Creating a Pagration (aka Pankration) Documentary

Hey there!

My name is Tommy Bonas and I am the screenwriter for a documentary-short named "Pagration: Resurrecting an Ancient Art" that I am trying to produce in order to showcase an ancient Greek Martial Art called Pagration! (a.k.a. Pankration) 


Pagration is a sophisticated and elegant ancient Hellenic martial art and sport, with its origins reaching as far back as mythology itself. It was also was one of the prominent Olympic sports for 869 years of the ancient era, and was even considered “of the Olympics the greatest” by Philostratus.


During the Byzantine era Pagration was banned, considered to be an art of the “pagan” culture of Hellenism. Major efforts have been made to bring Pagration back to the spotlight since 1970.

A major step forward would be to have Pagration enlisted in UNESCO’s intangible heritage list. This would open many opportunities for the unification of the efforts of its revival and for the introduction of Pagration in media, such as fictional movies, sport, and practice. In order to submit the application, a short 10-minute film must be submitted.


Due to the fact that no other documentary film has been made for the art form, it is a great opportunity to innovate in the martial-art field, as well as the action-film genre, given that Pagration is so effective and unique in its approach and choreography.

The more the sport is introduced to the wider public, the greater the chances to bring it back to its rightful place in the Olympics as the only full-contact, multifaceted, combat-sport.


The documentary will have two cuts, one for the UNESCO intangible heritage application’s submission, which is mandated at 10 minutes in length, and a theatrical cart that will be approximately 25 minutes long. This cut will be created so that the documentary can be promoted via film festivals as well as be openly viewable on Youtube and promoted via social media.

The documentary will feature more interviews from experts in the field of history, martial arts, and of course, Pagration. Some of the interviewees may include Chris Crudelli, Mike Zambidis, Antonis A. Antonakos, Lazaros Savvidis, and others!

To complement these interviews, beautiful Greek scenery that relates to Pagration will be displayed as well. This includes the ancient palestrae of Ancient Olympia where Pagration matches were held

As well as the amphitheater of Dodoni, statues, and amphorae that feature Pagration, and much more.


The documentary will ideally be shot within the mid two weeks of July 2019, and be completed within the next four weeks of August 2019. This way it can be featured in several of the upcoming short film festivals

The budget for the short-film includes:

•            Travel to the UK from Greece for a portion of the filming.

•            The rental of filming equipment.

•            The rental of a filming studio for a portion of the interviews.

•            Labor costs for the staff.

•            Travel within Greece to film the scenery and monuments that pertain to the film.

•            Legal costs and filming licenses for the ancient monuments.

•         Honorariums for the interviewees.

The current cost for the documentary, with all the above considered, is at 5,812€, or 6,526$ Please note that labor costs are cut to a minimum to keep the cost of the budget as affordable as possible. Due to the nature of the subject and the fact that I would like to display this documentary openly after it is filmed, finding funding has been neigh impossible. It is with your help that I Pagration: Resurrecting an Ancient Art can become a reality.

The documentary-short is a great opportunity to showcase and feature a beautiful and advanced piece of ancient Hellenic culture that is otherwise unknown.

 The potential is boundless, as the enlisting of the art in UNESCO’s list will create multiple venues of following up the interest created.


From feature-length documentaries to fictional films, to a new sport in the Olympics, it is a chance not to miss out on. The passion and drive are there, all we need to do is begin!

I have been studying, researching, and practicing Pagration for the last 17 years. Pagration is a huge passion for me, and showcasing the art form is a life-long a goal for me. I truly believe that the promulgation of Pagration has enormous potential.


In order to accomplish this goal, I have written follow-up scripts for short and feature-length films so that Pagration’s choreography can shine within fiction. My script Vocation’s Echo was featured in Drama’s International Short-Film festival in 2017. I hope to progress into creating these films and further display this lost art form. I am fully committed and eager to work on the documentary as soon as possible!

In order to film Pagration: Resurrecting an Ancient Art, I have enlisted the help of an amazing crew in the Greek film-industry, with directors, editors, and photographers that share the same passion.

Thanks for checking this out!


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Tommy Bonas 
Katy, TX
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