1998-- Vika is in transition from child to teenager, and from Russian to American. Boris, Vika’s father, is struggling with his helplessness in this new country by clinging to his past. In 1993, Boris moved his family out from falling Communism into a booming American economy—part of a wave of post-Soviet Bloc immigration.
She used to be Daddy’s favorite. Now, they can’t even manage to have a conversation. During his birthday dinner party, his brother in law gets him drunk and he recklessly shames Vika for becoming too American. She storms off into their lower-class, immigrant neighborhood: A world that she is comfortable in—a world that he can’t truly follow her into.
Boris ventures out to find Vika. They struggle together to build a new understanding amid all these changes.
I have written my most personal story with Bean.
My family immigrated in the early 1990s from St. Petersburg to Rockville, Maryland. My parents went from being a doctor and an engineer to a masseuse and working in a mailroom. They worked all the time, while my sisters and I were absorbed into American childhood. It felt like two distinct worlds in one house.
At first, I wrote this script to better understand my father. Soon I realized that much more than that, I want to tell an immigrant story about the uncomfortable in-betweeness of moving to a new country. Growing up, I was told I was too American at home and called Russian at school. Both identities isolated me.
I want this film to represent many immigrant families (not just former Soviet Union families from the 90s) and introduce generational and identity issues that arise when you have to call a new place “home.”
Ilana Coleman (Mexico City, 1987) is filmmaker from the Film Directing program at California Institute of the Arts. She has collaborated as a Cinematographer in several films. Her work as a Director of Photography include The Ebbing Tree by Director Damanuel Richardson, When We Where Birds and Fast Car by Chy Chi and Volver, Astra and The Escape by Andres Piñeros. Her work as a Cinematographer and Director include Theory of Color and The Woman and The Fish, both films have been featured in the Experimental Mexican Showcase at Shorts Film Festival in Mexico City.
Lucía Tello Moscarella is a 22 year old Mexican filmmaker. She is currently pursuing her bachelor degree in the Film and Video program at Calarts. She has worked as a producer and assistant director in many of her classmates films; Her most recent collaboration being "Parlor of Oddities 2". She also collaborated in the recent puppet play "Canción de Quetzal" at CalArts. Her work focuses on women and the physical experience.
Eunhye Hong Kim is an award-winning filmmaker who is currently pursing her Master's degree in Fine Arts at California Institute of the Arts. She was born in Seoul, Korea, and works both countries. She was recently selected as a CalArts Fellowship in 2016 Flaherty seminar and will screen her films. She has worked professionally and taken on many roles. In her time at CalArts she has also helped many classmates on their projects, most frequently as an Assistant Director or Producer
Hannah Rose Dexter is a 23-year-old bass player and composer with expansive range and interests. Had she never heard the album "Funk Power" by James Brown, she'd be well along the slippery slope to a career in classical music. Six years after putting that record on the stereo, her style is a combination of all that she loves: funk, ragtime, old time, jazz, pop, world, experimental, new wave, 50s rock'n'roll, country western, and (still) classical.
Since graduating with her Bachelor's at CalArts in 2015, she has scored the feature length film "Wild Prairie Rose”, performed an original solo bass score to a series of 19th century films at REDCAT, and another to "The Glass Menagerie”, directed by Deborah Lavine and James Franco. In her spare time, she can be seen biking around Los Angeles and performing with the psychedelic children's band, A Horse A Spoon A Bucket, and the blues band, Reverend Shawn Amos.
Irina Prokhorenko, born in St. Petersburg, Russia and grew up in the Washington DC suburb. Her films are female-centric, examine identity and the fear that comes with not knowing who you are. They focus on social and family issues, are character-driven and pay close attention to the psychology of every character; crafting a story that is experiential, personal and authentic. (for more about me click on my kickstarter profile/name) Previous work:
Galina was part of a student exchange with the DFFB (Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin) Irina collaborated with a Writer and a Director of Photography to shoot a short film (workshopped in Germany and shot in Los Angeles). Galina is a dark comedy about a recently widowed elderly woman who is forced to accept her new life of solitude.
Work Break is a 20min short that I wrote. The story centers around two women with very different lives forming a relationship-- for Nadia, the main character, Leila, the new employee, becomes the solution to her mundane life. While for Leila, Nadia is a role model for stability, something she longs for in her life. The However, in the end, both Nadia and Leila find out looks can be deceiving.
Clementine Lovers is a humorous, somewhat absurdist short film about two friends who argue about love. This was my first year film at CalArts.
Blood Trail is the first short film I made and is about a woman who is on her way to claim bounty for capturing 2 murdering thieves. Her journey is proven physically and mentally painful as she deals with her captives and memories of past events.
Other crew/support: Chy Chi, Hannah Peterson, Sigurdur Kristinsson
My crew will be made up of mostly CalArts classmates and community members who are generously helping on this project because we all help on each others projects. We support the community and the CalArts art by taking on all kinds of roles on each others projects. I will be shooting mostly in the Valencia area (near the school).
Camera and Equipment:
I plan on applying to Panavision New Filmmakers grant and I will be using CalArts equipment for this project.
Locations: This story calls for a pretty specific location and I will need to rent an apartment for several days (approx: $1,500)
Set Design, Props and Wardrobe: This is evocation of the '90's immigration boom, a period piece. It is really important that this is a about a extended community--which means there will be many characters to costume. (approx: $1,500)
Meals, crafty and coffee: The cast and crew will need fuel for the 4-5 day shoot (approx: $1,500)
Actor payment & gas reimbursements: I want to offer at least $50/day for the lead actors (5 characters).
This a story about childhood and I'll be using child actors. I want to treat them well, and I will be using the SAG-AFTRA agreement. There will costs such asa getting Student teacher, and budgeting more days so the child actors can also have school on shooting days (approx: $3,000)
Expendables, equipment, external drives: Batteries, gaff tape, sound dept expendables and external drives (approx: $650)
Any Additional funding would be put into post production, music and submitting to Film Festivals.
Kickstarter Video Featured:
Cast: Rossana Foss (Vika) and Zack Sayenko (Boris)
Camera team: Andres Piñeros and Eunhye Hong Kim * Footage was not lit and not shot with the camera that will be used for the real short film. A version of one of the scenes is portrayed here.
Music from: Чебурашка и крокодил гена (Cheburashka and Crocodile Gena) Голубой вагон Krokodil (Gena Blue Wagon song), Коробейники (Korobeiniki), Jay Z - Can I get a, Ace of Base - It's a Beautiful Life, Любэ - Старые друзья (Lube - Old Friends)
Risks and challenges
- I am currently finishing post production on 2 other short films that I shot earlier in the year. However, this should not affect my work on this film. Working hard is all part of grad school! I have been working on this story for over a year and feel very prepared to shoot this film.
- This story's main character is a 10 year old girl. There are also other kids in the film and a lot of characters to juggle. However, I plan to do plenty of rehearsals and I also have mentors at CalArts that can help and advise me.
- Russian language and personal challenges: This short film will be mostly in Russian and partly in English. I have never directed in Russian and while I am a comfortable speaker this will be challenging because I will need to master the language and balance directing in both Russian and English.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)