16th ÉCU – The European Independent Film Festival
9th, 10th, 11th April 2021
European Music Video
A boy is being bullied in his neighbourhood. He feels desperate and hopeless but suddenly, he is able to escape by levitating above the ground. The film bounces on the edge of surrealistic optimism, explores the moods of hope and despair and above all – our continued desire for human connection.
Hi Taisia thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?
Hi! Thanks for having me!
Well, I have not been home in London since October because I was afraid that if I come back, I would not be able to leave to shoot. So, on the one hand, I am glad to have an opportunity to travel and work, but I feel pretty disoriented changing places of stay all the time.
Has this time offered you any creative inspiration or opportunities?
Yes. Actually, "Parachute" was created right after the first lockdown in London, during which I felt very isolated and lonely. Probably if it were not for the lockdown, I would have come up with a different idea for this track.
Congratulations on having your music video Parachute selected for the 16th ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?
Thank you very much! Indeed it is a great honour to have "Parachute" selected by ECU. Last year my music video for Paul Kalkbrenner's "Part Twelve" was chosen by ECU too, and it is great to see that the attention to my work does not fade away.
This isn't the first time you have worked with Paul Kalkbrenner, what is it about Paul's music that connects so much with you?
Paul is an incredible artist. His music evokes a whole pallet of emotions and sends me on a unique journey. Moreover, Paul has enormous respect for the artistic work of other artists. He gives me complete freedom of expression in the videos. That's so rare and gratifying for me as an artist.
Can you tell me a little bit about Parachute, what was the inspiration behind your concept for this music video?
It was the third month of the UK lockdown in my apartment in London. I did not feel good. I felt sad and hopeless. At that moment, it seemed to me that things would never go back to normal, that I would never have an opportunity to shoot and work as a director again. I felt very isolated and lonely.
When I listened to "Parachute," it intensified my craving for connection with the world and gave me hope. The images of the boy and the whole story became alive in my head with my emotional state being a very fertile soil.
What where the biggest challenges you faced bringing this film to life?
Levitation and floating in the air was a big challenge. Most videos with levitation do not work for me, they look fake and cheesy. My producer Karina Tateosyan and I were very concerned with this matter. We spent a lot of time researching why humans flying looked credible in some videos, and in others, it did not. Karina organised Zoom calls with people who shot a space movie in Russia, and they were very generous to share all their knowledge with us. Our choreographers and stunt coordinators worked hard together to help the actors understand what zero gravity feels like during rehearsals on wires.
It was a challenging shoot technically because we decided not to use a green screen in 90% of our levitating shots. So, our stunt crew and our actors were doing incredibly tough physical and psychological work floating on wires between concrete buildings at a significant height. But it all paid off.
How best would you describe Parachute?
"It is a story about finding unity in the power of shared experience and vulnerability." James Maitre Director's Notes.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
Since I was a child, I've been daydreaming a lot. I guess it has become a psychological defence mechanism. Each time I felt sad, I would go into my imaginary world. I would fantasise about myself being a heroine of different exciting stories, and I would see them vividly in my head as if they were a film. Like that, I felt able to control what was happening to me and feel powerful. I thought everyone did the same, but later it turned out it was my peculiarity. I guess this is the root of my insatiable desire to create visual narratives. It is still a very therapeutic process for me.
"Filmmakers should do whatever serves their purpose and makes them feel fulfilled."
How much has your approach to your projects changed since you stared out?
I've always taken my work extremely seriously. I'm not a light-hearted director who realises her projects playfully and lightheartedly. Once a project gets confirmed, I switch into a tunnel vision mode. Everything else except for the story and thoughts on how to realise it best does not exist for me until I hear the phrase "That's a wrap!".
Is there any advice you have been given that has really helped you?
Hm. I don't think so.
Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
I think one of the greatest feelings in human life is feeling fulfilled. Filmmakers should do whatever serves their purpose and makes them feel fulfilled.
What tips or advice you would you now offer a fellow filmmaker making their own debut film?
Please, don't give up!
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Parachute?
I hope it will be a short emotional journey during which each person who watches it feels vibrant and alive.