Shorts on Sundays: Vasiliy

We Launch an Open Call for Documentary Films With a Story of a Rural Russian's Voyage to America

Former truck driver and farmer Vasiliy Ilyn makes an affecting departure from his home village of Ryshkovo in the Kursk Obast region of Russia to see America for the first time, in today’s poetic documentary from Alexander Khudokon. Conceived for Russian Esquire’s September issue, it serves as the first installment of the new season of our director-showcasing series, Shorts on Sundays, which this time invites submissions for the best in new factual filmmaking. Ilyn visits Times Square and Brighton Beach in New York, and a dairy farm in New Jersey, before being shot for the cover of the magazine by Martin Schoeller, the award-winning photographer who has immortalized the likes of Barack Obama, Bill Murray and George Clooney. “For 90 issues we had celebrities on our covers,” says Editor-in-Chief Dmitry Golubovsky. “This time we got a bit tired of it and dedicated the September issue to people who have never given an interview in their life.” It turned out to be a transformative experience for Ilyn. “I think what impressed him the most was that many different people live all together in one big bowl,” says Khudokon of his protagonist’s journey. “The farm had the biggest impression on him—the way everything is organized, the order. He said that it looked like a paradise.”

To submit a documentary to Shorts on Sundays, visit our Vimeo page for terms and conditions of entry.

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Conversations (1)

  • Charleslv
    He really to see more of USA especially small farmers like him in Appalachia before drawing conclusions and political opinions.
    • Posted By Charleslv
    • September 24, 2013 at 4:01PM
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    Mounir Fatmi: Sleep (Al Naim)

    Salman Rushdie Slumbers in the Moroccan Artist’s Provocative Film

    A 3D rendering of Salman Rushdie lays motionless, hirsute chest rising up and down with each breath, in Mounir Fatmi’s “Sleep Al Naim,” which reinterprets Andy Warhol’s groundbreaking Sleep (1963) and infuses it with a new, politically potent message. The full six-hour-long video was censored at a show at l’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris last year, but will premiere this week at Paradise Row as part of his solo exhibition History is Not Mine. “Rushdie lives between different worlds, between countries, between life and death,” says Fatmi. “It is at once boring and voyeuristic to look at someone sleeping for six hours. I want the audience to feel guilty about Rushdie’s destiny.” Paris-based Fatmi was born in Tangiers, Morocco, where he became notorious as a member of a generation of Arab artists—such as Akram Zaatari, Youssef Nabil or Yto Barrada—exploring the codes of conceptual art to question contemporary cultural identity. His work has been exhibited from the Brooklyn Museum to Mathaf in Qatar and has propelled him to the list of nominees for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 2013 Jameel Prize. Fatmi credits French philosophical titans such as Derrida, Deleuze and Foucault in creating artworks that are at once aesthetically seductive and provocative. “I have never accepted the world as it is,” he says. “We must think the world.”  

    History is Not Mine runs from April 19 through June 1 at Paradise Row, W1.

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    My Friend Kills Time

    A Young Artist Slides Off the Grid in the First Installment of our "Shorts on Sundays" Series

    Crisp mornings and solitary fireside evenings punctuate My Friend Kills Time, a contemplative short from emerging Norwegian filmmaker Jakob Rørvik that portrays a young man's self-imposed exile in rural Britain. The work’s star is Thomas Duggan, a friend of the director and a design graduate from Central St. Martins who has made sets for London theatre company Shunt, as well as his own products and installations such as chandeliers made from test tubes, sofas from hemp and trays of crystal-forming liquids that catch the light as they transform. In Rørvik’s film, however, he appears as a handsome man with high cheekbones and plush lips who attempts to go about a daily routine in an isolated cabin, whittling down his character to its core. Rørvik’s sensitive narrative films include Scratch, which won the Best Fiction award at the Aubagne International Film Festival 2010. My Friend Kills Time marks a step towards a looser and more documentary form of storytelling for the director—and ushers in NOWNESS' “Shorts on Sundays” series, dedicated to premiering innovative work from emerging filmmakers. As Duggan’s protagonist builds a house of cards and watches them collapse or drums his fingers on the table to pass the hours, the only interruption is the occasional ring of his mobile phone, reminding him of the outside world. “I wanted to bridge something naturalistic and spontaneous with something poetic,” explains Rørvik of his process, which involved working with Duggan to draw out a fictional character. “The idea of not being around people and the hustle and bustle of London frightened me. Questioning that fear was my starting point.”

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