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Actress Nina Yakovleva_Photo by Suzanna

A folklore student arrives in a remote village, but the only person who can help him took the vow of silence. Eventually, they discover their life stories are peculiarly complementary.


Hi Elena thanks for talking to TNC, how is everything going?

Warm greetings from cold Russia! It’s not 0°C yet, so I’m fine, thanks.

Any nerves ahead of the screening?

Oh, yes. It will be the international premiere for Uman. There were screenings in Russia. I couldn’t come to London, but there will be our script doctor Vera Shcherbina. So I think she is more anxious than I am right now.

InShort Film Festival aims to promote global discussion, how important is it for you as a filmmaker to be part of this type of film festival?

I think InShort Film Festival is doing a great job because nowadays counties expand their boundaries, and people want to know each other, wants to watch foreign films and discuss them. My film is about the Chuvash people – the small ethnic group in Russia. I would like to tell the whole world about them that’s why I’m so proud to be a participant in the international festival.

Tell me a little bit about Uman, how did the film come about?

I have concerns about the sense of responsibility and exceeding the infancy of millennials. So I forced a hipster to leave his habitual residence and put him in a remote village. And it’s not a comedy, it’s a drama.

Cut!_Photo by Suzanna Darni.jpg

What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

During my university years, I visited villages where I met locals and asked them about old national songs, tales etc. Folklore as the word is. Once I have met a sad old woman, and her story sank deep into my heart. For ten years. Then the screenplay of Uman has come about. I worked on it with my co-author Friderike Brin.

What was the most challenging part of making this film?

I wanted to use sunset and sunrise light in my film that’s why we started shooting in the evening, then shot all night long and finished at dawn. In the daytime, our production team caught up on sleep like vampires. Another challenge was to get Alexei Aigui to write music for our short film. It was an honour to work with such brilliant globally famous composer.

How much has your style and the approach to your filmmaking changed since your debut?

My debut was in 2015. I have studied at cinematography school and have shot a short comedy. My second film was my graduation project (it is a psychological thriller). Last year I have shot Uman as an independent film director. I experimentalised, tried genres out. Hope I grow my skills. I’m grateful to Russian Film Group Corp. for assistance and guidance because they have shown me the real filmmaking process.

"...always remember that a good screenplay is a keystone of everything!"

How would you describe Uman in three words?

Dawn. River. Song.

Do you have any advice or tips for any fellow filmmaker?

Believe in your idea, and the rest will follow. And always remember that a good screenplay is a keystone of everything!

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?

I hope the audience will enjoy the atmosphere and music of my birthplace and reflect on a person’s duty and responsibility for the people around you.

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