- The film “Rock” about the journey of three young musicians who are invited to Moscow to record a song is visually impressive and very eye-friendly. It was developed from your short film which dealt with the same subject?
Yes, first I made my graduation film, while I was still a student. But after that, together with my dear friend and script writer Ivan Zavaruyev I tried to imagine what was happening to the protagonists before and after the story in my short film. A few months later we made the first version of the script.
- How much of your personal experience has found its place in this story?
Not much, these are only my wishes; I would love to have such an adventure. In my opinion, that would be the best journey ever. I wanted to show that each journey changes a man, so that my characters become new people after this experience.
- How did you approach the actors with whom you collaborated on the film?
When we started working on the film we did not know each other well, so we had to have many rehearsals. To me, the most important thing was that they learned to play the instruments because none of them was a musician. Also, to me it was important that they did not see the locations before the beginning of filming so that we could see their sincere reactions to these landscapes.
- The landscapes and locations are truly fascinating.
We spent a whole year preparing for the film so we researched locations and traveled in different directions, to the North and to the South. Finally we decided to film in the South, near the border with Ukraine, because there we found many corn fields and beautiful landscapes.
- The first film ever made had a train as a main protagonist. In your film too the railroad plays an important role. What is this magic connection between trains and films?
The railroad is the symbol of a journey and it truly represents one of the characters in my film. When you are on a train you cannot wander left or right but it is guiding you in one direction all the way till the end of the journey. It is the same with film. Filming these scenes was difficult because of the sound, and also the train had to be stopped every 20 minutes for technical reasons. This was not a real railroad but a circular testing polygon around the train factory which they gave us to use for free. We spent two days of filming riding the train in circles around the factory and later we filmed the sound for that scene in the studio.
- Did you receive any good advice from your father, famous Russian director Karen Shakhnazarov, who is receiving the Belgrade Victor award of this year’s FEST?
Yes, his help was the most important during the final stage of the editing process. As soon as he saw this version he told me to discard one scene which I thought was very important. I spent two weeks not wanting to follow his advice, as I was certain that he was wrong and that I knew better. However, after a while, I decided to try and do what he told me and the film really became much better.
- Do you have any plans to work together in the future?
We have already collaborated on two films, “Anna Karenina: Vronsky’s Story” and “White Tiger.” I directed the extras and the second plan, and it was very complicated to fit in the number of “soldiers” and horses in a good frame shot. But I learned a lot from that experience so I consider it very significant.
- How did you choose the music?
I accidentally met a band called Twelve and what I found interesting was that when I was watching their music video for the song which would later become our main music theme in the film, the video reminded me a lot of the film how I had imagined it in my head and which I wanted to make. Three characters who are running in the fields, along the railroad, so I realized that we were on the same line of thought and that it was not a coincidence.
- One of your characters says that the journey can be the final destination. Do you share that view?
Yes, of course.