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Evangelos Giovanis ’02: Finding Success on the Road Less Traveled

L to R: Evangelos Giovanis, Malcolm McDowell, and George Giovanis

Filmmaker Evangelos Giovanis and his brother George aren’t the first filmmakers to use Kickstarter to fund a project. But they are in an elite minority in that the Kickstarter campaign for their latest project, Bereave, was ambitious—$100,000 was their goal—and successful. Since Kickstarter launched in 2009, only 130 film and video projects out of 29,000 have raised over $100,000. That’s about .004%. And their project has already signed some major Hollywood talent: Malcolm McDowell and Jane Seymour will star in the leading roles.

The Giovanis brothers are first-generation Greek Americans who began working in their family’s pizza restaurant at the age of 12. And although, as they say, they “can still make a hell of a pizza,” they decided their path through life would be in the filmmaking world. And now, with three films under their belts and the fourth off to a long-time-in-the-making, but pretty auspicious start, their path is still the one less traveled because they have opted out of the big-name movie making game and instead they have self-financed and self-distributed all of their projects.

Evangelos graduated from URI with a B.A. in English literature, but became interested in filmmaking after taking experimental film classes at URI with Professor of Film, Video Performance and Digital Media Sheri Wills. In a 2007 interview, Wills had praise for Evangelos’ work: “He has always worked with sophisticated themes and has a great eye for color and camera angle. His work often includes references to the beat poets and Greek myths. His films are intense and powerful.”

In an interview with the Pappas Post earlier this year, Evangelos said, “They’re going to have to kill us to stop us from making more movies. My brother and I are going to fight. I do like to think that people will rally around a couple of self-made and very hard working guys such as ourselves.” It seems his words were prophetic. In a message to their Kickstarter supporters and followers at the conclusion of their successful fundraising campaign, the brothers posted this message: “This is inspiring! Six years we’ve been fighting to make this film and this is going to be the year… thank you for the flood of emails wishing us the best in the world and your amazing outlook on life, our BEREAVE and your willingness to give for art. We’ll say it forever. You are the heroes of this film.”

Video: The Giovanis Brothers and Malcolm McDowell promoted their successful Kickstarter campaign with this video.

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