OSCARS Nominee 2022 
Best Animated Short Film
Interview

Anton Dyakov 
BOXBALLET
vimeo.com/Anton-Dyakov

One day, a delicate ballerina named Olya meets the rough, surly boxer Evgeny. The contrast between their worlds and their philosophies is so sharp that even the possibility of these two characters crossing paths seems incredible.

Hi Anton thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

Of course, it’s not very strange that all of a sudden the whole world cares about your feelings. Because everyone asks the question about how I feel. It's a strange experience for a cartoonist who has been immersed in current work for years. I am very pleased and unexpected that my work is so warmly received abroad, I did not count on this for sure. I accept with gratitude this attention and congratulations.

Congratulations on your 2022 Oscar Nomination Best Animation Short for BOXBALLET what does it mean to you to get this type of recognition for your film?

This gives hope that many people in Russia will first of all have a reason to turn their attention to the author's animation. Perhaps someone will simply discover the space of alternative artistic searches. But I will not hide it, for me, it is an energy credit of people's trust. This gives strength to move on.

As this is your first Oscar Nomination are there any nerves ahead of the ceremony in March?

I'm not worried, maybe because it's all too abstract for me. I try to be happy with what I have.

The Animation Short Film (and Live Action Short Film Anim) are perhaps two of the most significant categories at the Academy Awards because they shine a much-needed light on Short Animation Films, and for most of the audience watching outside of a film festival, they might never get to see them. What more can be done to make Short Animation Films more accessible to wider film audiences?

Enlightenment, search for new venues for the meeting of authors and viewers. A difficult question, but an important one.

 

What was the inspiration behind BOXBALLET and what was the message you wanted to convey with this short animation?

I did not want to convey any messages to the viewer with this work. I just wanted the viewer to ask himself a question after watching it. And I don’t want to talk about what kind of question either, because it will be some pressure on my part. The main thing is not to be bored.

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"When I do not brush aside those who come to me at the behest of my heart, it is worth taking a closer look and possibly spending money, it is heaven itself that sends associates."

You co-wrote BOXBALLET with Andrey Vasilyev, what was that experience like and will you continue to collaborate on future projects?

With Andrey, we have written quite a few full-length and short-length scripts, we are constantly looking for the implementation of our ideas. And we work constantly. Andrei is an encyclopedist and a strong prose writer.

When working on an animated short like BOXBALLET how important is it for you to be flexible with the project?

The BOXBALLET was made in a big studio and that determined a lot of how the movie looked. Adapting the artistic solution I set to the production capabilities and features of the studio turned out to be the most important stage in the work on the film. This moment required some flexibility, and it really paid off. It is not possible for many people involved in production to demand a line perfectly similar to the one that my hand produces for example, it is simply necessary to find a balance between my aesthetic preferences and the possibilities of studio production.

What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from making BOXBALLET?

Sincere desire, indifference to the idea in the end gives the best possible result. People came to me and asked for a project, and sometimes even their skill was not at some transcendental level, but this indifference and sincere desire contributed to the accomplishment of small miracles. When I do not brush aside those who come to me at the behest of my heart, it is worth taking a closer look and possibly spending money, it is heaven itself that sends associates.

Have you always had a passion for animation?

I loved to watch since childhood, but I never even imagined that I would do this someday. Then when I felt dim in advertising, I changed the record and went into the author's animation. And it was an important turn in my life, and risky of course.

Since your debut short has your approach to the way you write/direct your films changed much and do you have any tips or advice for emerging filmmakers?

I know to listen to myself became more sensitive. The decision to do this script or another idea, I believe in my own gut. Responds or quietly, and this is perhaps the most important thing for me now.

And finally, what do you want your audiences to take away from BOXBALLET?

Take care of each other, hold on to those you love at all costs.