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"We speak the same language as the audience"

What is the secret of the film library in Yakutia, found out EastRussia

"We speak the same language as the audience"
Photo: Shot from the film "Fire in the Wind"
Recently, a lot has been said about the phenomenon of Yakut cinema. Yakutia today is almost the only Russian region in which its own distinctive cinema is developing rapidly. Although the creative personnel, money, people with a special education, rich patrons, good cinema equipment is clearly not more than anywhere else.

At a time when the capital's cinematographers complained about the crisis (both economic and creative, both on lack of funds and inattention to viewers), their Yakut colleagues produced 20 films a year. It is generally believed that the film library in the republic began in the middle of the 2000. And it has not been done so far. More than a dozen independent creative film associations are actively and fruitfully working in Yakutia. And this despite the fact that the entire population of the republic - only 964 thousand people, and mostly rural people. And the republican capital, Yakutsk, accounts for less than a third of the region's population.

At the same time, the period when local filmmakers shot "for themselves" was long over, they considered shooting as a hobby. Now Yakut films conquer the international audience. EastRussia already told about the film "His daughter" and the author of the painting Tatiana Everstova - this tape was a real discovery for the cinema in 2017 year.

And in the same year, another picture became sensational - "Bonfire in the Wind" by Dmitry Davydov. The director's debut tape from Yakutia was included in the 33 number of the best 2017 films of the year according to the Russian edition of the American magazine Esquire. This film was held at film festivals in Russia, Germany, Finland, Australia, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Latvia, Kazakhstan.

Of course, this success does not come to all the films that are filmed in Yakutia. However, every year in the country there are several extremely interesting works.
So what is the secret of the "Yakut film"? EastRussia talked about this with Yakut filmmakers.


Arguing about what became the reason for the cinema in the republic, the director, one of the leaders of the Yakut cinema club, Lyubov Borisova, says that the remoteness of Yakutia from the rest of the "cinema world" contributed to this paradoxically.

- Due to our territorial remoteness from the capitals, we ended up as if on a desert island. Until now, the largest film distribution networks have not come to us, such as Karo-Film, for example, says Lyubov Borisova. - But we still have many municipal cinemas that are ready to show Yakut cinema for the sake of experiment. And this brings them money: viewers want to watch films in their native language, based on stories from their lives. In general, I would say that everything coincided with us, everything came together. In the second half of the 1990s, the republican film studio "Sakhafilm" was opened; young guys who had just finished their education came to work for it. They "infected" everyone with their work. Now, not counting Sakhafilm, at least 10 independent film associations are working steadily in Yakutia, although many make films on the technical basis of Sakhafilm. But they have only their own ideas and money.

Lyubov Borisova adds: despite the fact that the local audience loves "their own" cinema, is focused on watching Yakut ribbons in theaters, this does not mean that filmmakers can relax. And the furor caused by Yakut ribbons in audiences of different countries, that's proof.

- The professional level of our cinematographers is not lower than, for example, Moscow, here we are in no way inferior to them. And the last year or two, when our tapes won at prestigious festivals, it is confirmed, - Lyubov Borisova believes. - At the same time, I can not say that the Yakut cinema has some special style, a unique film language. At us that neither a film - that experiment, each tape is removed as if for the first time.

With this point of view, Tatiana Everstova, the director, the scriptwriter, the producer of the film "His daughter" does not quite agree. She is sure that the secret of the attraction of Yakut cinema is in its special language, unique and original.

- Our people had before before been extremely developed traditions associated with the epic of Olonkho, including how it is customary to reproduce his legends. Sense after all is transferred not only through words, but also through images, - Tatyana Everstova speaks. "It's hard to imagine how in reality good and evil forces fight each other, but you can draw in your imagination what a man tells you, wandering from where from. And so, I think, in Yakut culture as a whole, such communication is very developed - at the level of subtle matter, through images, almost telepathic. And cinema like no other art can satisfy the need for such communication. The Yakut audience is uncomprehendable images in our films. That's why he loves them and understands them even more than unambiguous plot lines, on which many blockbusters are being built now.


There is one more amazing thing related to the development of cinema in Yakutia. Almost any person can try himself in the cinema. The profession is not important. And it's not about an amateur hobby, not about the desire to express yourself in your free time, but about real art. Tatiana Everstova, winner of several film festivals, an economist by education. Dmitry Davydov, the author of the movie "Fire in the Wind", is a village teacher. He still continues to work in the school in the Amginsky region of Yakutia.

- I was the director of the school, but now, after taking up the cinema, I switched to teaching in junior classes, - says Dmitry Davydov. - Actually, it all started with a school film crew: we with the guys came up with and made films. And then I decided to try my hand at this and left school for a while. Of course, I could not even imagine that my first film would have such a story, did not even think about it. The script was written by myself, I found people who were ready to work with me, although at that time I had no name and experience. By the way, in my film, not a single professional actor, only my fellow villagers was filming. The shooting ended quite quickly, for a month. It was 2014 year. But I finished the film only in 2016. Time was spent on technical issues related to the issue. And, of course, it required money.

On the issue of financing films coming out in Yakutia, it is worthwhile to dwell particularly. When it comes to investing in the film industry, astronomical figures come to mind. But all the interlocutors correspondent EastRussia called roughly the same cost of issuing a film in Yakutia - one million rubles. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.

- Many guys expect to invest in the creation of the tape quite a bit of money (sometimes - to fold, how many can) and quickly recoup everything at the expense of hire. This is what happens, - says Tatiana Everstova.
- The budget of my first film, that very film "Fire in the Wind", was about a million rubles. It was also my own money, and I borrowed something. The budget of the second will be larger, but not too significant, - adds Dmitry Davydov. - In general, such a budget is the norm for Yakut films. The guys negotiate with sponsors or invest their own, the rental brings 11-12 million. So the Yakut cinema market has no financial problems. Maybe the federal film market is periodically experiencing some problems, and we are doing well here.

By the way, Dmitry continues to work in the school not only because of his love for the profession. He says: even for the first film, he did not pay off all his debts, so we need a constant, stable pay job - like at school, for example. And if you move to Moscow, it's still unclear how you will settle down. And to live after all in the capital for something you need to rent an apartment ...

- Generally, as a rule, author's films are shot only on the money of the authors, large investments in such tapes will not be repulsed, - says Lyubov Borisova. - Sponsors invest in the shooting in the expectation that the rental will bring them a profit, or at the rental will be placed their advertising. Sometimes for the support of the crew, this or that structure orders the film in addition. But in general, the investments are really very small.

Sometimes cinematographers manage to win grants - but their sizes are usually smaller than the amounts mentioned. In the republican budget for cinema support, about 5 million rubles a year is provided - and this money is distributed mainly between documentaries, which are removed by order of the regional government. The Federation does not support Yakut cinematographers at all. So the sources of funding for many years remain unchanged: the funds of sponsors, patrons, loans and personal savings.

On some situations it is customary to say - "a double-edged sword". This applies to what is happening in the Yakutia film market. On the one hand, low-budget cinema is still popular with local viewers, and, obviously, this will continue. On the other - if not all, many filmmakers would like to go out to the all-Russian hire. But is this possible, if it is not again about isolated cases?

- The problem is that Yakut films are mostly in Yakutia and they are going, there is almost no exit in the national output, - says Tatiana Everstova. - I would like to go out, at least to just understand if the wide Russian audience has an interest in Yakut cinema. Those funds that we have, do not allow you to arrange rental at this level.

Borisov's love adds: it's not just about money, it's about the fact that most filmmakers are focused on the local audience, and they do not want to reorient themselves. Tastes and opinions of spectators are taken into account by local filmmakers at all stages - from preparation to shootings to shows. On the forums in social networks, both the already released films and those that are in the works are actively discussed. That is, most of the tapes are addressed not just to a well-studied audience, but in fact to specific people. On the one hand, it is almost a win-win option.

- On the other hand, everyone understands that if you invest money, it's necessary that they fend off. And in this case, without our main spectator, the Yakut audience, this can not be. At least, now, - says Lyubov Borisova.

But in the long run, I'm sure Dmitry Davydov, it all depends on the ambitions and aspirations of specific filmmakers.

- Yakut spectators love their cinema, because these are films about them. She heard her native language, learned the realities, familiar situations. Well, it's just nice that at home the cinema is so developed. And most of the authors continue to work for the local market, betting precisely on the fact that the popularity of their films with the local viewer is consistently high, "says Dmitry Davydov. - Personally, I would be interested to go beyond the regional rental. And I intend to shoot further, focusing specifically on this possibility. The script for my second film is ready, shooting will begin in the autumn. I do not know if professional actors will participate in this film. But for sure, it will be Yakut actors, and the shooting will take place in Yakutia. I want to see my whole world see my homeland.
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