Interview with director Egor Soldatenkov

SHORT BIO OF THE WRITER: : My name is Egor Soldatenkov. I was born In Moscow on 21st of April 1996. I fell in love with cinematography from early childhood. When I was 4 years old, I used to watch VHS “Terminator 2” from dusk till dawn. At that time, we also spent a lot of time in cinema with my father, watching all new released movies on a big screen. In high classes I began learning some editing basis stuff. I couldn’t get to VGIK’s college and at that one moment I decided to forget about all my dreams working in cinematography, so I went to Moscow State University of Printing by I. Fedorov, to become materials scientist. Anyway, during my study there, I continued my career of an editor, improving my skills. By the end of the university, I found a job based not on my specialist, but after one’s own heart. Nevertheless, that feeling inside of me to make your own movie didn’t let me go. So, I wrote a script, teamed up with persons holding the same views, and by the end of that made my directors debut.

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

I have loved watching movies since childhood, especially «making of» and BTS videos. For a long time, filmmaking was one of my unattainable dreams, but gradually I realized that the dream is closer than it seems.

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

Since I didn’t graduate from a film school myself, I believe it’s not necessary. With desire, all the information can be found on the internet. But you need to be very disciplined to self-educate.

  • 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 starting is harder than continuing. Once I start something, it’s difficult to stop me.

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

The better you prepare for a film, the higher its quality will be. Since our film is low-budget, we had little time for shooting and consequently for preparation. Therefore, we had to make compromises in some cases. But sometimes, a spontaneous decision is the best decision.

  • 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?

As our film is an action film, the most difficult part was finding stunt actors who would be willing to participate in a low-budget short film. Fortunately, with the help of the wonderful producer Liza Basin, we assembled a great cast with professional stunt actors in leading roles. They also helped choreograph the fight scenes.

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

It was difficult to develop the visual style of the film. We immediately understood that we were creating a dark comedy, but how much could we exaggerate what was happening? Do we have more action or comedy? How deeply will we delve into social issues? In the end, I came up with linking the narrative to a video game. As if the social problems of society were being resolved according to the rules of beat ’em up games. And then the puzzle came together.

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

I have worked with many members of the team on my previous short film. First and foremost, I want to thank the producer of our film, Liza Basin; we have been working together since my first film, and it was she who helped me a lot to assemble a wonderful team. I have also developed excellent working relationships with the cinematographer, Misha Pestrjaev; he understands my vision of the film clearly and complements it.

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

Movies are primarily made for audiences, and of course, their interests should be taken into account. Otherwise, the director simply won’t have any work, as the audience won’t watch their film.

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

Film festivals help showcase the film to people. Additionally, the more awards a film receives, the higher its status. For example, it will be easier to publish it on a streaming platform.

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

I think it’s a personal choice for each director. Above all, it’s essential for the director to responsibly and professionally carry out their work. However, in the end, original vision is always valued by both producers and the audience.