Interview with Actor/Writer/Producer Margarita Zhitnikova (2 WEEKS)

2 WEEKS played to rave reviews at the January 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Margarita Zhitnikova: Understanding that I’m asexual was a very scary experience for me. I didn’t want it to be true because I was afraid it meant I’d never be good enough for society as we live in an incredibly sex-driven world. In my opinion, one way to remedy that is to spread awareness and representation. We are so much more than who we fuck, how often we fuck and how “sexy” we are.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

MZ: I think it actually took us about 2 years! I really thought it would be done much faster but after completing the film (color, sound, everything!) we had to do a pick-up shoot and start post all over again.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

MZ: surreal, honest

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

MZ: I underestimated just how little people knew about asexuality. When we first shot the film, the script was less on the nose. There was less dialogue about what asexuality is and my character never said “asexuality” because she still didn’t have the words for it – much like I didn’t when I started realizing my sexual attraction to others would never arrive. I didn’t want to make another coming-out story but this felt different since I’ve never seen one on this topic. I’m really happy with how the film is now with the additional footage though. It also completely changed the structure of the film. The dinner scene at the top used to close it out!

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

MZ: I cried. I had goosebumps. I hugged my screen and texted the link to our team. I can’t thank you enough!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

MZ: I was really inspired by Get Out and Mother. I loved the way those films to externalize the horror that the characters are constantly facing on the inside. I knew I wanted to use similar elements to share what it feels like to have no control over how you are perceived by those around you.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

MZ: Really putting me on the spot!!!! I don’t rewatch films much anymore in general because there is soooo much content and I want to see it all but I used to watch Harry Potter films ALL THE TIME. They were my escape. It’s a fucking shame that JK Rowling has turned to be transphobic.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

MZ: Wellll it’s a whole lot better than withoutabox was! I could barely figure that one out. FilmFreeway is much more user friendly, however, it can still be difficult to tell which festivals are legitimate. One festival I attended that was absolutely horrible to the point where it was featured in a prominent publication as one of the scammiest festivals still has great ratings and all of the negative reviews are hard to find on FilmFreeway. Be careful filmmakers, do your research! Generally, if you reach out to someone that’s had a project at a festival to ask their experience, they’ll give you a few minutes of their time.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

MZ: Piece of Me by Triple Threat and a lot of Blue Oyster Cult and Thin Lizzy songs as well.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

MZ: Oh so many things! Triple Threat, where I play the role of Maggie – an unstoppable self-starter who creates a musical with her best friend – is set to be released this year. I got to make it with my best friend and production company partner Stacey Maltin who co-wrote and directed it as well. My short film Appetite (trailer) starring Jeffrey Weber, Jordan Bayne, Sibyl Santiago and myself, directed by Stacey Maltin is about to start it’s festival run. Jeffrey and I co-wrote Zasha, a vegan horror short, which has been garnering nominations at awesome festivals, that we are now turning into a feature-length. My award winning short film JONES (trailer) is finishing off its festival run. And I recently began virtually studying at Lesly Kahn’s studio to continue growing as an actor. Also shouting out that director Victoria Negri will soon be shooting her 2nd feature film ULTRA! You can catch her first film GoldStar on most streaming platforms. All of our team members are doing cool things. If you want to keep up with us, please follow on the socials and subscribe to the Besties Make Movies biweekly newsletter (!

Instagram (production company) @bestiesmakemovies (actor/writer/prodcuer) @marzapproved (director) @victorianegri (producer/editor) @staceymaltin (actor) @analine_ignacio (producer) @jschwartz00 (producer) @scarrrie (cinematographer) @j.coyote (costume designer) @madeincorreia
Twitter (production company) @bestiesmovies (actor/writer/producer) @marzapproved (director) @goldstarfilm (producer/editor) @staceymaltin (producer) @JSchwartz00 (producer) @carrie_radigan
Facebook (production company) @bestiesmakemovies (actor/writer/producer) @mzhitnikova (producer/editor) @staceymaltin
Vimeo (production company) @bestiesmakemovies (actor/writer/producer) @margaritaz (director) @victorianegri (producer/editor) @staceymaltin

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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