Andreas Kyriacou, a Greek Cypriot filmmaker is doing research for his latest short film, inspired from the golden age of Video Stores, when he accidentally stumbles onto an overplayed bootleg Kung-Fu tape called, “Cyprus Tigers”. Apparently it was the first and only Hong Kong Kung Fu film ever shot on the island and maybe the whole of the East Mediterranean. Stimulating his curious nature the director will seek information from various fellow filmmakers and cult film enthusiasts. Directed by prolific martial arts director, Phillip Ko, “Cyprus Tigers” was shot in the beautiful but troubled island of Cyprus in the summer of 1990. Despite the Kung-Fu and karate film mania that was spreading video clubs all over Cyprus the movie was never released in local theatres or in VHS tape. A strange fact, moreso because the film went on to have a successful release in its homeland of Hong Kung. Why was Cyprus chosen as the main location? Who were the few local crew members and what do they remember from this unique experience? Did the Chinese cast struggle with the culture shock they stabled upon? These questions and many more are the sort of things that go inside Andreas’ movie geek brain. In this quest “Splash” will join forces with other fellow obsessed filmmakers like: Uygar Erdim a Turkish Cypriot cinematographer from the opposite side of the Cyprus dividing line. Uygar prompts Andreas to find out more about an alleged bootleg videotape trade that was happening in the 1990’s between Greek and Turkish Video club owners via the UN Forces controlled buffer zone. Another ally is Macedonian screenwriter Marjan Akcevski who now lives in Zagreb, in which the oldest Balkan genre film festival takes place. Every year in “Fantastic Zagreb” various genre/cult film enthusiasts gather and share stories about rare tapes. There Andreas hopes to interview such fellow minded movie nerds” and get their inside on how the Video Club era affected modern Balkan, Mediterranean and European cinema culture in general.
In the meantime Andreas started research on locating in Hong Kong the lead Chinese actors and crewmembers of “Cyprus Tigers”. He wants to visit them there for interviews on their experiences shooting this cult film. As a catalyst of all the research that will come up with Andreas and his geek army to want organize the first “Cyprus Tigers” local premiere (after almost 30 years from when it was originally shot) for Cypriot video club owners, local crew members and cinephiles alike.The documentary pays homage to the VHS generation of the 80’s and 90’s. It is a trip through the cultural importance that home video had on our cinematic acumen and their impact on future directors and creative contributors; all covered by a veil of nostalgia. The film will also speak to the protagonists of the ‘home video’ revolution and their future following the collapse of the Video Club phenomenon and the rise of digital distribution. Circumstances behind the shooting of the “Cyprus Tigers” must have been a rarity in the early 90’s and the documentary hopes to shine a light on what is quickly becoming a globalized Cinematic world, with Asia quickly catching up to Hollywood in both scale and culture impact.