Your new movie Thursday
- in a few words, what is it about?
is based on a true story about a mother whose son is admitted to hospital
in critical condition. She is completely distraught and pleads to the
doctors to save her child but is met with the harsh reality of medical
incompetence. But for me it’s a story about a situation where there is
no way out.
From what I've
based on a true story - so how did you stumble upon the story, and what
made you want to turn it into a movie?
is a true story that happened in Russia during the summer of 2017. I just
stumbled upon a Facebook post about the mother. Then I found her video
interview. The way she told that story, it just… I don’t know, blew my
Other sources of
inspiration when writing Thursday?
addition to the information about that story that I managed to gather,
one of our producers’ father is a doctor. I received some personal
experience with doctors.
what extent could you actually identify with the mother in your movie, and
the ordeal she's going through?
the point. I ask the question (in my movie) that I am afraid to ask
myself. I really don’t know. What would I do? And would I have the
spirit to do it my way? Would I stay alive (inside) if I do that and would
it also lead to the same tragedy.
With most of Thursday
taking place in a hospital - where was it actually filmed, what was it
like filming there, and what were the challenges of keeping things
interesting visually in such a restricted location?
was filmed in an actual hospital. Mostly in a real hospice building. So,
basically it was close to the story. We filmed from the time the hospital
opened in the morning until 9 pm. It was really difficult.
tried to create the story at the same time as a writer and a director.
Before we started shooting, I already knew the filming process through to
the end. It was about 98% close to the original storyboard. During
location scouting the DP and I tried to find places as close as possible
to the image we had in our minds.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
a director, I understood that if I focused on the child, the story would
be very cliché. I wanted the story to be from the mother’s perspective
and her anxiety with the situation. We spent most of the budget on a
quality camera, lighting and the best crew. I didn’t want to do the
movie just to make a movie. I wanted to tell her story and create a
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Mirel, who plays the mother, has such a renaissance face. She can be in
character for as long as I needed. That was very inspiring. Angelina
Kuznetsova, who plays the doctor, has incredible eyes. She didn’t know
she had that king of strong power inside of her. Aleksandr Vysokovskiy,
also playing a doctor, is one the most talented and prepared actors. The
whole cast were perfect and professional. From the beginning they worked
well together. That was great.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
the usual. Pain and gain. Budget constraints. Trying to get more finance
to complete the film. Actors not understanding my direction, because I
didn’t explain myself properly. My DP and I at each other’s throats.
At 9 pm the hospital inconveniently closed so we had to wrap. Perfect
shooting. Every day.
was working at their maximum, just because I believed in the story. And
everybody followed me. That was really cool. The whole team was wonderful
to work with.
$64 question of course, where can Thursday
movie is available to watch on YouTube:
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Thursday?
submitted to twenty-one film festivals and received five awards, so some
critics do like it. We have found that the audience fall silent after
watching the movie (at the festivals). That was unexpected for me. The
strongest silence for me was when I screened the film to the employees at
the children’s hospice. Just a few words from them, “We work with that
every day.” I couldn’t speak to anybody for the rest of the day.
future projects you'd like to share?
I have a 20-minute short story that’s in black and white with no
dialogue called Teapot. We are already in production. I have also
just finished a script with Maxim (Thursday
producer) for my first feature
film called Daily Bread”(It will have a worldwide distribution but
only in Russian with English subtitles). Both projects I want to shoot and
screen at 96 frames per second.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
I graduated in 2006 VGIK (Moscow Film University) as a screenwriter and was
working for more than 10 years in Russia as writer. My dad was working at
Mosfilm until 1991 as a first assistant director with the biggest Soviet
directors. My mom is an artist and costume designer and also worked all of her
life at Mosfilm. She was working on a movie that received an Oscar
(Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears). So you could say – it’s a family
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Thursday?
is my first film as a director. Before that I was working as a
screenwriter at few Russian production companies and TV channels.
would you describe yourself as a director?
haven’t found my style yet, but I need the full attention and emotion
from viewers for the visual pleasure of my movies.
who inspire you?
clearly distinguish two categories of filmmaker that inspire me.
Movie-directors I learn for my profession (as a filmmaker) and movie-directors that inspire and influence me. The
first category is huge. Really too big to list everyone.
category list though is:
David Fincher – for being Fincher.
for discovering gradation in human soul.
Haneke – for re-inventing
filming and very powerful simple ideas in his stories.
– for delicate inside world with understanding current society problems.
Stanley Kubrick – for courage in his revolutionary ideas.
And a few
Your favourite movies?
most powerful influence was for me were the movies between 1995-2001 (when
I was 11-17-year-old). Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fight
Club, Big Lebowski,
The Matrix and so on….
and of course, films you really deplore?
don’t have one!
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I would like to add - What was your biggest disappointment during the
shooting of your first film?
I say to my mom, “I thought making a movie was a pleasure. But it is so
for the interview!