NewsLocal News


Your Family Now: Alexander Payne promotes Omaha Greek Festival his father started

Posted at 8:00 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 14:35:37-04

Alexander Payne is known as an Oscar-winning screenwriter who has stayed connected to his Omaha and Nebraska roots. Recently he sat down with 3 News Now Anchor Jennifer Griswold.

Instead of promoting a film, he's talking about a festival--Omaha's Original Greek Festival.

This weekend you can enjoy food, music and family fun at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Omaha. It starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 17th and runs throughout the weekend. Even if it rains, they'll hold celebrations inside and under a tent. Click here for a full list of events, times and prices

Alexander's late father, George Payne (their family name is originally Papadopoulos), started the festival in the late 1970s. 

"We had at the time a very charismatic Greek priest who was master of ceremonies for the dancing and music and would encourage people to pull their wallets out and spend, and spend they did," Payne said that first festival was quite successful. 

Payne travels to Greece often since his wife is from there, and they have a young child. "I'm Greek from Omaha, and I married a Greek from the factory. I pretty much will spend every summer of my life in Greece and there are worse fates." He also chooses to spend a lot of time in Omaha. His mother still lives here too. 

Payne said Omaha has changed since he grew up here. He said it's absorbing influences from other cosmopolitan areas, but still staying true to itself, "Omaha is not becoming like any other city, what's beautiful about Omaha is it's able to incorporate influences from outside but turn it into its own Omaha variety. Omaha keeps its soul."

Payne said he's currently writing and doesn't have any future projects to discuss publicly at this moment. In 2016, he wrapped up filming for the movie, 'Downsizing,' in Omaha. The film's premiere was at the Dundee Theater. The main screen in the theater is named after his mother, Peggy Payne.