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Center for Jewish History
10011, NY
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24 February



Directed by Drey Kleanthous
USA and Greece, 2019, 38 min
Greek with English subtitles
NY Première

LIFE WILL SMILE is based on the incredible true story of an entire Jewish community surviving WWII, thanks to the brave actions of the people on the Greek island of Zakynthos. When SS officer Kommandant Lutt arrived on the island of Zakynthos in 1943 to implement The Final Solution, the fate of the islands 275 Jewish inhabitants rested upon the shoulders of the Island's young Mayor, Lucas Karrer, and Bishop Chrysostomos. They were given 24-hours to hand over a detailed list with all the names, addresses, and possessions of the islands Jews, who were destined for deportation to the Nazi extermination camps. By tricking the SS, together with the rest of the Zakynthiots, they ultimately saved the entire Jewish population. This is widely accepted to be one of the few Jewish communities in the whole of Europe to survive the Holocaust intact, without losing a single one of its members. For their courage, Mayor Karrer and Bishop Chrysostomos received Yad Vashems honor of Righteous Among the Nations in 1978, and Zakynthos was given the affectionate name of the Island of the Righteous. Exclusively narrated by one of the Jewish survivors of Zakynthos, Haim Konstantini, who was a 9-year-old boy at the time, the dramatic events are seen through his innocent eyes. A suspenseful, emotionally charged journey of salvation, where ordinary people defy the odds and survive, LIFE WILL SMILE brings home the powerful message that solidarity, tolerance, and courageous leadership are, once again, needed today as much as they have ever been.

Director bio:
As the founder of Nomadic Films, Drey Kleanthous has more than two decades of experience in film and advertising. Drey believes in the importance of developing compelling narratives to engage with audiences, push conversations forward, and open up thought-provoking discussions that might ultimately drive change. He is honored to have been given the opportunity to tell Haims incredible story about the courageous people of Zakynthos. He is currently working on the narrative version of the incredible survival story of the 275 Jews of Zakynthos during World War II, titled ZANTE.



Directed by Agnes Sklavou and Stelios Tatakis
Produced by: Stelios Tatakis, Co-producer: Cosmote TV
Greece, 2019, 68 min
Greek with English subtitles

Short Synopsis:
ROMANIOTES is a thoughtful portrait of a little-known Greek-Jewish community in the city of Ioannina. Living in Greece since the 4th century B.C.E., their centuries-long interactions with Christians and Muslims makes them stand out from other Jewish communities.

Long Synopsis:
ROMANIOTES is a thoughtful portrait of a little-known Greek-Jewish community in the city of Ioannina. Living in Greece since the 4th century B.C.E., their centuries-long interactions with Christians and Muslims makes them stand out from other Jewish communities. Facing extinction during WWII, the community still remains an integral part of the multicultural mosaic of the city of Ioannina. The documentary presents the history of Romaniotes in relation to the city of Ioannina, their multiple waves of immigration, the preservation of their identities, and their coexistence with the citys other communities.

Director bios:

AGNES SKLAVOU- Director/ Script-writer
Agnes Sklavou was born in London and studied French Literature at National Kapodistrian University and Film Directing at the Lykourgos Stavrakos Film School, Athens, Greece. Since 1992 she has worked as assistant director on various feature films and TV series. As a director, her first documentary O KIR ORFEAS (2004) won the Best Directing Award at 6th International Doc Fest of Kalamata. Since 2007 she directed several TV series: SAFE SEX, PIRA KOKKINA YALIA, and O AGGELOS MOU O DIAVOLOS MOU. She has also directed three short films and four documentaries with Stelios Tatakis.

STELIOS TATAKIS - Producer-Editor-Director
Stelios Tatakis was born in Athens, Greece, and for over 25 years has worked as an editor, director and producer for commercials and corporate videos for companies like Fage, Ion, Elais, Revoil, Loumidis, Sarantis, National Bank, Millenium Bank, National Pinacotheque, and the Bureau of Antiquities. He has also edited feature films and various TV-documentaries: IMEROLOGIA ERGASIAS, 100 YEARS OF CINEMA, and PARASKINIO, all for ERT. He won the 1st Prize for Editing Award at Greek Advertising Festival in 2000 and 2001 and was awarded with the Editing Award in 2015 for the documentary SACKING PHOCAEA and in 2019 for ROMANIOTES: THE GREEK JEWS OF IOANNINA at Docfest.


Center for Jewish History (View)
15 West 16th Street
10011, NY 10011
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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