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Interview With Alexey Belkin the Author, Director & Writer of the Film Timonia

Timonia won Best Music Video - Jury Award Award in the 9th Season of MP Film Award Alexey Belkin Author, Director & Writer of the Film Timonia agree to interview with us.

Alexey Belkin

Alexey Belkin: I am self educated musician, started to play music at 24 year old. In 2011 filmed first music video for my group Otava Yo. After that has released 11 videoclips.

Poster Timonia

About the Film: Synopsis: Timonia Film Synopsis:

In one summer day, the "enlightened" lord of the village decides to wash in a bathhouse, but he cannot, since all the peasants have gone to the prohibited village dances.

The lord is indignant and calls his efficient worker Timonia to resolve the issue with the bathhouse. During the bath procedures, the lord has poisoned by fumes in the bathhouse to death. But during the funeral, it turned out that the lord pretended to be dead in order to see who would grieve for him and who does not. Timonia exposes the lord's pretense and dips him in a font of ice water to revive him. After that, everyone, including the lord, goes to the village dances.


What was your drive behind making this film?

Alexey Belkin: I like russian folklore, especially music. Timonia - is russian tune. It is very famous among folkorists. But the main population doesn't know anything about it. So I wanted to create a video based on it. After reading Dostoevskiy's "The village of Stepanchikovo and its inhabitants" I was amused of that story and decided to use it for my new video. If you would read this novel carefully you would find there a part about one famous russian folk dance which (in opinion of local lord) well educated person is not able to like and moreover should be ashamed if someone will find out that he likes it. Now days it sound so funny and ridiculous, so I decided to use it for my video.

How you feel when you are awarded with the MP FILM AWARD Award?

Alexey Belkin: To receive any award is very nice. But if you receive award for something that you put a lot of energy and soul into - it is just great!

Can you tell us about the greatest moment during shooting this film?

Alexey Belkin: Location and people. The location - is farm of my friend Mikhail Kolomytsev in the very heart of Russia. All that we see in our video - everything if true. That's the way he lives. All those animals, nature. And he manage with everything by himself and his family.

People - for 1 scene we needed dancing crowd on the field - around 70 persons. Believe me - it is quite hard to find right people for this. So, we threw a cry and 4 different dancing clubs agreed to come to participate in our video. Totally for free.

How rigorously did you stick to the script while shooting?

Alexey Belkin: Quite strict. When you shoot video with lots of actors it is easier to plan everything ahead. But of course on the set we improvise a bit.

Where there any onset problems During the filming of the film & how did you deal with it?

Alexey Belkin: The most of the video we shoot outdoors, so we needed good weather, which you are not able to control. So the day when we planned to film scene with dancers the weather forecast promised 99% of rain for the whole day. But we can't change anything - all those dancers already started to drive to us from different cities. So we decided not to cancel the shooting and hope for nice weather. In the very morning for raining a lot, but right at the time we started to film - the sun was shining.

Another thing - we like before shooting to make location looks nice. So, we painted old tractor, prepared everything which should in video and made it shine and bright.

Q6. Do you have any advice for young filmmaker out there? Or like yourself?

The main advice - just start. And put all your energy to make your video good. Remember that nobody would do this for you. Do not count a lot on editing. Try to plan everything before hand. But if a good idea would come to your mind on the set - try it!

Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

Alexey Belkin: My own experience - not necessary. I myself didn't go to the university to learn how to shoot films. But after 10 years of shooting videos I graduated my personal university. Of course when you get fundamental education - it is great and some very important things you receive from great master word of mouth. But it doesn't mean you do not have ability to find this out some other way. I was lucky enough to find a way how to start shooting without going to university first. But the same I had with playing of the music.

Which film has inspired you the most?

Alexey Belkin: There lot's of them. I liked a lot "Funny and Alexander" and "Strawberry Meadow" by Bergman, "Moscow does not believe in tears" - by Vladimir Menshov, "Mirror" and "Ivan's Childhood" by Tarkovsky. Also lot's of great comedies. To be honest I like good comedy.

Which particular film maker has influenced you the most?

Alexey Belkin: To be honest. I do not know. I liked Woody Allen for a long time. His movies are very light, also I like russian filmmakers Nikita Mikhalkov and Vladimir Menshov, Stanley Kubrick of course.

Which book would you love to make a film out of one day?

Alexey Belkin: Well, my speciality is making videos for music, so the next one will be our new song. But if I would dream to make a big movie... well, it should be something with humor and music, but not necessary.

If you got the opportunity to go back in time & change something in any particular movie of yours, then which movie & what changes will you opt for?

Alexey Belkin: I suppose only minor things. In one video we were so in rush so I did not notice one thing from the set (the part of the blue fence) which we could use for location transformation - when you use the same thing in different locations and this gives you interesting effect. So, if I could I would use it.

I believe I would find several similar pieces in different videos. But in general I would not like to change anything.

If you were to shoot the film again, what would you do differently?

Alexey Belkin: In this particular video - nothing. Of course you can improve your video to infinity, but sometimes you need just to stop and to finish your work.

What is your greatest achievement till date?

Alexey Belkin: First - my family and my 3 kids. Second - my music band Otava Yo.

How do you pick yourself up after a failed film?

Alexey Belkin: It depends who is judging that it is failed :). I make music videos and of course, some of them are more successful, some less. Some of videos audience watch more. But the quantity of views doesn't really mean a lot. But if I feel it is failed, I do nothing. Just go further. Start to work on the new project.

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