Panikos Panayiotou has created a series of documentaries about the Cypriot diaspora, focusing on the experiences of women who left Cyprus for a better future abroad. His works include “Queens of Amathus” (2019), “Queens of the Commonwealth” (2021), and the upcoming “Queens of Aphrodite,” aiming to share the untold stories of resilient women across the diaspora.
What are the documentaries by Panikos Panayiotou about the Cypriot diaspora?
Panikos Panayiotou has created several documentaries about the Cypriot diaspora, focusing on the experiences of women who left Cyprus to seek a better future abroad. His works include “Queens of Amathus” (2019) about Cypriots in Birmingham, “Queens of the Commonwealth” (2021) about women from commonwealth nations in Britain, and the upcoming “Queens of Aphrodite” spotlighting women across the diaspora. His documentaries aim to unveil the untold stories of these resilient women.
A documentary focused on those who left their beloved island of Cyprus forever, unveiling a legacy hidden for decades, moved the heart and changed the life of documentary filmmaker Panikos Panayiotou.
One quiet afternoon in 2016, in their Birmingham garden, his mother shared her story over shots of Zivania. In her narrative, Panikos discovered the shocking hardships, terrible losses, and incredible triumphs of women who left everything they loved in search of a better future abroad. These are the tales that Cypriot diaspora harbors in its corners, often unheard and unrecorded.
The Untold Stories
The stories of struggle and resilience of Cypriot women, Panikos learned, were the foundations of the privileges his generation takes for granted. Yet, such stories often remain unheard. The documented records of history generally feature the tales of men, leaving the voices of women lost. Until now.
Documenting the Diaspora
Following his mother’s revelation, Panikos released “Queens of Amathus” in 2019, a full-length documentary highlighting four strong women who were compelled to leave Cyprus for Birmingham. Expanding his scope, he then released “Queens of the Commonwealth” two years later, featuring women who migrated from commonwealth nations to Britain. His forthcoming project, “Queens of Aphrodite,” will spotlight women across the diaspora who have made the arduous journey from Cyprus to seek a promising future in foreign lands.
The First Story
Panikos’ mother’s story is one of heartbreak and resilience. In 1972, his father left Potamiou for Birmingham, intending to stay just two years. He worked hard, saving money to buy a family home back in Cyprus. In 1973, Panikos’ mother joined her husband in the UK, with the plan to return to Cyprus within a year.
However, circumstances changed dramatically when, on the morning they were set to leave, they turned on the BBC to see the disheartening news of the invasion. “There was no going back,” says Panikos. Their lives, along with those of many other Cypriots, had changed forever.
From Personal to Universal
Motivated by his mother’s experience, Panikos began to document the stories of Greek Cypriot women who migrated from Cyprus to Birmingham in his first documentary, “Queens of Amathus.” His work expanded in “Queens of the Commonwealth,” showcasing 22 British-based women from commonwealth countries.
Meanwhile, his upcoming short film, “Queens of Cyprus,” features influential Cypriots worldwide expressing gratitude for the women who shaped them. This project sets the stage for the grandest of all – “Queens of Aphrodite.”
Capturing the Voices
“Queens of Aphrodite” promises to be a pan-Cypriot film celebrating female emigrants from the island, regardless of their ethnicity. It aims to record the untold stories of these women before they are lost forever, seeking out not just Greek Cypriots, but also Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians, and Latins, from various corners of the globe.
Panikos emphasizes the importance of recording these incredible stories while the women are still able to share them. Their resilience and strength are testaments to the spirit of Cypriot women everywhere.
For more information on Panikos’ films, visit https://lgk.org.uk/.
The stories shared in Panikos Panayiotou’s documentaries about the Cypriot diaspora offer valuable lessons and reflections on the experiences of women who left Cyprus for a better future abroad.
Firstly, these documentaries reveal the often unheard and unrecorded stories of struggle, hardship, and resilience that Cypriot women have faced. They highlight the foundations on which the privileges of Panikos’s generation are built and remind us to appreciate the contributions and sacrifices of women throughout history. The lessons learned here are the importance of recognizing and valuing the voices and experiences of women, ensuring that their stories are heard and preserved.
Secondly, Panikos’s journey of documenting these stories demonstrates the power of personal experiences and revelations in driving meaningful projects. His mother’s revelation sparked his passion for capturing the untold stories of Cypriot women, and in turn, he has created a series of documentaries that shed light on their experiences. The lesson learned is the significance of personal stories in uncovering hidden legacies and inspiring impactful work. It reminds us to listen to the stories of those around us and use them as catalysts for creating positive change.
In conclusion, the documentaries by Panikos Panayiotou about the Cypriot diaspora teach us the importance of amplifying women’s voices and recognizing their contributions. They also highlight the power of personal experiences in shaping meaningful projects and initiatives. These lessons serve as reminders to appreciate and acknowledge the stories of individuals who have shaped our history and to ensure that their legacies are preserved for future generations.