Category Archives: Uncategorized

Viewer feedback humbling from CTV’s Chairman George

I am deeply moved by many people’s messages to me this past week about the effect the documentary had on them when it was shown in Canada last weekend. Words like ” courage , amazed , enthusiasm , honesty , charisma , genius mind , mesmerized by the bouzouki , tenacity , exuberance , passion , inspiring ” were used to describe people’s (your) reactions upon seeing CG. One young man at George Brown College in Toronto
has proposed to write a folk song . I gladly accept.

I prefer to talk about Chairman George in the third person as he is a character, tho true to life. It is a gift to be told that CG brings out ‘hope , joy and inspiration in people’. Thank you. One viewer alleged I use music however for my own purpose, that I like advertising myself. I allege it’s all about serving the people. Please continue sending me your genuine thoughts.

Sydney radio interview with Hans Stoeve

Last night I was interviewed by Hans Stoeve over the phone from Sydney , Australia. He’s an enlightened articulate internet world music radio broadcaster from ‘down under’.  His weekly Wednesday music program Powerspot is well worth listening to.  You will be able to hear our chat next week as of Wednesday August 30. Tune in ! I shall also provide a link so you may listen without setting your alarm clocks . I’d like graciously thank Hans and Powerspot for their interest and support.

Powerspot (not just a world music show)
2SER FM
listen online @ www.2ser.com

Wednesday Nights 1900-2030
Sydney Australia
Below — an exerpt from Hans’ recent newsletters:
—————————
Hi All,

There was a good response to last week’s array of African sounds, so tomorrow night’s program will feature more of the same. (hey…when you’re on a good thing…stick to it) Musical treats and delights to entice from the following masters of their trade.

Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra- CD Boulevard de L’Independance
Ali Farka Toure (The King of the Desert Blues Singers)- CD Savane- Savane
Ali Farke Toure & Toumani Diabate- Live Bozar Brussels 2005 (Promotional)

George Sapounidis- CD From Athens to Beijing – Good Morning Sun / Youth Dance / Sad Song Jam
The find of the year for me. George is a statistician by day and mild mannered Canadian Greek troubador singer of Chinese folk ballads by night. Lovely stuff and a real character who is immensely likable. Next week I will be presenting extracts from a special which aired on Canadian TV entitled Chairman George, all about his sojourns into China, the journey towards the winning over of hearts and minds. The documentary Chairman George is amongst other things a chronicle of George’s attempts to perform at the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics, when the torch was handed over to the Beijing Olympic Committee, What the hell, this would have been a perfect moment for this Greek singing Mandarin musical genius, a two for the price of one never to be repeated bargain of a lifetime. I will be speaking with George about his journey in the next few weeks so stay tuned. I am hoping to catch up with Martin Kennedy from All India Radio later on this week for a chat regarding Echo Other their new disc. Also next week, music from Richard Khuzami, Duoud and other musicians leaning towards the sound of the East.

Regards

Hans Stoeve
Powerspot (not just a world music show)
2SER FM
listen online @ www.2ser.com

Wednesday Nights 1900-2030
Sydney Australia

Blogging at www.globalgroove.blogspot.com

‘Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live’-Charles Bukowski

Photos with comments from Beijing

Here are some photos from the previous BJ trip.

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This is the massive Olympic Stadium dubbed the ‘Birds Nest’ under construction 24-7 around the clock.

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At the Happy Valley theme park – actors ready for their cue.

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This is the brand spanking new Bocog HQ in north Beijing.

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Who ever said Gyros and souvlaki can be found only in Greece and the middle east ?

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Sweating it out on the Greek bouzouki under scrutiny during a graduation ceremony at the Great Hall of the People .

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Holding forth at the Great Hall of the People during a graduation ceremony of high-school students from the Concord College of Sino-Canada.

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A showcase appearance at the Happy Valley theme park. I broke a G-string (bad joke but its true) off the mark so this threw a monkey-wrench into my playing cuz I couldn’t play the slow finger-picking chinese ballads I had planned. Will they hire me and the band ? Umm…haven’t heard from them yet.

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With Richard and Lin Wang from Radio Beijing . Thanks to them and to June for the opportunity to talk about Chairman George on live morning rush hour radio.

Back from smoggy , construction booming Beijing

Just back from China, Beijing, last week, then had to rest , head cold, feel better now. Busy week and a half in BJ, packed it in.

Couple of solo gigs : one at the ‘great hall of the people’ , and the other a showcase at a great big newly opened disney-ripoff theme park in BJ, the biggest in China they say, complete with disney look alike castle , rides , mayan temple , a greek island facade with the requisite temple of olympia to pay homage to the origin of the olympics which are coming to BJ in 2008, an enormous trojan horse head , young 20 year old skate board and cycle artists and gymnasts from the ukraine, russian clowns , chinese models wearing weird fantasy outfits , the whole bit.  am gonna give them a quote to have my 4-piece band perform there in late october between 2 festivals. am still in process of stitching a 4 week tour in china.  we are looking for an angel , a sponsor to help us with tour and in return we can provide great advertizing opportunities !

Took part in Olympics related meetings on behalf of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and also on behalf of my own aspirations with respect to performances during the 2008 Olympics. Fingers crossed .

Hey watch the CTV show in Canada Saturday 7pm – coast to coast ! From C to C, CG

CTV to air CG again on SATURDAY AUG 19 !

CHAIRMAN GEORGE – Quest for the Torch

a CTV Television Documentary Film

SATURDAY August 19, 2006 7-8 PM national broadcast

In Canada, George is a statistician. But in China, George is Elvis…

Produced by EyeSteelFilm

Directed by DANIEL CROSS and MILA AUNG-THWIN
in association with CTV, BBC and TV2 Denmark

Featuring the music of GEORGE SAPOUNIDIS

www.chairmangeorge.com

“heart-warming … you will be rooting for George long before it’s over! ” – The Times (London, UK)

Sterling Feature Grand Jury Honorable Mention , Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival – Washington DC

“A delightful road movie about a career statistician who dreams of performing one day at the Athens Olympics!” – The Montreal Gazette

” A brilliant documentary ! ” – The Montreal Mirror

“A Troubadour-Savant…George, you are a perfect human bridge. I can’t imagine any other candidate on the earth more perfect then you to perform at the closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympics.” – CBC Radio, Sheila Rogers

“Il y a de ces individus qu’on croit sortis de l’imaginaire. Sapounidis en est un. Il est pourtant reel, ce statisticien Greco-Canadien.” – La Presse, Montreal

Closing film of the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montrйal !
Special Jury Award : Canadian Filmmakers Festival , Toronto, Canada
Special Jury Award : Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, Saskatchewan, Canada
Synopsis:
Produced by EyeSteelFilm, the documentary follows George Sapounidis, a shy, Greek-Canadian statistician and Chinese folk-singing sensation on his quest to perform at the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. In Canada, he is a statistician who lives with his mother. In China, he is a pop star. George Sapounidis defies every effort at categorization. The latest film from Daniel Cross and Mila Aung-Thwin is a delightful portrait of this zany troubadour who regularly makes the trip from Ottawa to Beijing to climb on stage. His bouzouki, guitar and cell phone in hand, he sings in faultless Mandarin for a delirious—mostly female—audience. With unquenchable optimism in the face of adversity, this obsessive-compulsive who never quite grew up goes for the main chance, a spot in the closing ceremonies at the Athens Olympics. The multilingual Sapounidis, “the only Greek in the world who can sing in Chinese,” wants to deliver his own ingenuous lyrics as the Olympic flag is passed from Athens to Beijing. Chairman George follows the trials and tribulations of this sensitive, eccentric man as he beats the drum in a full-out campaign between China, Greece and Canada.

——————————————————————

Off to Silver Docs !

I saw An Inconvenient Truth the documentary movie about global warming last night here in Ottawa , Canada and admired it and Al Gore so much am going back to see it again before leaving tomorrow for the U. S. of A.

Excited about attending Silver Docs festival !  Chairman George has 2 screenings and is up for awards. But I want to meet folks down there. Talk to people, make friends. See some other films . And gig ! Thursday night 9:30 pm am doing a gig in the Cinema Lounge. Maybe meet other musicians. My grandmother is in a home here . She doesn’t like it, considers it prison she said to me the other day outside the home smoking in her wheelchair (I gave her a Peter Jackson) – youth flies away , grab it while you can !

See you in Maryland !

Canadian film fest – plus watch George on OMNI TV Apr 9 @ 2:30-3:00

It was a fun time in Toronto at the film fest. Thanks to Bern, Deana and Michelle for orchestrating the Festival. At the screening Friday at 5:30 there was a good crowd , attendance was 2/3 of the room at the Carlton Cinema. Lots of people I knew did show. Plus some Greek media incl camera and crew from the Greek program at OMNI TV. Film was very well received . There was a Q&A directly after the screening in the theatre and then I whipped out the guitar and belted out a chinese song going from row to row with the camera in tow. Fun for all it seemed. At the awards ceremony on Sunday night – last night – at the Alto Baso bar (on College near Grace) the film won a ‘special jury prize’. It was fun hanging out with film people, producers , directors and starlets. Saw a series of ‘shorts’ Sunday afternoon – half a dozen short films averaging about 10 minutes in length – great. Among films I really liked were ‘the interview’ and the feature ‘pure’. The delta chelsea hotel was nice , comfy and big – 3 sets of different colored elevators – mine was green – life can get complicated. Lots of americans visiting – golly geez! Met a black couple from Michael Moore’s home town of Flint, Michigan – the woman righteously claimed her own son was the tv star of a local sitcom and so I was to know and anyone else listening that there were 2 famous people from Flint. ok I accepted that . wow getting into Toronto from Ottawa – suddenly there’s an excitement in the air ! its like arriving in NYC from Halifax, now here’s a city – Toronto – thats got presence, not too clean , has grime, has girth , doesn’t monkey around , has architecture , and weight. Gotta watchout.

plus …

Special Jury Prizes
This year’s special jury prize for Achievement in Acting was presented to LOVE IS WORK, written and directed by Johnny Kalangis and starring Shauna MacDonald, Fabrizio Filippo, Kathryn Zenna, Ryan McVittie, and Natalie Radford. The Achievement in Cinematography prize was presented to the feature film PURE, directed by Jim Donovan and written by Eugene Garcia. The documentary film CHAIRMAN GEORGE was touted as a moving and inspiring film and received an honorable mention by the jury.

Toronto – thrilled to be going to Can Film Fest

This is the chairman writing in at near midnite glad to say and glad to see you all. Its heartwarming to be able to be writing by free association . Good to have friends , and glad to be heading for Toronto this weekend march 24-26 to see CG on the BIG screen at the Carlton Cinema.  Kudos to the Canadian Filmmakers Festival and to Bern Euler  who founded it. Just an hour ago I did an Ottawa Toronto live radio interview with Elias Koutinas’ show Greek Canadian Melodies – thanks Elias ! And other greek press is supporting the screening in Toronto. Efharisto.  Thanks also to George Trialonis at OMNI TV .

Also best wishes to Peter Elefteriadis (fellow Pontian by the Black Sea) in Toronto who first read about my CG persona in Metohos magazine (thanks to James Karas who did the story) and sent the link to 47 of his closes friends. Yes k’ego eimai pontios , and proud of it ! He has encouraged all his friends and family to attend the Friday march 24 screening at 5:30 at the Carlton Cinema in T.O.  Tha haro na sas tho olous ! Will be glad to see you all …

By the way there will be Awards decided for selected films ! Show your appreciation for ‘chairman george’ for “People’s Pick for Best Flick Award”

I will also have lots of CDs available : “George from Athens to Beijing” nominated for Best World Music CD last year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

See you at the TORONTO SCREENING where CHINA meets GREECE headon  and mediated by CANADA !

luv , cg , time to slumber

CG at Toronto film fest !

For Immediate Release

Canadian Filmmakers Festival to present Chairman George

In Canada, George is a statistician. But in China, George is Elvis…

SCREENING:
Friday, March 24th, at 5:30 PM
Location : Cineplex Odeon Carlton Cinemas, 20 Carlton St. (Yonge & Carlton), Toronto
Tickets : $9 + tax available at: Carlton Box Office after March 13th

(Ottawa, ON): March 14, 2006. The Toronto premiere of the documentary feature film Chairman George will be part of the 2006 programming line-up at this year’s edition of the Canadian Filmmakers Festival to take place March 23 – 26, 2006.

Produced by EyeSteelFilm, the documentary follows George Sapounidis, a shy, Greek-Canadian statistician and Chinese folk-singing sensation on his quest to perform at the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. In Canada, he is a statistician who lives with his mother. In China, he is a pop star. George Sapounidis defies every effort at categorization. The latest film from Daniel Cross and Mila Aung-Thwin is a delightful portrait of this zany troubadour who regularly makes the trip from Ottawa to Beijing to climb on stage. His bouzouki, guitar and cell phone in hand, he sings in faultless Mandarin for a delirious—mostly female—audience. With unquenchable optimism in the face of adversity, this obsessive-compulsive who never quite grew up goes for the main chance, a spot in the closing ceremonies at the Athens Olympics. The multilingual Sapounidis, “the only Greek in the world who can sing in Chinese,” wants to deliver his own ingenuous lyrics as the Olympic flag is passed from Athens to Beijing. Chairman George follows the trials and tribulations of this sensitive, eccentric man as he beats the drum in a full-out campaign between China, Greece and Canada.

George Sapounidis will attend the screening and the Festival March 24-26.

The film was a hit at the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal in November 2005. It appeared internationally in 2005 in the United Kingdom on BBC TV and on Denmark TV2.

For the complete film schedule and for more information about the Canadian Filmmakers Festival,
visit www.canfilmfest.ca
For more about Chairman George
visit www.chairmangeorge.com

For All Media Inquiries or to schedule an interview with George Sapounidis, please contact:

George Sapounidis
george.sapounidis@rogers.com
Phone (613) 951-6439
** During the Festival please contact George at the Delta Chelsea Hotel
at Tel: (416) 595-1975

John Christou
john@eyesteelfilm.com
Phone (514) 937-4893
www.eyesteelfilm.com

*****************************

CD Review : George from Athens to Beijing

CD Review – Spring 2006
THE SING OUT CORPORATION
(Bethlehem, PA, USA)

Well, what to make of this? Sapounidis, a Canadian singer-songwriter of Greek descent, began singing in Mandarin in 1998, and has since played many times in China, learning more of the culture and the music, and even writing material in Chinese. This, the soundtrack to the documentary Chairman George, is about his dream to sing in Chinese at the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics in 2004. Whether he did that or not isin’t revealed here (some research indicates it did happen), but it’s the quest that’s important – as well as the music. It’s quite a mix, from soothing Chinese songs to the aching Greek rembetica, pieces for dance, and even “Sad Song Jam”, a lovely extended piece that was recorded on the Great Wall. That he’s good is beyond question. He’s acquired a huge Chinese audience now, people who love what he does. And, to be fair, he’s a more than decent writer and singer, and excellent on the bouzouki, if not a virtuoso. At times you might think he might be barking mad, but in an odd way, that’s part of his appeal. For most people, this isin’t going to change their lives, pleasant as it is. For George, obviously, this is the document of a major event. — CN