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The Next Play: Q&A with The Filmmakers

The Next Play film cover

"The Next Play", a film slated for filming in the summer of 2025, is being created by sisters Koula Kazista and Katina Bozikis to “explore the dynamics of rivalry within a high school field hockey team, delving deeply into the intricacies of friendship, sisterhood, and the unique challenges faced by a close-knit yet competitive group of athletes,” according to “The Next Play” press release.


One year out from filming, The Hidden Opponent caught up with Koula and Katina to discuss the film!


How did you each become interested in filmmaking and production? Who are your biggest role models in the industry/who influences your work the most?


Koula: I am heavily influenced by Peter Weir, who directed movies like “Dead Poets Society" and “Fearless.” I love that his movies made you feel so much and didn’t end with everything wrapped up in a bow. While I was in college I vividly remember walking out of the theater of “The Shawshank Redemption” and I couldn’t stop thinking about the film. At that moment I knew I wanted to make someone else feel that about a movie I had made. It was such a powerful feeling. I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker.


Katina: From very young I was always inspired by film watching the films with my Aunt Margie. It was when we worked in production and did our short film, “Lynn’s Wake” that I thought it was possible to do it.

Who are your biggest role models in the industry/who influences your work the most?

The biggest role models would be directors like Peter Weir and Jane Campion, who have pioneered the art of storytelling in film. Koula and I often speak about Weir in conversation and his symbolism. 


I was also inspired to do a sports movie watching Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” and “Foxcatcher.” These films are character driven narratives that deal with themes of the psyche. They resonate with my vision.


Why is mental health important to you? Why do you think it’s important to discuss the topic through film?


We have been around field hockey for many years. Our daughters started playing around the ages of 7. Field hockey is an incredible, dynamic, and beautiful sport. It encourages teamwork, which builds trust and cooperation among players. Participating in a team sport offers many benefits. But, it also brings challenges such as competition, rivalries, and jealousy. The culture of the sport has also changed in the last 20 years with more and more girls playing on the off season. There are so many young athletes training from grade school age, playing on the off season, training on club teams making sports so much more competitive than it has ever been. And this extends to the major challenges experienced by high school and college athletes, contributing to the mounting pressure on young individuals. 


As we went down this road with the script we started researching and came across Morgan Rodgers and her mother’s organization, Morgan’s Message, that honors her. Morgan was a collegiate athlete but also a thoughtful artist. Her drawings really spoke to us and it was at that moment that my sister and me knew we had to incorporate mental health and the stigma surrounding it. Our next film explores the pressures young athletes face. We want to make a change.


Film is a great medium. You can lecture and talk at kids all you want but to have them watch something creative and try to relate to it and see themselves in it, it is gold. It is a great way to get the conversation started, to keep young people engaged and get them to open up.


Can you tell us more about your past projects? More about this upcoming project?


We directed a movie called “Epiphany” (2019). It was a film about a dysfunctional family living in a little Greek sponge diving town in Tarpon Springs, Florida. It really is our love letter to our Greek heritage. We found distribution during it’s film festival run. It now has over 8.5 million views on YouTube alone and is being watched all over the world.

Our next movie is called “The Next Play.” This film explores the dynamics of rivalry within a high school field hockey team, delving into the intricacies of friendship, sisterhood, and the unique challenges faced by a closely-knit yet competitive group of athletes. Additionally, it sheds light on the often overlooked realm of mental health among young players.

We really want to highlight the game of field hockey with this film. The US has never had a narrative feature film that focuses on the sport of field hockey. Now is the time!


How can readers support your film and its mission?


We are not shooting this film until July, 2025. We have a crowd fundraiser that we just launched on a website called Seed&Spark. Here is the link: seedandspark.com/fund/the-next-play


We encourage people to go on there and then to share it on their social media outlets. 

And then, of course, when the film is finally released, to please watch it!


The Next Play Partnership graphic

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