One of the things we feel most strongly about is supporting the Skopelos community. We feel honored to have been accepted on the island and want to make sure we give back to the locals as much as we can. We are working towards offering additional courses with the local students and we ask that the resident artists, if at all possible, work with students one or two days to support the community in the arts. Unfortunately the students of Skopelos, especially during the Greek crisis, are offered very few classes in the arts so our goal is to try to supplement their education whenever it is possible.
We offer several printmaking workshops throughout the year for children as small as six through high school. We have done projects with the Scouts of Skopelos, the elementary, middle and high schools and hope to continue.
As part of the artist residency, we ask that the artists interact with the local community about their work. They may teach a small class to the students, talk about art or exhibit their art downtown.
A project that was done through Marymount University with Professor’s Thomas Xenakis, Bridget Murphy and Chris Haggerty; where the students painted a mural on a wall of the elementary school based on the stories from Aesop’s Fables. Some of the elementary school students joined in and it has really brightened up the wall.
Another project that was developed was the Skopelos Film Festival for Youth or SIFFY which was first organized in 2009. Professor Wangtae Lim from Dong-Ah Institute of Media and the Arts visited the island in 2008 with a grant from the S. Korean Travel Channel to direct a documentary with the assistance of the Foundation about the Sporades. Professor Lim was moved by the island and the people and felt it would be the perfect place to give school children the opportunity to be a part of the filmmaking process. In 2009, Professor Lim and Ms. Somer decided to team up and invite two additional directors; Nikos Theodosiou from Camera Zizanio in Pyrgos, Greece and Kalman Czibolya, Director of Zoom to Europe and Asia, in Hungary and the three were able to help the students create three short films with twenty Greek and two American students. Partial funding was given by the Municipality of Skopelos and the films were screened in the Orpheus Cinema in Skopelos.
After SIFFY 2009, it was very difficult to find the support to get the festival back off the ground until support was found in 2012 through a collaboration between the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, the Municipality and Tourist Committee of Skopelos, the Volunteer Group of Skopelos and our first official sponsor, Hellenic Seaways. The Greek crisis was in full swing so the town came together to support the project in a very big way. The teachers from the middle school spoke to the children and gathered lists of students that were interested, the volunteers gathered a list of people from Skopelos to cook every day for the invited directors and guests, the volunteers also assisted at Orpheus Cinema every evening when a different film was screened and even played music on the closing evening. Eleven people from four different countries were invited to SIFFY 2012.
In 2016 we have manged to develop a strong base of supporters and raised enough money through a crowdfunding effort via Kickstater. The theme was the sea and this film is a great example of one of the ten films that were created during the festival. This year over 700 people were in attendance with approximately 30 volunteers supporting the initiative. More and more films are being sent to international festivals and our hope is to send some of the participants abroad to interact with other budding filmmakers. Please enjoy “Engulfed by Destiny”created with the assistance of Italian filmmaker, Luca Acito.
For more information go to the SIFFY webpage.