Film and media blog

Volia Chaikovskaya: Estonia is very diverse, interesting and full of surprises

The producer of the newly premiered documentary Prazdnik (or Celebration) and BFM alumna Volia speaks of the background of the Maardu fair.

"Prazdnik"

 

When did you start working on Prazdnik and what was your role?

I am the producer of Prazdnik, and we started to work with Vladimir Loginov on it 3 years ago. However, the principle shootings were done much earlier - in 2012. It took some time for the director to consider and reconsider how to approach the material and for me as a producer - too. 

What kind of an impact do you wish this film to have?

I would say, that the film is very kind and funny. In an observational distant manner it shows a fair in Maardu in a very realistic way. The effect….. May be to awake some smile, kindness, tolerance and consciousness in people. This is how I see it. 

Tell a funny story that happened either while shooting or otherwise working on the film.

Well, when we were doing sound post-production our sound designer Dmitry Natalevich, who is also actually a graduate of BFM, asked me and Vladimir to do some sound-cameo. So there is my yawing in the film (in a role of a little girl), and Vladimir’s heavy breathing (when one man is lifting up heavy box in a competition).

What did you learn when you were going through this process?

I learnt that Estonia is very diverse, interesting and full of surprises. Even if Maardu fair is mainly attended by Russian-speaking Estonians, it’s still part of Estonian culture. And for me this is a very interesting co-existing to observe.  

Synopsis:

The town of Maardu in Estonia organises an annual Ukrainian-themed festival, called "Sorochinsky Fair"; after the short story by Nikolai Gogol. More than 15,000 people come every year. This is the largest Ukrainian fair outside of Ukraine, and it has even been entered into the Ukrainian Book of Records. The film is structured like a work of literature, being made up of a number of interconnected stories. The full variety of the fair and beauty contest is presented from different angles and viewpoints: that of the festival organisers; the actor playing Gogol; the instructor from the local beauty school; the visitors; and the filmmaker, who puts on an improvised casting session for the contest participants. The film then culminates in the beauty contest itself. The protagonists of Gogol's works are transported to the modern day in all their enchanting absurdity, and they fit in pretty well. Children dancing to adults' cult pop songs, girls putting on exotic dresses in their efforts to win "Miss Maardu", men playing the role of beauty experts, an actor in a Gogol outfit conversing with phrases from a memorised speech, modern-day versions of folk songs and costumes from Ukraine and the Baltic states. The documentary is a kaleidoscope of incidents and viewpoints, observed with engagement and curiosity.

Director Vladimir Loginov (Anthill, 2015), producer Volia Chaikovskaya, cinematographer Max Golomidov (also BFM alumni).