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Meet Mavra Peponi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mavra Peponi.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born in Atlanta but grew up in Athens, Greece. I was surrounded by artistic stimuli: My mother took me to theatre and dance performances. My sister taught me how to dance; together, we knew by heart every choreography screened on MTV. My father introduced me to music, poetry and photography, and took me places.

Back in Atlanta, in my first year of undergraduate studies, I took an “Intro to Film” class and soon found myself pursuing a Film&Video degree at Georgia State University. Upon graduation, I worked for two years in the production of commercials, TV shows and feature films, and got to see how the film industry works.

In 2014, I decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue an MFA in Film Directing at CalArts. Just like that, I became a CalArtian! I spent three incredible years making art alongside talented artists, with the guidance of deeply inspiring faculty, in an environment that pushes you to discover your own point of view on life and artmaking. In 2017-2019 I was given the opportunity to teach at CalArts, partnering with Francesca Penzani to create CineDance, a collaborative course for filmmakers and dancers. And so, here I am!

Please tell us about more about your work and what you are currently focused on.
I am a director, I make films, I make them from the heart- and guts- and I make them to capture what moves me and then share it with others. If something moves me- quite literally- if it makes my stomach tighten up, if it makes my chest blow up with oxygen, if it makes my eyes water or my eyebrows cringe, then it’s worth making a film about. It usually takes me by surprise; it might be as mundane as the sound of my mother walking about the apartment, or as grand as the sight of an Aegean island plunging into the sea at dusk. Sometimes, it’s in the synchronicities of life, the moments when a false sense of perfect order is created, like when the steps of a person walking towards you resonate with the beat of the music in your headphones, or when you feel nostalgic about something and suddenly a soft breeze curls around your neck as a reverberation of the past. In my films, I try to recreate such moments. If I succeed in crafting a scene that moves me, then there’s a chance it will also move other people.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?

Be up to date and be present! Follow the progress of artists you admire, attend art events around the city (not only in your discipline, but all sorts of art events,) reach out to artists you would like to collaborate with, and of course, put your own work out there so that people can find you.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My short film “STILL” is featured in PBS’s “Film School Shorts” (Season 6, in the episode titled “Missing Pieces”) so you can watch it online on YouTube, Vimeo and the PBS Website. If you like the film, please share it with your friends! You can also follow me on Instagram @mavrapeponi or visit the online photo/video journal I just started at melondies.home.blog.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Film stills by Jesse Mazuch, photographs by Mavra Peponi

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