An interview with Nick Dourlios
The documentary “Olympus: Four Paths to Reach the Gods” travels us to the mountain peaks of Mytikas, the home of the gods, and walks us through four different routes, in four different seasons. The images of the unparalleled beauty of the mythical mountain of Mt. Olympus, will have an impact on you the whole 96 minutes of the film where you’ll feel the calling to explore this unique mountain.
Nikos Dourlio’s filming techniques are impressive as the landscape picture alternates with the climbers’ adventures on the paths. We asked him to tell us all about his experience and the beauty of Mt. Olympus:
(1) How did you engage with the mountain, to begin with? What was the reason that attracted you to this hobby?
Generally, a desire I always had, was being surrounded by nature as it appealed to me more than the city. Later, when photography came into my life, besides the happiness of being in nature – mountain or sea – happiness was doubled! I saw nature a little bit differently, through the art of photography!
(2) What inspired you to capture the beauty of Mt. Olympus, and not another mountain, through your camera lens?
Apart from the legends and the mythological background, that surely adds indescribable glamour to the mountain, Mt. Olympus, presents a great interest as photography is concerned, due to the landscape alternations, its various peaks, and its steep gorges. The light and the swiftly changing weather make you want to capture everything in a shot. Undoubtedly, Mt. Olympus requires to dedicate your time and have patience. The legend of Mt. Olympus Kostas Zolotas tells us, the famous mountain ” does not reveal its secrets easily, the visitor needs time to enter the heart of Mt. Olympus”.
Mt.Olympus has some inner magic. Seeing all these beautiful landscapes and especially the Plateau of the Muses, you can sit and gaze at the world that lies beneath your feet after having climbed up and feeling very tired. At this exact moment, you’ll be filled with peace and happiness. In other words, you feel like a small God!
(3) The shooting took 4 years. Undoubtedly, this is very demanding; mentally and physically. How did you manage to accomplish such a difficult mission?
A project to this extent, which captures this huge mountain in all four seasons, is not an easy task. First of all, capturing natural beauty itself is a big deal. You don’t always encounter the desirable conditions and as a result, you have to come back over and over again. Moreover getting the people who live, love and know the mountain to coincide with the desired weather conditions in order to get a coherent story, requires a long time as well!
Everything requires a lot of time: we have to get to know the people, to be all available, to have a favorable weather, which is always the dominant factor in planning an expedition in the mountain (as in the sea) and we must always respect it. We did, however, endure difficult situations.
Finance also put us in a difficult situation, but my mental strength, my love for adventure and photography was so strong that nothing could stop me from achieving my goal.
A very helpful element was the people that surrounded and supported me. Seeing our progress helped us go on. The team who took part in the production of the film, as well as the people who participated in it with pleasure and told us their stories, gave me the strength to continue.
(4) Which of the four paths was the most difficult for you and which one you would visit again?
As we reached Laimos in the path of Koromilia, as well as in the plateau, we experienced bad weather conditions – hail, snow, and mist – although it was spring. The trail from Vrysopoules was also difficult because of the snow and due to the fact that everything had to be done quickly because you have to always keep in mind the time you need to return. Of course, all the paths are gorgeous and have their beauties. I will come back over and over again to each and every one. There are also two more paths, that are a bit more technical, which I plan to visit in the future, from the shelter Krevatia to Kopsi Barbalas and from Xerolaki and Kopsi Naoum.
(5) Are there any Gods on Mount Olympus?
Climbing up the path to the top of the mountain you’ll experience a challenging fatigue. The reward comes at the end. You feel like nothing can stand in your way. You do feel more or less like a small God, gazing the world down from the top. The adventure of climbing is a unique experience. The fact that in the end, you can make it to the top, which is often a different experience for everyone, makes you feel this metaphorical “divine” sense!
(6) Considering that a lot of people watching your documentary will want to visit Mt. Olympus, what kind of advice would you give them in order to get most out of this experience?
Generally, the best time to climb Mt. Olympus is from June to October. If you are an experienced mountaineer and skier you can visit all year round. You must respect the mountain and you should never overestimate your powers. You always have to listen to the advice given by the people at the shelters. They know the paths and they have the experience to send you off on a preferable one as well as which is the best time to do so.
(7) What are you planning next? Do you intend to film another documentary?
My next project will be a tale like a road-trip movie in Thessaly. I won’t forget Mt. Olympus. The shots taken will become five episodes for a TV series, four of which will concern the paths and will be about winter. I plan to explore two more paths that will be a bit more “extreme” than Krevatia- Barbalas and Naoum.
We would like to thank Mr. Dourlio for his audiovisual material and for taking the time in being interviewed!