 to 1960 is the second instalment in a trilogy of documentaries.
The three stories aim to illustrate in depth details of Greek American life, and is narrated by Olympia Dukakis.
The latest piece explores the generation that lived through World War II, featuring interviews with a number of expatriates who served in the U.S. military.
Prominent Greek Americans involved in the entertainment industry and politics also feature in the documentary, including head of Fox Film Entertainment Jim Gianopoulos, former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and actor Rita Wilson.
While hosting the premier, Aniston talked of how his father and uncle shortened their family last name from Anastassakis when they first settled in the United States.
This proved a common practice for many migrants arriving from Greece, as a last name that was easily pronounced seemed to aid them blend in to their new environment.
Rita Wilson’s father got the idea for her last name from a street sign near the family home.
When interviewed in the documentary, Wilson discusses her connection to the Saint Sophia Greek Church in Los Angeles, where her and her husband Tom Hanks are long-standing members.
The Promise of Tomorrow was written and directed by Anna Giannotis, and is expected to speak to people of various ethnic groups, not just those of Greek descent.
The film not only serves as a historical documentation to educate future generations of Greek Americans, but also portrays the common struggles faced by immigrants to the United States.