Tonia is a Cypriot director, screenwriter 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, at the same time creating her own production company Zipcode production&design.
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 and performance festivals. She is a member of the European Film Academy 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.
Her feature directorial debut PAUSE (2018), a Cyprus/Greece co-production, represented by Film Republic (UK), participated in Connecting Cottbus and Mannheim Meeting Place co-production markets in 2015 and in the Karlovy Vary Works-in-Progress in 2017. It has been officially selected in more than 60 international film festivals, including the FIAPF accredited ‘A’ list Karlovy Vary, Cairo, Stockholm, Sofia, Kitzbuhel, Sydney and Transilvania. PAUSE was selected in the EFP’s “Europe! voices of women in film” section at the Sydney Film Festival 2019, where ten films by Europe’s most outstanding women directors were presented. It received rave reviews internationally, including the Hollywood Reporter and LA times, and was listed by Rotten Tomatoes as one of “20 most daring films of 2019”. PAUSE has received 12 awards including the FIPRESCI Prize for Best film by the International Federation of Film Critics at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and it was also nominated for Best First-time Director and Best Actress at the Hellenic Film Academy Iris Awards 2019. Its screenplay is listed in the core collection of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since August 2019. It has been released theatrically in USA, Greece and Cyprus and was expected to be released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Spring 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic. It is also streaming on Amazon Prime USA and HBO Europe.
Tonia is now developing her second and third feature films NALA AND STELLA and MAYA, the latter of which (in an earlier version and under the working title MOONSTRUCK) won a special mention at the Scriptwriters Guild of Greece 2018 awards and was developed through Sources2 scriptwriting workshop with funding from the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture.
As producer, she is now developing two feature films THE ISLANDER by director Stelana Kliris (developed through EAVE Producers Workshop), and IMAN by directors Corinna Avraamidou and Kyriacos Tofarides (winner of best script at the 2018 Screenwriters of Greece competition), both funded by the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture. She has also produced and co-produced several short and feature films and has worked on numerous film productions as 1st Assistant Director and Production Manager. She has also exhibited her photography work many times over the years and won numerous awards in national and international photography competitions.
You can view a selection of her work on VIMEO.