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Interview with director Evgenia Zaitseva

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

I think at proper time I was inspired by stories about people in such magazines like “Dazed” and “I-d”. Also I began to dive into the political situation of my country and into social life issues more. There are such themes like sex and politics that you must not be shy to speak about and I decided to shoot short stories about it. It’s also linked with my returning from Spain where I’ve been living for 3 months. I didn’t understand why people in Russia are so embarrassed and uptight. Thus something changed in my mind and I began to delve into film industry more. And of course I really love cinema. I always do. True cinema: Jarmush, Tarantino, Almodovar, Trier, Kaurismäki

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

I don’t think so. I studied at the Directing Department of Theatrical Performances and Holidays. I started to study ‘final cut’ in the second year of education and I learnt by myself how to shoot. I never could sit down to training programs and learnt everything through practice. But I still want to start learning direction.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

To get started is always harder. It’s hard to pull yourself together and start working process with a project even if you are so excited about it. It seems to you that everything will not work out as it should,although the preparation is serious and all steps in post-production are predictable. But as soon as you start to work, you are full of strength, interest and inspiration. Inspiration is generated by actions, it doesn’t have to wait.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Mutual interest in a common cause. It really helped to make a film and edit it. There was an understanding of what we want in the end. But we did not aspire to festivals, we made a film because we just wanted to make this film.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

There was no casting. I called Stas and offered to take an interview with the main characters, who are from Sergiev-Posad. He said the survey itself would take 2 days, the maximum general timing should be done for 5-10 minutes. But in the end, we continued to shoot and go deeper, because this story seemed very interesting and relevant to us. We took about six months only, took some material from the chronicle of Stas with VHS, when the guys met for the first time, they went to the second probe to choose things for Upcycle project. That is, initially, it was generally a project of the Kruzhok brand, from which the idea was formed to shoot an interview and as a result, a film turned out. Everything is spontaneous. They also interviewed everyone spontaneously. As for the compromise – we did a common thing that was interesting to everyone. Therefore, no serious problems appeared on our way.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

Now I started drawing on video using Photoshop for JaerVibes and I didn’t do this before. At first I thought that I couldn’t cope so fast. But the deadline works wonders and I did it. If you’re wondering how it turned out, you can watch the channel on YouTube at JagerVibes and see all the new formats: Bullshit Bingo, Under Map, Fresh Meat, Sound Locals. Have a nice watching. Once I didn’t know how to work with a green screen. Once I didn’t know how to apply sound and it was also stress. I always have such interesting stories with new skills. I am a practitioner and I don’t like studying theory. I learned how to put light in the studio for photography without theory and stress. I didn’t edit the first video and begged to help me, but now I’m editing films. It’s funny, but I love going where I don’t understand a damn thing, but I’m terribly interested.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

I repeat, we gathered spontaneously and nothing was done on purpose. We found a friend of interest. Still Stas likes to meet new people and those who are engaged in something unusual and useful for society. It also affected.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Supply creates demand. But I do not agree that if something is very fashionable or relevant, then you need to shoot about it, talk about it. For example, the topic of ecology is now in trend. I support this mood, it is a useful mood. But you need to be able to filter, it is trend important. There are some topics that are not interesting to me, or I’m even against them. I will only deal with that and advertise what is close to me in spirit. Martin Scorsese: “This is not a movie. This is something else. We must not let them capture us. Cinemas need to become more active and show films with a plot. Cinemas have become amusement parks. This is good for those who like movies like this. I admire the way these films manage the resources invested in them, but they just aren’t my type, that’s all. But they create an audience that believes this is the movie. ” So here I support Scorsese. I will shoot what I like first. And I don’t really care what the others think about it.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

My first festival took place this summer of 2019. We were in the shortlist of the fashion festival BE IN OPEN in Moscow. we were shown in many cities of Russia and Europe. This is experience for me. After watching our movie at the show, the audience wrote to us and came up to us personally to say that we had the most relevant and human work. The film was useful for them, which made us think about something. I am glad that we were in the trend, but at the same time they didn’t change themselves and did what they liked. At festivals you will find out the opinions of people about your work that are very interesting, but I try to stay away from the opinions of others. I love compliments and respect criticism. But I also think that my own opinion is the best.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

Both. You need to respect the film fathers and pay tribute to this “beautiful” that they do and inspire you. But experimenting is my credo.