The weather is harsh, and you shoot in winter. In the credits we read: “This film was filmed at a temperature of -56°C. Madness and patience of the film crew and actors Hurray!
Dmitry Davydov: In December, January, the most severe frosts in Yakutia, we usually do not shoot films. And the daylight hours are short – a maximum of 5-6 hours for shooting. The best season is from March to October. But “Youth” we had to shoot in January. The work of the operating group is a real art. The camera froze twice, it was minus 62. We couldn’t rehearse with the camera, we took it out of the heat for a maximum of 10 minutes to shoot the scene; otherwise we would have to wait a day for the condensation to clear. the lenses
Both you and Stepan Burnashev shoot 3-4 films a year, how do you do it? At the same time, he says that financial support from the state, if any, is minimal.
Dmitry Davydov: Now the situation has changed. There is an opportunity to shoot, we shoot. But there’s also the danger that it’ll go into circulation, but you want to grow, to make each next movie different, better. It is better to make a good film, spend more money on it, take a good crew, invite professional actors from Moscow. I also want to pay normal money to our specialists – how much can they work only with enthusiasm?
Surprisingly quickly, you went along this path: from a rural primary school teacher to laureates, film awards, now you are already invited to the jury of film festivals, give master classes, shot five feature films. And you’re only 39.
Dmitry Davydov: Films – nine. Master class,” he said aloud. I don’t teach anyone, I just talk about what I can, I know, if I can help, suggest, then I do it.
Did you open a film studio in your hometown of Amga, where you grew up with Burnashev?
Dmitry Davydov: Yes, our Amma production is working, we are shooting there. We are looking for young authors who dream of making films, who can offer an interesting story, we want to support them, to find funding, to produce work. We started working with other regions. I was in Perm, in Tuva in the fall, I was asked to give a master class for guys who want to make a movie. Then he invited several people from Tuva to our shooting so that they could see on the set how the process was going.
Yakut cinema has finally reached the screens of Russian cinemas, has the matter progressed? His film was released this week, a few days later – the drama “Don’t bury me without Ivan” by Lyubov Borisova, and on March 30 – “Aita” by Stepan Burnashev, and his film “Our winter” which we recently saw in the Hall cinema.
Dmitry Davydov: I think these are coincidences. There is no system here. Our film was supposed to appear on the screens last year. In Yakutia, there are still few export-ready films. Basically, everything is filmed by themselves, their region.
In 2008-2009 there was a boom in Yakut cinema. The main thing is that the Yakut distributors supported us, began to show our pictures, and the audience went to see them. It was risky, but the mechanism has been working for 15 years.
Photo: Press service of the film company “Pro: Vzglyad”
Is the Yakut audience interested in such a film?
Dmitry Davydov: Yes, it’s interesting, the public will see it. But if before everyone absorbed everything, any Yakut cinema was accepted in a big way, now they are already evaluating both the quality of the shooting and the story told. The Yakut viewer cannot watch a film detachedly, he takes everything personally, like a documentary (“I was (we) shown!”), And not a work of art, he is looking for his own truth. I am often scolded: “What are you showing? With us it is not like that!” The viewer develops, we try to educate him. Now there are few active moviegoers (and these are young, as in all of Russia) – they left Yakutsk, so we are generating new viewers who will go to the Yakut cinema.
What genres do you prefer?
Dmitry Davydov: If we analyze last year’s blockbuster, then these are comedies. Genre cinema, horror, is not so popular. The stories in our horror movies are mostly banal and the quality of the movies is poor, it cannot be compared with foreign ones.
A few years ago, your film “Bonfire in the Wind” received recognition abroad, they wrote about you: “A rural master from Yakutia conquered the world film community.” Are foreign producers interested in your films? Is it co-production?
Dmitry Davydov: We thought about it. It is interesting for me to work with funds from Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Finland), but now the borders have been closed… Producers from Moscow come to us, they want to work with us.
You often see policemen in your movies. Why?
Dmitry Davydov: I used to work in the police as a civil servant, self-employed. They did raids. I looked at the attendees. I saw the pile of paperwork they have, how they communicate with visitors…
And you also shoot windows, life behind glass, open or closed from prying eyes …
Dmitry Davydov on the set of the film “Youth” Photo: Press service of the film company “Pro: Vzglyad”
Dmitry Davydov: This is probably a childhood quirk. In the evening you come home after training in the village, and it is very interesting to look out the windows! Say hello, look what the neighbors are doing. A side view of the people who live nearby. And when the windows are closed with curtains, there is a personal life, a secret, closed from prying eyes.
In the film “Youth” the music of the cult Yakut group “Hardy” sounds. Are you his fan?
Dmitry Davydov: Only in the fall of 2020 I found out that such a group was popular in our country in the 1990s. I found their music interesting, it is easy to insert into the film. I listened to songs and came up with a scene, dances, movements of heroes.
Are you currently working on horror?
Dmitry Davydov: Last year a producer from Moscow commissioned me to make a horror film. So I was sitting without money or work, there was free time, so I wrote the script and we made a movie (working title: The fence). We are now in post production. We think we will finish in May. The condition was this: shoot in English to sell abroad. I suggested this story: a father and daughter go to the forest, her daughter kills an animal by mistake, and the forest begins to take revenge on her.
During the New Year holidays, we wrote the script for the film “Yt-2” with Stepan Burnashev. In April, we plan to shoot a six-story almanac. Small team (5-6 people), with a reduced budget. The action of the first part took place in the village, the second part will be filmed in the city. And with other actors.