In Vain

Project type: Fiction Short
Project status: Development
Director: Anastasia Eleftheriou
Producer: Nathaniel Draper
Writer: Moritz Pfeifer
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In a desertified landscape, on the brink of environmental catastrophe, a genderless being drifts into a society in crisis, whose troubles are all too easily pinned on the arrival of this “unknown”.


A wide, fertile, grass-covered meadow lies in a valley. Several wild horses graze in the meadow, quenching their thirst at small pozzi—natural wells of water dispersed throughout the meadow. In one pozzi the surface of the water trembles and suddenly a person rises out of the well. Nearby sits a village, perched upon a stony hilltop outcropping. The town readies its daily ritual, in which the villagers meet at the town’s square to run their chances of getting a ration of water from the municipal water reserve. The water level is seemingly never enough to go around, and so they need all the advantage they can get. The figure passes through a desolate landscape and approaches the village walls. A girl sits in the sand, playing with a jug. The figure approaches, curious, frightening the girl, who drops her jug and spills her precious water. Across town, a crowd of women gather expectantly around a water tower for the public water rationing. The “water guard” reads the water level to the roaring disappointment of the crowd. The villagers turn on the figure, the waster of water.

Meet the Filmmakers

Anastasia Melia Eleftheriou – Director
Anastasia Melia Eleftheriou comes from Thessaloniki, Greece, and has lived in Paris since 2011. Trained in directing and editing in France and the US, she is also a film programmer at the Forum des Images and a critic for the magazine East European Film Bulletin. Her first short film, By Halves, won the special award for best female director at the Drama International Film Festival in Greece, in 2018.

Moritz Pfeifer – Writer
Moritz Pfeifer is the co-founder and co-editor of the East European Film Bulletin. He holds a teaching position at the University of Nanterre and at SciencesPo Paris. His articles have appeared in Film Quarterly, Senses of Cinema and Film Criticism, among others. He wrote and produced By Halves.

Nathaniel Draper – Producer, D.O.P
Nathaniel Draper is a filmmaker and director of photography based in Paris. His first film, The Nose, was both awarded and earned an appointment to the National Board of Review Award in the United States. His subsequent films have screened in festivals and venues around the world, including Edinburgh Film Festival, Chicago Underground, Kassel Dokfest, Analogica Selection and others.

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