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Director, Producer

Hi, first of all, congratulations, you are one of the winners of the Europe Film Festival U.K. What do you feel?

Hello! I’m grateful for your appreciation of our work! My co-director Olga Tugaeva and I won your wonderful festival for the second time this year. In May, on this year our film Living the Dream got the Best Comedy, in September – No Fitness, No Love. Of course, we’re very happy about this!

Are you working on a new project at the moment or are you planning to?

Despite the Pandemia, we’ve made four films in a year and a half. They are a documentary about World War II, Anchor in the Steppe, and three short comedies, Student Fitness, Living the Dream, and No Fitness – No Love. We also managed to finish the philosophical film Earth Man. These films have already brought us more than 50 international awards.

Now we are finishing the post-production of the film Magic Under Skin. This is a historical drama about the fans of the Russian football club Lokomotiv Moscow, about their love and devotion to their favorite team. This is a film about the fans’ respect for generations of players who played for their favorite team, about their dreams and aspirations for future victories. This is a film about people for whom Lokomotiv is a part of life. And, of course, this film is musical, like all my films. The wonderful composer Sergey Moiseenko has already written music. So now we’re very busy!

What, in your opinion, is the most important quality of a Film Director/Producer?

First of all – love for what you do. If you love what you do you will strive to do your job as good as possible, you will give your heart and soul, all your strength to succeed in each film and in your career in general. And then no obstacles will be able to stop you.

Another important quality is excellent imagination and creativity, based on encyclopedic knowledge. You need to come up with your own original ideas, even the craziest ones, but not copy others.

And the third important quality is working capacity. Cinema is hard work. Apart from the production itself, there are a lot of emotions that have to be created and conveyed to the viewer. That’s a reason why work on the film doesn’t stop even in your sleep.

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

I think it’s harder to start. Each new film is harder for me than the previous one because I’m a perfectionist. And each time I strive to achieve the same success or even more. That’s why it takes a lot of mental and physical effort to prepare for the filming. When the necessary impulse is gained, an interesting game in which you have to overcome obstacles and succeed begins. The most interesting game begins only when you compete with yourself, trying to surpass what you have done before!

How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong? 

We have a small but very creative team. Olga Tugaeva is a young, talented director, she’s 23 and graduated with honors from the Institute of Cinematography this year. It so happened that my best student became my co-director. Despite her youth, she has more festival awards than many adult directors. Sergey Moiseenko is probably Russia’s only Hollywood-level composer. For me he is more than just a composer, he is a fully-fledged co-author. I completely agree with Quentin Tarantino, who said: “The film is for music, not the music for the film”. And all this creative chaos is managed by the “secret producer,” whose name is not in the credits – my wife, Dr. Marina Maslak. The other members of the crew are involved as needed.

Is filmmaking a good career choice?

“Cinema is a hobby that sometimes gets paid”. It is a very difficult profession that takes a lot of moral and physical energy from a person, with the fact that the result of all these efforts is always unpredictable. You cannot look at the cinema only as a career. Cinema is a whole life! If you don’t have an all-consuming love for cinema, which helps you cope with all its difficulties, choose a different profession.

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