Tonia is a Cypriot writer/director and producer. She was born in Famagusta Cyprus. She graduated from The English School, Nicosia, a private English speaking high school in Cyprus, and then moved to Oxford, UK to study Hotel & Catering Management, only to find out that her true passion was film; she therefore proceeded to achieve a BA(Hons) in Media Production. After her graduation she moved back to Cyprus to start working as a director and producer on a freelance basis.
Tonia loves challenge- she has directed and produced for theatre, film and television in Cyprus and abroad, dealing with a variety of subjects, but focusing mostly on social and women’s issues. She has exhibited her work and participated in a big number of national and international film festivals. She is a member of the Hellenic and European Film Academies and the European Women’s Audiovisual Network, Berlinale Talents alumna and co-artistic director of Cyprus Film Days International Festival, having also served as vice president of the Board of the Directors Guild of Cyprus.
She made her first short film, DEAD END (2013), which was officially selected in the prestigious category ‘A’ Locarno Film Festival for its World premiere, and then travelled to numerous festivals internationally, including Palm Springs Shortsfest, Encounters, Busan, Curta Cinema, Drama and Cork, and winning several awards for Best Director and Best Film. DEAD END is represented by SND Films (The Netherlands) and has been sold to Japan, China, USA, Belgium, Russia, France, Greece and Cyprus. Her second awarded short, LULLABY OF THE BUTTERFLY (2014), also competed in many international film festivals, including Sarajevo, Dresden, Drama and Encounters, winning Best Film at the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus.
Her debut feature PAUSE (2018), a Cyprus/Greece co-production, is represented by Film Republic and has participated in cocoPITCH 2015 and in Karlovy Vary WIP 2017. It has been officially selected in more than 80 international film festivals, including Santa Barbara and Seattle as well as many FIAPF accredited A-list festivals, like Karlovy Vary, Sydney, Cairo, Stockholm, Sofia, Kitzbuhel, Transilvania and Sydney, the latter at which it was selected for the European Film Promotion section “Europe! voices of women in film” where films by Europe’s ten most outstanding women directors were presented. PAUSE received rave reviews internationally from the trades and other established media, including the Hollywood Reporter and LA times, and was listed one of “20 most daring films of 2019” by Rotten Tomatoes. PAUSE received 13 awards including the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Greek film by the International Federation of Film Critics at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and Best Film by the Greek Film Critics Association at the Panorama of European Cinema. It has also been nominated for “Best First-time Director” and “Best Actress” at the Hellenic Film Academy Iris Awards 2019, while its screenplay is listed in the core collection of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It has been released theatrically in USA and Europe, sold to many territories in Asia, while it also streamed on major platforms including Amazon Prime and HBO Europe.
As producer, Tonia is now also developing several projects under her production label Bark Like A Cat Films, which she launched in 2020 with the aim to support her own directing projects as well as daring films by fellow filmmakers. These include her next directing projects NALA AND STELLA and MAYA and five other films by talented filmmakers (shorts and features), all of which have been developed through and awarded at major markets and workshops (Crossroads, Coco, Sources2, MFI, TFL, Torino Short Film Market, Euroconnection, Meetings on the bridge, Sofia Meetings, Midpoint, First Films First).
Filmography (as writer/director/producer)
“MAYA” | fiction/feature | fiction/drama/fantasy | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“NALA AND STELLA” | fiction/feature | drama | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“DAPHNE” (2022) | 18 min. | Cyprus | drama | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in post-production)
“PERHAPS I AM ALREADY DEAD” (2021) | 3min | Cyprus | experimental | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films
“I DON’T LIKE THE WIND, I LIKE THE SUN” (2020) | 24min | Cyprus | documentary | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films
“I CAN HEAR MY FOOTSTEPS” (2020) | 3 min. | Cyprus | experimental | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films
“PAUSE” (2018) | 96min | Cyprus/Greece | drama | prod. co. A.B. Seahorse Film Productions
“LULLABY OF THE BUTTERFLY” (2014) | 20min | Cyprus | drama | independently produced
“DEAD END” (2013) | 15min | Cyprus | drama | independently produced
Filmography (as producer)
“IMAN” | feature | Cyprus | drama | dir. Kyriakos Tofarides & Corinna Avraamidou | as development producer | prod. co. A.B. Seahorse Film Productions | (in post-production)
“THE ISLANDER” | feature | Cyprus/USA | romantic comedy | dir. Stelana Kliris | as development producer | prod. co. Meraki Films | (in pre-production)
“SMARAGDA” | fiction/feature | Cyprus | drama | dir. Emilios Avraam | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“SHIBBOLETH” | fiction/feature | Cyprus | drama | dir. Alexandra Matheou | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“PAINT ME A LIE” | fiction/short | Cyprus/UK/Sardinia | drama | dir. Antony Petrou | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“CYPRUS SOIL MAFIA” | short | Cyprus | mockumentary | dir. Paris Erotokritou | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“VERY SUPERIOR” | mini series | Cyprus | dramedy | writer Stavros Lambrakis | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“BOYS OF SUMMER” | fiction/short | Cyprus | drama | dir. Emilios Avraam | prod. co. Bark Like A Cat Films | (in development)
“LIFE UNEXPECTED” | mini TV series | comedy | written by Stelana Kliris | as development producer | prod. co. Meraki Films | (in development)
“SENIOR CITIZEN“ (2020) | 84 min. | Cyprus | drama | dir. Marinos Kartikkis
“TO THE MOON AND BACK” (2018) | 10 min. | Cyprus | drama | dir. Stelana Kliris | prod. co. Meraki Films
“MAGIC BEANS” (2015) | 101 min. | Cyprus | comedy | dir. Theodoros Panayides
“FAMILY MEMBER” (2015) | 100 min. | Cyprus | drama | dir. Marinos Kartikkis
You can view a selection of her directing work on VIMEO.
Visit Tonia’s production label’s website Bark Like A Cat Films and discover her producing work.