On June 21, 2004, equipped with a camera and a dream, the director assembled friends and family to shoot the first scene of “Ithaki” by the Nile River. Shooting began with no script or budget, just characters whose real-life stories became blurred with the director’s imagination as they were captured by his camera in the months that followed.
Two months prior, the director began drafting the film’s characters and outlining their relationships. Subsequently, he created several scenes that conveyed certain attributes of the characters’ lives he wanted to feature in the film. As each scene was scheduled for shooting, the director met with a screenwriter who wrote the dialogue. Usually the dialogue was given to the actors on the day of shooting and oftentimes it was modified on the spot to better express the actors’ feelings and natural way of speaking. In a few scenes the dialogue was entirely improvised by the actors.
Unintentionally, the process of making “Ithaki” paralleled the legendary story of the Odyssey the film drew upon. Although shooting was conducted in 28 days, these prolonged over eight months. As none of the actors were paid, scheduling depended entirely on their availability. No artificial sets or props were used, partly for budgetary reasons and partly because natural settings further conveyed the director’s attempt to blur reality and fiction.