Καλησπέρα σας! Good evening. Thank you Tasos, thank you Irini. Distinguished Secretary General, Distinguished Deputy Mayor of Castellorizo, it’s a great honor to be here.
My team did some checking when we decided that I would make this trip to Castellorizo to see when the last time was that any official from the U.S. embassy visited Castellorizo, and we found out never. So it’s a real honor to be the first representative of the American embassy here in Castellorizo, and I sincerely hope this is not my last visit.
My wife and I have genuinely enjoyed our time here. It’s going to be all too short. But “filoxenia” is definitely alive and well here in Castellorizo. So thank you very much.
This is also the first time that we are helping to sponsor a cultural event in Castellorizo. It’s a great privilege to do so. I want to thank the Hellenic History Foundation for not only tonight but the entire week that we have ahead of us of incredible film.
And I want to put out a special word of congratulations and thanks to the Government of Greece and to the organizers of this festival. When we all became subject to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we saw what was in front of us last March, there may have been given half a thought as to whether we could all be here in person, in real life, here in Castellorizo, but thanks to the response of the government and of the organizers of this festival, I’m very proud to join you tonight.
The motto for this tourist season is “Greek summer is a state of mind.” That’s definitely been the case for my family and I as we’ve enjoyed about three weeks of traveling around the country during this summer, enjoying both the west and now the far east of Greece.
We’ve enjoyed open air cinema in Athens, thanks to a program that we are helping to sponsor — classic American film under the stars in Athens. And now, of course, it’s my great pleasure to see cinema under the stars in the far east of the Aegean.
Our relationship with Greece is at an all-time high. I think everyone will agree to that. We are, specifically in the area of film, very pleased to be working both with the Ministry of Digital Governance and with the Ministry of Culture to put American and Greek filmmakers together with each other, and also to attract American filmmakers here to Greece.
And we are, of course, very proud for this festival to be sponsoring the documentary Half the Picture. I hope you’ll join me tomorrow night to watch this film. I’ve not seen it myself; I’m very excited to see it. It fits in very well with all the social and current event aspects we’re seeing. This film looks at the challenges that women face in Hollywood and in film in the United States.
I’m very pleased to stop here. I don’t want to be the last person standing between you and the first film of the festival. I’m looking forward to seeing this film about the “Father of Rebetiko“. So please enjoy the show and enjoy the evening.
Thank you very much.