By the moment I entered the international team of Impact50 I had produced three shorts. However, I have never produced a short film, which was not made from my own screenplay. This was my first try.
I read all the winning scripts, but it was hard to choose which one to produce, as I was searching a script with an easy location, minimum actors and ideally no dialogue, as I was going to shoot it in Russia. “Sing, Mummy!” by Tracey Parsons was ideal fit for my needs. And I really loved the script from the first read.
The first person whom I approached was wonderful actress Irina. I have already been working with Irina 13 years ago. She played the main part in a feature film, which was my screenwriting debut in Russia. I also worked with her on my previous short film “Without” she was line producer, casting director and a wonderful person to work with. Irina is a mother of two boys so it was heart breaking for her to imagine herself in the situation of not being able to see her kids in her last hours. Only after Irina agreed to create Emma, all the pre-production started.
First, we met with the director Vitaliy and discussed the script. I have approached the writer Tracey and was a bit worried if she will be happy to redraft the script for us, as the director wanted to bring some changes. Actually to add a whole scene in the beginning. Tracey was amazing person and collaborator, she liked the ideas we brought and redrafted her script very fast. It was the third production of her script and she said all three films are very different.
It took a month to build a team and prepare for filming. From the beginning, I knew it would be a micro-budget film with a tiny crew (6 people) shot in one day. Actually, we had even less than a day, as we had exterior scene and the daylight in Saint Petersburg in November can be seen just during six hours. In my experience this was the first film when everything was not against us (as it always happens in film production), but supporting us.
Our call time was 4:30am, which was hard for everybody, but I insisted on it. It took 3 hours to get to the location. Actually, we just came to “somewhere” and stayed there to wait for some daylight in total darkness on the forest road. We had no idea is this place good for our location. Oh, I forgot to mention, that due to the business of all crew members we didn’t have time for proper location scouting. We just knew the direction where to go. Therefore, it looked like a miracle when the daylight came. We were in the middle of nowhere in the forest, but it was the perfect location for our story. Director’s intuition was right when he said “Let’s wait here for some light”. Actually, I have fully understood our luck only the next day after shooting, when I saw the footage filmed with quadrocopter. The location was stunning!
In the middle of our shooting, something happened. Our actress had an accidental trauma. She fell on her knees while running in the scene and not only torn her trousers, but also scratched her kneels badly. We all were worried about her, but she said that she is able to continue acting without medical treatment to her poor kneel. This bad thing was actually good for the story, as it helped a lot to create a believable moment.
Irina was acting strongly and at some of the scenes I was almost crying while watching her. I forgot to mention, that both children whom the audience will see in the character’s mobile – are real Irina’s children.
The last shot was filmed in one take. And this take was accidentally the ideal one. After this take, the daylight just left us. I was worried about what to do if we will not finish everything before the light is gone. But we did it!
This week we are locking the editing and will start working on sound, grading and our composer will work on original music for the film. All of us are already working on other projects, but we are doing our best to finish post-production in April. And we are looking forward to you guys watching our film.
Me and my fantastic crew are happy to be a part of this International initiative and we thank Create50 for this amazing opportunity! I want to attach here couple of nice words from the director of the film and our actress.
“It is a very important project for me. The day of filming was one of the hardest, but at the same time one of the best days in my life. A wonderful team worked on the film, with whom, I hope, we will work together more than once. Thanks IMPACT 50 for the occasion to get together and, hopefully, to do something real we can be proud of”. (Irina Vinogradova, actress)
‘It was incredibly interesting for me, as a director, to take part in this international project. The theme of the project is also impressive, as in the conditions when a person is in a situation of hopelessness he can feel who he really is. I also loved the fact that participants of this project are from different countries, representatives of different cultures with a completely different mentality. Working in a wonderful team of professionals turns my participation in this project into a truly unforgettable cinematic adventure’ – Vitaliy Zharkov-Galitsev, Director