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My Rebetika Blues

My Rembetika Blues – a film about love, life and Greek music.
FEATURING LIVE MUSIC BY GEORGE SEMPEPOS. His alter ego, George Barba Yiorgi, will perform Greek surf-rock and psychedelic rembetika with the band the ByzanTones.
In the context of Greece in USA under the Auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture
Rembetika music or the Greek blues is a music born of exile and the streets. Developing its roots from the mass migration of people in the early twentieth century, filmmaker M. Zournazi traces the journey of her forebears from Smyrna in Turkey to Sydney Australia but discovers more than family history, she finds out how music connects people during times of struggle and crises. By weaving together different stories of music and migration, she documents experiences that are often left out of the chronicles of history.
Long Synopsis:
My Rembetika Blues is a film about the power of music and what makes us human. Rembetika music or the Greek blues is a music of the streets and a music of refugees. The film explores the heart and soul of Rembetika music through peoples’ stories of love, loss and belonging.
Rembetika developed its roots from migrant experience. My grandmother was one of the 1.2 million refugees who fled the Smyrna disaster in Turkey in 1922 and arrived at the Port of Piraeus in Greece. She, like many, became part of a movement of people, and of tradition, which saw the birth Rembetika. Through its rawness and unique style, Rembetika provides one of the world’s foremost musical accounts of migrant experience.
Through my grandmother’s story, I narrate a personal account of the depth of longing and belonging that is part of the migrant life. By weaving together different stories and interviews, the film looks at the legacies of history and migration, and how music can connect people in times of struggle and in times of need.
Drawing on the parallels of the migrant and economic crisis in Greece, the film explores the revival of Rembetika today, and how it continues to convey everyday life and struggle through the fusion of street music, hip-hop, and other influences such as Byzantine music and the Blues.
The film documents peoples’ memory and experiences that are often left out of the chronicles of history. It is a universal story about love, life and musi
“Rembetika is a music that calls me home,” says Mary Zournazi in her amazing feature documentary, REMBETIKA.
And indeed, REMBETIKA is that rare documentary that covers its subject–REMBETIKA music–so thoroughly documenting its “sound”, history, locations, and evolution interviewing performers, scholars and more, but Mary totally engages us by making this her personal journey to discover more of her mother’s heritage which co-exists with Rembetika history from Turkey to Greece to Egypt and Lebanon and on to Australia. “Music has no borders,” this touching film illustrates as folk from throughout the Balkans and Middle East claim this music and even the theme song of PULP FICTION turns out to have come out of this rich “Rembetika” heritage!
Professor Andrew Horton
Festival Screenings to date:
Los Angeles Greek Film Festival
San Francisco Greek Film Festival
Nevada Women’s Film Festival
World Fest Houston international Film Festival
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Parma International Music Film Festival, Italy
International Film and Television Festival SIMFEST, Romania
EATSA Art & Tourism Film Festival, Portugal
The film will be premiered in Greece in March at the National Film Greek Archive.
Nominations and Awards:
Winner: Gold Remi Documentary Award from World Fest Houston international Film Festival
Excellence in Film Making Spotlight Film Awards
Platinum Award Women’s International Film Awards
Runner-up: Best Documentary Film Williamsburg Film and music Festival
Nominated for:
Best Documentary Los Angeles Greek Film Festival
Best Documentary San Francisco Greek Film Festival
Best Documentary Nevada Women’s Film Festival
Best Documentary Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Director Bio:
M. Zournazi is an Australian film maker, author and cultural philosopher. Her multi-awarding winning documentary Dogs of Democracy (2017) was screened worldwide. Her most recent documentary film, My Rembetika Blues is a film about life, love and Greek music. She is the author of several books including Hope – New Philosophies for Change, Inventing Peace with the German filmmaker Wim Wenders and most recently Justice and Love with Rowan Williams.
Producer Bio:
Email: M: 0414 683231
Tom Zubrycki has been making documentaries for over 45 years. He has won many awards for his work and his mentorship on behalf of the industry. As director Tom’s documentaris have a distinctive observational story-telling style, and have focused around a personal response to the issues of the day. Films like THE DIPLOMAT, MOLLY & MOBARAK and THE HUNGRY TIDE. As producer and EP Tom has worked both with experienced and also new and emerging directors. Recent films include DOGS OF DEMOCRACY, THE WEATHER DIARIES, TEACH A MAN TO FISH and UNDERMINED – _TALES FROM THE KIMBERLEY .Tom is a recipient of the prestigious Stanley Hawes Award, and has actively championed the cause of the documentary sector. His monograph The Changing Landscape of Australian Documentary published in 2019 by Currency House was a Platform Paper about the state of documentary in Australia.
Written, Directed & Filmed by
Produced by
Tom Zubrycki
Greek Film Archive
M. Zournazi
Peter Crombie ASE
Sam Zubrycki
Original Musical Score
Sound Mix
David McCarthy
Zig Zag Post

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