The Gift of the Magi

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The Gift of the Magi

Directed By

Production Country

Production year

15:00 min

Rating: (3,7)


Della is a young woman of limited income who is desperate to buy her partner a Christmas present on Christmas Eve. In order to gain money for the cause, she decides to sell her hair, however her sacrifice may prove to be a futile one.

Director's statement

I first became acquainted with O’Henrys “The Gift of the Magi” when I was a child as a bedtime story and I have always felt I saw it in a much more serious light than it was generally seen. It is very difficult to portray acts of selflessness and love in film without making it even remotely cheesy, which I found was a rule amongst its earlier portrayals in film and television and of course was one of my main concerns when I touched the subject. I had always wanted to create a short out of the story but had in mind something much more faithful to the times and surroundings of the book, along with Lisbeth Zwergers famous illustrations which heavily inspired me in the making of this film. However seeing the outcome of the Greek crisis today, I realized that there were few stories more relevant about its reality than this one, so I decided to make a more personal version, remaining as faithful as possible to the book but introducing it into the world of the global crisis, something that gave the characters a deeper motive and a stronger personality. For me Della is the symbol of a person who goes into extreme lengths to preserve whatever hope she’s left with, while her surroundings collapse and the couples gesture is something of a “Beggars Banquet” before they venture into an unknown future.

The story is for me still very relative today because it continues to deal with current issues, but more importantly it proceeds to give a solution. In times of austerity where we naturally tend to be less giving, love, courage and selflessness will always be what caries us through. As O’Henry states in his short finale, the Magi are indeed each and every one of us.

Director's short bio

Ismene was born in Wilmersdorf Berlin in 1989 and grew up in Wellington, New Zealand and Greece, her home country. She finished school in 2006 and enrolled in film school, in which she stayed for a year before going to the School of Fine and Applied Arts of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki from which she acquired her MA in fine and applied art in 2012. During her studies she was greatly involved in the making of video art, installations and short films, but also co-wrote the script of a feature film for a production company in Athens, pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a film director. After she graduated she immediately became involved with the production of short independent films and video dances. She also quickly became involved in editing for various online magazines and websites surrounding art and film criticism something that lead her in 2013 to be appointed Chief Editor of the film department for Exostis Free Press, one of the most prestigious cultural press releases online in Thessaloniki. Her work has been shown in various international film festivals and exhibitions and she continues to work as a writer and film director to this day.

Film Participations Awards

Micro m Film Festival, (9 Cities in Greece and Paris, France) WON best Short Film Audience Award.
Balkans Beyond Borders, Greece. Official Selection
Taratsa Film Festival, Greece. Official Selection
Film Fest Dresden, Germany. Special Program
MICA Film Festival, Brazil. Official Selection
Thessaloniki International Short Film Festival. Official Selection

Cast & Team

Technical Specs

Color: BW
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Sound Format: Stereo


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