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An Interview with Director Chris Poulios

Short Bio

My name is Chris Poulios, I am film director and founder of Unlighted Moon Pictures, a greek independent film making studio. I started as self taught filmmaker in 2014, and from 2021, I am a SAE Creative Media College graduate. I have been awarded three times internationally for my projects as well as distinguished in numerous festivals. My work, has also been featured on the covers and pages of many international magazines around the world.

 

Please tell us about yourself. How did you start your career, and how did you get into the worlds of filmmaking and photography? What are some of the projects you did before Hot W-Heels?

Ιt’s been a decade since my first project back in 2014, when I was just 14 years old. Early enough, I realised that I needed a ‘’brand’’ for my work and so Unlighted Moon Pictures was born, and everything started in the neighbourhood I grew up. My first project, was an action film called McPherson: Colliding Worlds. I remember back then, we used to shoot our first film with my father’s cellphone and my tablet on tripods I had made myself. The next year, I bought my first camera which got me a bit into photography. I had to understand how a camera works and how to set my frame without anyone there to help me or show me the way. In 2015, I directed my second film which was a sequel. It was a big step up for me, DSLR cameras, external microphones, and professional equipment which fortunately made the second film way better in every aspect. Since this was a ‘’homemade’’ project, everything was done by me including directing, scriptwritting, acting, editing,VFX e.t.c. In 2016, the third installment arrived which even to this day I wonder how I was able to pull out something at that scale in that young age. Τhe same year my school, made me supervisor of a Photography class. That means that at the age of 16, I was teaching photography. I owe a huge thank you to all my friends and relatives who helped me with these films. None of that would have happened, if it wasn’t for them. Apart from the 4 full length films, and two short films called ‘’ Hook in a book’’(2018) and ‘’ The German Shepherd’’ (2019), I also directed a short mystery series called ‘’Dark Paths’’ (2015), a talk show ‘’ Through the eyes of a teen’’, and a noir photoshoot called Transporting in Elegance. All these projects provided me the experience to serve in the Greek Ministry of Defence during my service in the Greek Army. There, I was responsible for the demonstration of the Minister’s actions as well as the military exercises that were broadcasted in a military show in TV. You see, coming from action film direction and editing, being given the task to create pre-electional videos was something very creating for me. From shooting fighter jets like TopGun, to editing military exercises like action film trailers with heavy metal music. Concluding, doing this for 10 years is a blessing for me, and that is why I am so dedicated to my work.

Filmography:

McPherson: Colliding Worlds (2014)

McPherson: Alonzo’s Rules (2015)

Dark Paths (2015)

McPherson: Dark Alliance (2016)

Hook In A Book (2018)

The German Shepherd (2019)

McPherson : UnforgIVen (2019)

Transporting In Elegance (2023)

Hot W-Heels (2024)

 

As a filmmaker and photographer, who or what are your influences?

As kid I used to have my favorite films in dvds, so I was watching them again and again. I have always been a fan of action films and especially the James Bond ones. A cocktail from espionage and high adrenaline films, somehow crafted my aesthetic. I can say that one of my biggest influences is Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Robert Downey Junior as Iron Man, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker from the Fast & Furious franchise and Jason Statham in general. As for visual influences, I really love the work Christopher Nolan and Mathew Vaughn. Kingsman: The Secret Service, directed by Mathew Vaughn is maybe my biggest influence the last 7 seven years. As for cinematographers, I am a big fan of Roger Deakins’s work. However, apart from films, one my biggest influences, that have generated many of my ideas is Heavy Metal Music. Numerous action scenes, and even whole scripts have been inspired by a lyric or a vibe that a song of Iron Maiden and Metallica has given me.

 


What is your vision as an artist? What does inspires you, and what types of stories or themes do you endeavor to show through your projects?

I want people to be enchanted when they watch a project of mine. To take them to an another place, an another world and help them forget everything that concerns them. I desire people to witness something different than what their daily life is. I am inspired by music and culture. I believe that any film can be successful and remembered as long as it deals with something. The main theme of each film is what drives it and helps people relate. If you have a good story people will love it. Even if your film has lightsabers, boxing gloves, fast cars e.t.c. One of my main themes is peradventure, forgiveness, altruism and legacy. All of them, arise from my personal life and things that I face. Many characters of mine deal with these, which means that my characters are an expansion of me by having filings of my soul in theirs

 

Please tell us about your company Unlighted Moon Pictures. What are some of the works your company has made?

Unlighted Moon Pictures is an independent filmmaking studio. Our most famous work is the McPherson franchise. A total of 4 films about an agent called Chris McPherson that hunts down  Martin Alonzo, leader of a crime organisation. Due to its sequels, it deals with the themes mentioned above, so it follows a rise, fall, rise again arc, focusing on human relations, leaving its extreme action in the background. An another work of UMP, is ‘’Dark Paths’’, a mystery short series that shows how delinquency can destroy young people’s lives, a major problem in my country these days. Next, is ‘’Hook In A Book’’, a short film about a man dealing with agoraphobia who is devoured by his love for reading, losing the most important things in life. Following up, there is ‘’ The German Shepherd’’ a Film Noir short film about two mobster men that fight over a precious item during a rainy night. In 2023, I made my first photoshoot called Transporting In Elegance featuring a femme fatale and a bon viveur in old means of transport with a mysterious bond between them. Our most recent work is Hot W-Heels, a photoshoot that mixes luxury lifestyle in locations around the world and some iconic cars.

 

What is your creative process? How do you usually select a topic/scene for your work?

I believe that each project is unique, however our inspirations and our personal style always finds its way to be shown in the final result. I have seen, that great things happen when you mixture things that no one believes that can be mixed and that is something that always pays off in the end. As for my creative process, most of the times everything starts either with a picture or a song. So it starts getting build on that and have layers added. Then, when the idea is captured completely, I start to make a storyboard, because I think that it helps all the crew to understand exactly what needs to be done, and works like a ‘’map’’ for us helping us reach our destination.


What do you think are some of the most difficult and complex aspects of fashion photography? Moreover, how competitive is the industry and how do you see its future?

The first thing I noticed in fashion photography, coming from films is that you have to compress everything you want to tell in one picture. The complexity in fashion photography for me, seems to be the thin line between focusing on the product (clothes) and giving the model the right instructions to highlight it but also highlight the model itself. I believe, that you have to be really aware of your product in order to capture it right. In all my projects, and especially Transporting In Elegance and Hot W-Heels, all clothes were chosen by me according to what each frame would be. It is a difficult process, however if it’s done correctly, I think that it elevates the whole project.



As for competition, I feel that social media has given many opportunities to creators. Nowadays, everyone can publish their work and create their own audience, but I believe that this, sometimes creates an oversaturation. That leads into making your work quite difficult to stand out. And that goes to all arts, I think that technology gives serious opportunities but it seems that there is more content created than what can actually be consumed. When it comes to its future, there’s no doubt that Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing. I fear, that it will complicate things. I mean that in a few years, it will be very difficult to seperate what is real and what is not. Yes I think that it plays an assisting role in creation and of course saves time and money, but I don’t want it to end up in people being unemployed in the future, for example VFX artists. Cameras (on our phones) and AI, is a technology that was rapidly given to the masses. It  solves as much problems as it brings up, creating a thin line between two sides and the need for a further discussion. To conclude with, I believe that the industry has come to a crossroad and no one knows what path it will follow


 

Please tell us about your festival runs, especially for Hot W-Heels.

Βefore Hot W-Heels, I was three time award winner with Transporting In Elegance in:

European Arts Festival : Best Black & White Photography

Cinematography & Photography Awards : Best Noir Photography

Greece International Film Festival : Best Photography

With Hot W-Heels, we had no intention of getting in a festival run however the outcome was:

Artells Magazine Awards : Selected

New York Tri-State International Film Festival : Selected




There are more upcoming festivals that we plan to participate with Hot W-Heels in this summer,  so audiences can stay tuned for updates in our official instagram account : https://www.instagram.com/unlighted_moon_pictures/?hl=el

 

What project(s) will you be working on next?

My next project is a photoshoot about a film I have written back in 2018, featuring a young woman spy in WW2 called the Daughter Of War. My intention, is to create some of the most significant scenes of the film in pictures. My plan is to use this pictures as tools to make a better pitch in front of producers and film studios. I think it makes it more complete and helps me communicate my idea better since, it will not just be pictures from the internet on a moodboard, but stills created solely by me and my crew. I strongly believe, that this project will be a career highlight for me and I look forward to take it to the big screen in a few years! The first frame was created during Hot W-Heels as you can see in the image below. The Daughter Of War, deals with the horrors of war which is something that the world seems to be suffering from the last couple years, and also the women’s rights and their place in society. This film, uses these topics making them the main antagonist of the film. The protagonist Ellie Robinson, has to face the status quo that prevents her from her will to help and end the war. Of course the film has a ton of action sequences in some of the most important battles of WW2 mixing war, and espionage action from an altruistic and anti-war perspective view.




Next, there is the 5th instalment of the McPherson franchise called McPherson: Shadow Of Love. It is an action/love story film ( the mixing of themes I mentioned above), with total blurred lines of right and wrong, just perspectives. You see everyone is the hero in his own story, and all of us is the villain in someone else’s.

 

Unlighted Moon Pictures website : https://umpchrispoulios.wixsite.com/chrispoulios

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