Greece borrows Australia’s Twelve Apostles for national tourism video Tourism board says use of Australian landmark to sell Greece was an artistic decision based on the fact that the mythology of the sky is Greek The Greek tourism board has defended a video promoting the country’s tourism and heritage after it included footage of the Twelve Apostles rock formation off the coast of Victoria under the pretence that it was footage of the Greek islands. The board said the use of the 15 seconds of time-lapse photography, shot by the Australian photographer Alex Cherney, was justified because it showed constellations that carry Greek names and “the mythology of the sky at all latitudes and longitudes of the Earth is Greek”. The video, titled Gods, Myths and Heroes, uses Cherney’s shots of the constellations rising over the sea accompanied by a narrator who says: “And when the day is done, the moon and her stars paint the sky with brilliant constellations named from Greek mythology by ancient sailors navigating their way from island to island.” The Greek National Tourism Organisation defended the video, saying its inclusion was a deliberate artistic decision and not a mistake, the ABC reported. “Almost all the world, wherever you turn around your eyes, you will meet an idea, a name, that originated from Greece,” the organisation said. “Even the skies of Australia in the southern hemisphere … you will see stars and constellations that carry Greek names. The mythology of the sky at all latitudes and longitudes of the Earth is Greek.” Cherney remained unimpressed by the explanation. “That’s fine to make a mistake, but coming up with an excuse or an explanation like that is funny,” he told the ABC. “I spent more time smiling and laughing about it than being serious. “I think there are enough beautiful places along the Aegean sea in Greece, they don’t really need another one.” It is the second time that the $83,000 video has come under fire since it was released in November, after it was revealed the original version included footage from Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Officials took down the offending clip and attributed the error to a technical oversight, later posting an edited version, but remain unrepentant about the use of the Twelve Apostles. At almost 12 minutes long, the video has also been criticised for its slow pace, its opening shot of New York and its outdated aesthetics. Tourism is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise battered Greek economy. Last year, the country attracted more than 20 million holidaymakers – almost double the population of the country – an increase of more than 16%. The record summer tourist numbers have helped the economy to return to growth after six years of recession. Third quarter GDP growth figures show a rise of 1.7% on the same quarter last year with economists predicting the full-year target of 0.6% growth would be met.
Clip of 1936 Berlin Olympics in new Greek tourism film ‘an oversight’ Critics deplore Leni Riefenstahl footage of Hitler games in official video – as ministry stresses mistake should not detract from Greek tourism success
German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl and cameraman Walter Frentz shooting the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images
The Greek government has been forced to re-edit a tourism video unveiled in London this week because it contained footage of the infamous 1936 Olympics held in Berlin under Hitler. The offending clip, which depicted the torch lighting ceremony at the controversial pre-war games, would be “removed immediately” officials said, after being alerted to the gaffe by the Guardian. By last night the original version of the video had been taken down from YouTube. “This was a commemorative video marking 100 years of the Greek tourism organisation, that was shown in the UK for the first time, and we wanted to include footage from the Olympic games,” explained the tourism ministry’s general secretary, Panos Livadas. In a telephone interview from London on Thursday, where industry figures had gathered for the World Travel Market, the sector’s pre-eminent global event, Livadas added: “In the sequence, a scene from the 1936 Olympics was mistakenly included which we will immediately remove and rectify.” The Berlin games, used by Hitler to promote racial superiority and the ideals of Nazism, were the first to portray the ceremonial relay of the Olympic flame. At about eight minutes into the footage, (taken from a film compiled by the German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl the Fuhrer’s favourite propagandist) a blond, blue-eyed athlete, meant to embody Aryanism, is seen holding the Olympic torch aloft as he skips up a stairway to light the cauldron. The scene lasts barely a second before an image of a more recent torch lighting ceremony appears. Officials attributed the error to a technical oversight, saying it should not be given undue emphasis at a time when tourism, the mainstay of Greece’s otherwise crisis-hit economy, was doing extremely well. Despite a precipitous decline in holidaymakers from Russia and the Ukraine, the Mediterranean country attracted more than 20 million visitors – almost double the entire Greek population – amounting to a growth rate of more than 16% this year alone. “We have not just had a great reception here in London, we have had two back-to-back record years in terms of tourist arrivals and revenues,” said Livadas. “The rise will continue next year, which is great news for a sector that employs 700,000 people. And that is what we should be focusing on. That is what is important.” But the video rapidly elicited an excoriating response from viewers, not least from some Greeks. In online exchanges many said the error had been exacerbated by the film’s hackneyed presentation of Greece as a land of gods, myths and ancient heroes. At almost 12 minutes long the video, which inexplicably opens with a shot of New York and is narrated by an American (who participated as a US team member in the 1984 winter Olympics), includes almost no images of contemporary life, or young innovative Greeks. “It is very tiring and after a bit irritates with its outdated aesthetics,” wrote Robin Savas Savidis in an observation posted beneath the video’s YouTube slot. “It is reminiscent of a cheap soap opera [with] optical effects that verge on the ridiculous,” he said, echoing a widely held view. Deploring the decision to include the scene from the 1936 Olympic games, Ares Kalogeropoulos, another critic wrote: “It is perhaps the most repellent thing I have ever seen or paid for as a taxpayer.”
The video, made to promote Greece as a tourist destination, was presented during the World Travel Market, a very important event for the global tourist industry. According to the Guardian report, the original version of the video had been taken down from YouTube. The promotional video was shot to commemorate 100 years of the Hellenic Tourism Organisation (EOT). At about eight minutes into the footage, a blond athlete is holding the Olympic torch aloft as he runs up a stairway to light the cauldron.
Livadas said he hoped people would not give the technical oversight undue emphasis, and emphasized that Greece’s tourist industry was growing. The infamous footage was shot by Nazi propaganda film maker Leni Riefenstahl and intended to promote the Nazi ideals of racial superiority by showing athletes who embodied Aryanism.
The particular clip, which lasts for about a second, is from a propaganda film directed by Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favorite film-maker. The footage of the 1936 Olympics was shot by the German director for the sole purpose of promoting the ideals of Aryanism and show the supposed superiority of Germans. This was the first time that the ceremonial relay of the Olympic flame was introduced.
Panos Livadas, General Secretary of the Hellenic Tourism Organisation, said that, “In the sequence, a scene from the 1936 Olympics was mistakenly included which we will immediately remove and rectify.”
Greek officials admitted the error claiming it was a technical oversight. They also said that there should not be given undue emphasis to the unfortunate incident. Especially at a time when tourism is the most important sector of the Greek economy. sources: