The Land Named Sasha
16-year old Sasha has just finished school in Kaliningrad and does not know what he wants to do in life. He likes to draw but his mother does not believe it to be a serious career choice. Sasha avoids relations with girls, as he is afraid to hurt them, like his father did, leaving his mother, when he was three. During the last summer of his adolescence, he meets Zhenya, an unusual girl he falls in love with, and his father whom he does not know. Sasha needs to figure out how to get along with his father and not to hurt his mother, whether he should stay in his local city, go to the Arts University in Moscow or follow Zhenya who has just got into a university in Milan. After many hesitations, Sasha makes the decision to follow Zhenya, but she has already left for Milan without leaving her address. Sasha decides to fly to Milan to find Zhenya. It’s the first decision he takes himself and his mother is finally ready to accept his adult choices.
I would like to explore the theme of coming of age in Russia today. On one hand, the story is universal, as a young person today is overwhelmed by the variety of choices in life, to the extent that he or she is unable to make a choice. On the other hand, Russian boys and girls are raised by their mothers (often without fathers), who survived through challenging times of the 90s and have preconceived ideas about safe career choices. They want to protect their children against the mistakes they made.
For me, coming of age brings the ability to take decisions, however right or wrong they are, and be responsible for them. In this film, three main characters pass through a coming of age. Sasha is ready to shape his life himself, his father accepts his paternal role and his mother is ready to let her son go and become an adult.
The film is a message to both young people and their parents, that it’s never too late to change your life. Coming of age may take your whole life but it’s worth it.
Julia Trofimova lives in Moscow. She studied Screenwriting and Filmmaking in New York Film Academy (USA) in 2018 and Moscow School of New Cinema (Russia) in 2018-2019. In 2018, she directed a dramedy short film “Eulogy for Denis K.” (Russia). In 2019, she directed a dark comedy short “The Narrator” (USA/Russia) and a sci-fi drama short “The Tram” (Russia). In 2020, Julia directed a pilot for dramedy web series “Instalife”. All her short films have been running successfully at 70+ world festivals. As a writer, Julia wrote a pilot of dramedy TV series “Striptease”, which won the Pitchlab award from National Media Group and CTC media.
Katerina Mikhaylova is a founder of the film production company VEGA Film, based in Moscow, Russia. After graduating from the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs (MGIMO, Russia) and Bodo Graduate School of Business (HIBO, Norway), she has worked on a dozen films across Eurasia, from the Atlantic coast to the Russian Pacific. In 2019, Katerina was invited to present her latest projects at Country Spotlight on RUSSIA as part of Producers Network at Cannes as well as at TIFF. The same year, Katerina presented her projects as part of the Connecting Cottbus and Baltic Event co-production markets. In 2020, Katerina’s latest features premiered at Berlinale Forum (IN DEEP SLEEP by Maria Ignatenko) and Venice Days (CONFERENCE by Ivan I. Tverdovsky).
Vega Film, founded by the producer Katerina Mikhaylova in 2014 in Moscow, is a film production company with its main focus on first features, documentaries and films engaging urgent social topics. Among the emerging talents that Vega Film introduced in Russian cinema are such names as Kseniya Zueva, Evgeniya Yatskina, Alyona Rubinstein, Maria Ignatenko, Veta Geraskina. Their directorial debuts were very well received at both Russian and international film festivals, including Moscow, Pacific Meridian, Tallinn Black Nights, Zlin and Stalker IFF, as well as “Kinotavr”.