My name is Sergei Tymchenko. I am a film director from Ukraine. My way to the work of my life has been long. My first education was in the engineering brange. I also tried a lot of kind of work in video production and finally I found myself in film directing.
I finished the Institute of Screen Arts in Kiev. And now with my human life experience, which I think is very important for film directing, I have a professional experience as a TV director, editor, cameraman in feature film and even as a graphic designer. All of these things help me in my everyday work and give me an opportunity to focus on my main goals.
I found this film at one of the web platforms, where screenwriters publish annotations to their screenplays. I met Dmitrii Chistiakov there. He is a screenwriter of our short “The Balkony”.
When I read a screenplay I had no doubt that I wanted to shoot it. I even put my own funds into the film adaptation, because I decided to make an experiment. It seemed like a usual story but it was thoughtful and well written. There was a potential for the director's creativity.
This story is based on phone calls between main characters. And I thought: “If everything revolves around mobile phones, what if I make this short in vertical format?” After test shootings in both formats (horizontal and vertical) I was convinced that I am on the right way. I decided to achieve such an effect, like when the viewer connects to the mobile signal and is overhearing other people's conversations.
I decided to shoot on a mobile device. I wanted to save the purity of the idea: video for mobile phones must be produced with mobile phones.
But mobile shooting is not as easy as I thought it must be. It was harder than classic shooting. There was no playback monitor for me. Our actors stayed along with their mobile phones only. The partner was online through a FaceTime call and he was the only one who was with the main actor at that moment. We captured a screen view from 2 mobile phones. The 1st challenge was in geolocation difference. The main character must be here and his subscriber - somewhere in the car. We shot them one by one, played and shot every scene 2 times in 2 locations.
But we faced really big problems when a mobile signal crashed and a picture was so bad that there was no sense to continue capturing. I want to thank our actors. They had to play scenes with themselves without any partner for dialogue. And they did it geniously. And now, when everything is finished, nobody even suspects that we faced such problems. Everything seems like a real phone screen during a real FaceTime call.
I watched preview versions of this film for many times during the post production period. I watched again and again every single version and tried to find new moments where my attention became weak and where the actors playing was not such as it was needed for pseudo-reality creation.
Of course, I showed preview versions with most closeness people whom I trusted and attentively looked at their reactions. I was happy to see my relatives fully involved in that story on mobile phones in their hands.
There is a very big risk to show anybody a film which is not finished. Everybody knows it. But “The Balcony” short made a big influence not only on my relatives but on Iaroslav Istomin, a film composer too. He was so inspired that attracted one of the best sax players for the soundtrack for the film.
When the score was written, a graphic was made in the iPhone style, a mastering was done, I proposed Andrei Osipov, CEO of the oldest film studio in our country to watch my short film. He liked “The Balcony”, he noted a brilliant actor’s playing and a great work of all our team. That was a confirmation for me that the film is finished.
Then I showed our short to my team. They liked it too. And one of the actors confessed to me about their confused feelings during the screening. It was that feeling that we have when we are eavesdropping on someone's frank conversation. I was happy when I heard it because it was exactly what I was trying to achieve at the very beginning of making this short film.
There are no more reviews yet, the film is waiting for its premiere in our country and is closed from a public screening. But such a beginning is a happy news for me.
We all were very inspired by screenlife format after this short project. And now the screenwriter Dmirtii and I are working on a creation series with the same characters which you can see in this short.
I don’t know yet if it will be a series horizontal or vertical movie. But I would like to make it in such screenlife format, where a viewer can see all that a character sees on his laptop’s screen during skype conversation. I am convinced that a movie which is related to our “The Balcony” short must not differ.
We also began to work on short and feature films with the serious themes: Fathers and Sons, forgiveness and reconciliation. But I want to make these films in classical format, which is better for a wide cinema screen. Hope you will enjoy it too.