Kannava You Can'av'er
Ten Years After...Ten Years Older
Vanilla Essence
The Butler
Dreams for Life
Kissing Paris

Anna Kannava was a unique filmmaker in Melbourne in the '80s, '90s and '00s. She had a cinematic vision which honoured her history and her feelings, and she was equally adept at fiction films as she was in documentary and experimental films.

Because of her health, she made only 8 films from 1980 to 2008, working on each of them carefully and with love.

Whilst a student at Rusden College (now Deakin University), she firstly made the cheeky Kannava You Can'av'er (1980, 2 mins, 16mm), and then followed that up with two experimental short films directed together with fellow student Annie Duncan, namely The Wedding of Venus (1981, 14 mins, 16mm) and Tightrope Water (1982, 12 mins, 16mm).

After graduating from film school, Kannava decided she needed to have a reunion with her homeland Cyprus and her grandmother, and from this visit, her first personal documentary ensued, Ten Years After ... Ten Years Older (1986, 35 mins, 16mm). This was the first film where she received funding from the government film funding agencies, and this support would continue till the end of her career.

Her next film was a change of direction, a short narrative comedy in the style of a silent film, Vanilla Essence (1989, 16 mins, 16mm).

At this point, Kannava's life was shattered by the unexpected health condition of scleroderma hitting her. This slowed down her productivity, but did not stop it. She made another personal documentary about herself and her family, this time focussing on her brother Ninos, but also including her own health condition, The Butler (1997, 58 mins, 16mm).

For the last period of her filmmaking career, Kannava turned to fiction narrative feature films, but ones which still expressed her life and her beliefs about life, Dreams for Life (2004, 76 mins, Super 16/35mm) and Kissing Paris (2008, 90 mins, HDV).

During this same decade of the '00s, she also had various other scripts completed (The Distance, The Beautiful Woman, and Sexy Guy), but all them remained unproduced. And in 2010, as her health started suffering, she had a Bollywood-type film in her plans, but her health deteriorated and she died in 2011.

The Indian/Bollywood film was designed for the Indian star Shah Rukh Khan, and in her desire to contact him, she put this page up online in 2010 in the hope that he would see it - Devadutt.

After she died in May 2011, Cinema Nova in Melbourne staged a comprehensive Retrospective of her work over August 11/12 2011, screening all of her films.

After that, in September 2011, Monash University staged its World Cinema Now Conference, organised by Dr. Adrian Martin, with a special session on September 27, 2011 called "Tribute to Anna Kannava", with speakers Kate Cutts, Graeme Cutts (one of Kannava's teachers at Deakin University in 1980) and Bill Mousoulis. Here is a PDF with program notes for the Conference (Kannava notes on page 8). And here is a video recording of the Tribute to Anna Kannava.

In 2012, Deakin University launched the Anna Kannava Scholarship, to assist young female filmmakers. The Scholarship is permanently in place.

Her work continues to be screened at special screenings: Greek Film Society in 2015, Artist Film Workshop in 2018, Unknown Pleasures in 2019, and Unknown Pleasures again in 2022.

After the Artist Film Workshop screening, a special web page was published, "Kannava Essence: A Tribute to Anna Kannava".

There is also a renewed interest in Kannava's work in her homeland Cyprus. In 2022, the Images and Views of Alternative Cinema Film Festival staged a retrospective of her work titled "Anna Kannava - Hooked on the Magic of Life" (go to page 85 of the program notes), and in 2023, the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre included Kannava in their exhibition of Cypriot diasporic artists titled "We Can Only Begin to Notice", playing the film Ten Years After ... Ten Years Older, and also having a special screening of The Butler.

The film The Butler has also had a 4K Restoration in 2023 (by Ray Argall), and other HD refurbishments have been made to Kannava's other films. Most of her films can be viewed freely on the newly created Anna Kannava YouTube Channel.

Online resources:

Anna Kannava Profile
, Melbourne Independent Filmmakers' website

Elsewhere: Anna Kannava, by Adrian Martin, Film Critic website

© Anna Kannava Estate 2023