10 january 2020 · News
“The hereafter without you” is a short about a girl named Emma, who remembers her lover after breaking up and regrets all her mistakes in hope that there is still a chance to fix it. The script for the short was written by actress Danel Azimova, who also played the leading role in it. We asked Danel to tell more about the project and wished the team success at further film festivals.
"The creation of the project took 5 months. This was my first work which I wrote myself and played in it. This path was not easy but one of the best experiences. The film is based on real events. I wrote about my life. Thanks to the film, I got rid of the pain that was inside me. I dedicated this film to my ex-relationship and I hoped that the person would return to me as soon as I finish the project. You won’t believe it, but the dream came true.
One day, sobbing, I sat at the window with a cup of tea. I had no one to talk to, I closed myself. I turned on my favorite song, I took a pen and a piece of paper and simply poured out my thoughts. I remembered everything, all the good moments, all the quarrels with a man whom I did not appreciate, whom I hurt, but whom I loved. Thus the story was born, which later became synopsis of the film.
I knew that I wanted to make a film about relationships between people because all of us did not value someone, we all offended someone once. The goal was to say "Appreciate. Love. Forgive. Otherwise it will be too late." The story is based on a break-up of two people who still loved each other. Nothing large-scale, but I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy the way it affected me. I didn’t sleep, didn’t eat, spent much time in hospital because of health problems, I even couldn’t just sit on the couch, because everything reminded me of this man. I felt awful.
When it came time to write the script, it was hard to fit everything in 5 minutes- 2 years of happiness and 6 months of absolute apathy. I didn’t want to focus on dialogue, I wanted to convey feelings between people through acting and camera work.
Gathering a team I chose those with whom I would be comfortable. I knew that I would have to be an open book, that I would constantly cry, that I would have to open myself. I called Andrey (director), who was one of my ex-man’s close people at that time and knew everything. I hoped that he would agree to direct this film because I knew that he would understand me and understand what I want to convey to the viewer. Producer Suri was advised to me. She turned out to be an incredibly understanding person with whom we became friends. Cameraman Kay was my friend with whom I worked on projects before that. And the rest of the team gathered by the same principles.
Only two actors play in the film: me and my partner, who was supposed to play "my love." The casting process was long. I was looking for a certain type, a certain energy. Plus, we were looking for a person with whom it would be easy to work with, as we had one day to shoot because of the budget. I should tell you honestly, after watching about sixty guys I was already sick and tired of people (laughs). Time was running out and it was high time to decide on the actor, and so we chose Chris who came to the casting the very first.
Andrey organized rehearsals for us, gave us assignments, so that Chris and I would get in touch, so that we would get to know each other better. We needed to “create” love in 5 days, which has been built over the years. Chris and I watched films, went to a couple of dinners together, chatted every day to show this connection, which I had and now have with my man.
The shooting took place in my apartment, which was remade completely to match the style of the film. On the day of filming everything went better than I thought. I just adore my team and how much and hard they worked. But the most interesting thing is that it was on the day of filming that we decided not to shoot according to the script. We improvised. Yes, there were moments that we definitely needed to shoot, but basically we just wanted to "play." It was a very risky step, but I trusted everyone around me and was very pleased with the result.
Due to the amount of emotion I accidentally had a small panic attack, as I was reliving myself all over again. Andrew reassured me. It's so fun to remember it all (laughs). There were so many fun moments that day. I even had to eat all the pizza in literally two minutes for one of the scenes, which in the end was not included in the final version of the film (smiles) Believe me, I felt very bad after that.
The main inspiration for me were two films: “P.s. I love you” (love between people, feelings) and “Valentine” (style, camera work, colors). The film turned out to be an arthouse, I would say, but I also aspired to this. It didn’t turn out exactly the way I saw it and planned it initially, but it’s always like that in cinema! You write one thing, shoot another, and in the end you get the third. This did not upset me at all.
When the composer wrote the music and we edited the final version, we immediately started sending the film to festivals. Frankly speaking, I was not sure whether festivals would accept the short, whether we would win something. But we already reached the semifinals and received two awards for the best female role and we are still waiting for the results from other festivals, so I am very glad in what direction we are moving!
I really, really want to thank my team: Andrey Lantukh (director), Junbai Zhou (Kay) (cameraman), Suri Jiang (producer) and Gabriele Fabbro (editor) and others. A very international team. And especially to the person whom I love and without whom nothing would have happened. The man who is behind my boundless happiness, but also tears at that moment (laughs) -Alex Chukmasov. A man who treated and treats me like a scarlet flower, but I almost destroyed it all. I hope we were able to convey the essence of the film. People, appreciate, love, be inspired by feelings, do not be afraid to show emotions and take care of loved ones".