Interview with Filmmaker Anya Chirkova (FLOWER BOY)

FLOWER BOY was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the May 2021 DRAMA Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I had this burning anxiety that I think a lot of teens and young adults have. It usually comes when summer ends, I wanted to express it through these three characters. Nav the central character struggles with an aimlessness that plagues a lot of young people.

The film ended up being about my deep fear of what it’s like to be an older person who potentially didn’t achieve his or her dreams.

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

3 years, I wrote the script with the Producer/Lead Actor Maziyar Khatam. The first draft I kinda vomited out, it wasn’t very good as most first drafts are.

We looked through our old high school videos, Maziyar found one where his friend ripped his jeans jumping a fence. We began basing a lot of the story through these personal vignettes and ditched our initial structure. With our Story Editor Dennis Bayazitov, we were able to figure out how to create a meandering plot that didn’t feel dull.

I was lucky enough to be able to rehearsal the film for about a month and half. Even though we had a script I was happy with, I was upfront with the actors and told them the script was a template and I wanted to see what they could do. Then, through the rigorous improv we rebuilt the script.

After that we shot it in 5 days and did post-production during the pandemic.

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

Distant memory

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

Post-production during the pandemic virtually was hell. I’m the kind of person that likes to be a part of all the aspects of the film, even if it’s something as small as recording foley for a bottle dropping.

Luckily when places opened up in Toronto I was able to safely do some of these things in person.

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

I always feel strange watching my work with an audience, it feels like they are looking deeply into something that I want to hide, but I was happy to see that they enjoyed the film and that they all took something away from it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I must have been 16, I started out as a painter in Russia and gradually got interested in theater. I did plays in high school and eventually transitioned into film. I always had this innate desire to tell personal stories.

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

I’m going to have to say two, Close-Up (1990) by Abbas Kiarostami and Before Sunset (2004) by Richard Linklater.

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

It’s a really great platform, it’s very easy to learn and a breeze submitting to festivals through it. I always get excited everytime I upload a film on FilmFreeway. It doesn’t feel complete until it’s on FilmFreeway.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Watermelon, absolutely love it.

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

I’m working on a feature film with Maziyar and Dennis. We’re hoping to be able to collaborate with more people and to try a new filmmaking approach. We have another short film in works that we’ll be shooting this summer. You can follow us on @funnybonepictures on instagram to see what we’re up to!

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