Eleni Filini: Deep Down I’m A True Artist

Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis
(IG: @vasiliosvitsilogiannis)

Eleni Filini is a Greek actress, singer and dancer in the cinema, theater and television.
Filini’s parental roots are from Dimitsana and Kalavryta. She was born in Corinth. Filini studied at Theodosiadis Drama School and at Athens College. She made her first foray into the media in the 80s. One of her first television appearances was in the highly-rated series “Luna Park”, while she was still attending Drama School. Eleni Filini has participated in many television series and films. From 2011 to 2012, she collaborated as a singer with “The Children from Patras” band and actor Pavlos Haikalis.

Do you remember your childhood years with joy having experienced your father’s absence abroad?

When you are a child, your childhood is beautiful but I was the only child and matured earlier due to my father suffering a financial disaster and being forced to leave abroad. I didn’t experience childhood like any other child and I can say that I played more when I was older than I did as a child.

Describe the moment you told yourself that you wanted to follow the path of acting.

I was a little and kept repeating to myself that I wanted to become an actress and a dancer as well. I was crazy about acting, to enter the area of this profession. I was nine years old when I started taking dance lessons. I remember that TV program finished at twelve midnight and I had to stay up late to watch my favorite shows. My mother used to say this all the time “my kid, you have to wake up early and go to school tomorrow morning” and I would reply to her “Television is the school for me”. Many kids say that they wanted to become an actor or a dancer but I was very committed to it.

Did you have any role models when you entered the world of the arts?

I was crazy about American musicals. I watched Barbara Streisand and Liza Minnelli on TV as role models when I was little. Because they combined the whole package since the women I knew combined singing, acting and dancing. Because that was my nature because the expression with the space led me there. My craze was to become a dancer and then I saw that I could also enroll at the Drama School.

Do you feel that people who are not as professional in your art have entered the field of acting and that the time has come for you to leave this field while the standard is still high?

No, I don’t. Unfortunately, across all areas and jobs there are people who are not qualified for the job and nepotism and favoritism prevail in today’s society. That's how our job has always been and the whole of society is ruled by this. But this obstacle didn’t cause me to give up my dream job. Life is a battle and being a fighter means that we do not give up easily but continue to achieve what we desire.

How would you describe yourself as a theatrical, film or television actress?

I’m an artist right to the flesh and blood that's how I would describe myself. But one thing we need to know is that the basis of the actor is the theater. There, in front of the audience, you are completely stripped emotionally and psychologically. In the theater, you can apply any obtained knowledge and skills to prove yourself to your audience.

When did singing come into your life?

Singing was in my life from the very beginning and was always there in my performances. I combined both dancing and singing. In musicals and variete performances, I always sang. In venues where singing plays the primary role, I have entered in recent years, I would say the last 14 years. I’m in various music halls only for singing. It is nice to see people having fun, talking to me directly and that's where Eleni is with her fans. We become a big company and that’s very important to me. In the theater, I am a role and it is not easy for people to talk to me easily.

Have you regretted any mistakes you have made and tried to correct them or did you just accept them and flip the page?

I have no regrets. I accept the fact that things were the way it was so, I learn from it move on with my life and my work. If it were different it could all have been different. If my father hadn't suffered a financial disaster, it
would have been different for me. I may not have matured in time, I may have been another person. Experiences make you who you are.

What is it that artistically you haven't done and would like to do?

I’ve done enough and I feel very satisfied. I've performed in all kinds of theater. I have no issues and I could stop acting any time soon. I just love very much what I do and I am a person who does things all the time and I
like to do the things I love. What I do is very important; work is an important element for the person and I like it from my soul. It gives us strength.

Are there times when you empty your thoughts and take time for yourself?

Of course, there is time and I dedicate it to myself. There was a period in my life when I worked a lot and I took pleasure in performing at the music
halls at night where I used to sing. I feel joy and pleasure in the sea where I go swimming and sit on the beach to read books. Also, taking care of my animals is relaxing. When I can travel, I visit places and meet new people.

Tell us about the battles you wage for stray animals.

I would call myself a humane society. I take care of 20 cats and dogs at my cottage in Corinth. I have so many strays to take care of. I deal with feeding because I feel good and give these creatures what they need. When you take care of animals it’s a matter of culture and civilization. Animals always give us love.

What are your future plans, and are there any plans in your mind that you know you may never achieve but the thought of them just give you strength to keep going?

I don’t need to get strength to keep going. I love life so much that I keep doing things. I love nature. I love animals. I love humanity. I love my job. I may want to do thousands of things but many times it is not possible. I don’t get stressed. I’m a stoic person and I let things flow. You don’t stop the river because it will drown me. Life is a river you can’t put obstacles in it. Today I do some things that I love and respect. I believe that something good will come again tomorrow. I have this philosophy in life.

How does Eleni Filini react to the wrongdoings in our society?

I’m very angry and I believe that words must be translated into actions. If there are no exemplary punishments for certain things, it will not change the situation, I’m positive of this. You can’t change things with a soft touch. People must be educated at school – to learn to respect their fellow citizens, nature, animals, to respect everything. Education starts at home, continues at school and in society. We live in a society where values are lost and words have no meaning. I see the young generation behaving violently and I do not believe that this exists in our society.
Today parents do not have time to deal with their children because they have to work to provide more at home once conditions have changed and become difficult. I hope things change to the best. I feel that we are living in a completely different era and I am reacting to that. And I often wonder how civilized people become more brutal than those people whom we consider barbarians. I wish for a moment that man will return to be a man. To respect humans.

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