Daydreaming in the Hood, created in cooperation with the Collective Film Workshop, is the V–A–C Foundation's first cinema project. It is one of the broadest, most comprehensive projects in the Expanding Space: Out of the Centre program launched by the V–A–C Foundation in 2019.
A film workshop under the leadership of director and producer Andrey Silvestrov was organized in Moscow's Shchukino neighbourhood. The chief endeavour for participants in the workshop was to make creative sense of their own dreams and urban mythology. There is a series of short films; their plots intertwine, together forming a single narrative field, one where meanings and images come together in strange and unexpected ways.
“Daydreaming in the Hood was conceived as a collective film workshop where the work process itself and establishing a community of young authors was just as important as the films produced. The single film ultimately created by the amateur participant filmmakers is a collective portrait of a generation; it will be presented as part of the GES-2 cinema program.”Kirill Adibekov, V–A–C Film Programme Curator
“We turned the word “son,” the Russian word for “dream,” into an abbreviation: “способ образования нарратива” – literally, a method for generating narratives. And by that we mean one particular “free” principle of producing video content. A highly diverse group of remarkable people used that freedom to assemble their own “collective dream.” Somewhere in an outlying region of city, people are dreaming. What could be less important? Or... perhaps nothing could be more important! It is as if a new fabric of social connections was being revealed to us, and that fabric becomes content of our film.”Andrey Silvestrov, director of the workshop
Daydreaming in the Hood: The Eight is a show about the participants in the Collective Film Workshop. Each episode focuses on one participant. Although Daydreaming in the Hood is presented as a web series, it is really something quite different. This artistic project has very little in common with traditional storytelling. The logic of its composition is more like that of a portrait gallery than traditional paintings of historical or mythological scenes. And therein lies one of the chief challenges for the audience: who are these people and why should they be of special interest to an outside viewer?
Ekaterina Zubkova, at one point in the second episode of the first season, says: “I just don’t feel like that.” This is where semantic games begin. The viewers are called upon to immerse themselves in fourteen short episodes. One key aspect of the philosophy behind the Workshop is the principle of participation. It was extremely important, as we came to understand, not only for the project work itself, but for the viewer, as well. After all, the viewers themselves will inevitably have a great deal to do with what they themselves ultimately find compelling. Daydreaming in the Hood: The Eight flows along the divide separating the documentary and the feature, the spontaneous and the scripted, often shifting its optics from the aesthetical to the ethical, and also often offering the viewer the experience of seeing oneself through the prism of an interior dialog with the protagonist of the current episode.
Each episode of the web series is dedicated to one or another of the authors participating in the Workshop. It consists of a “portrait interview,” along with films and video clips shot in the course of the Workshop.
“It is important to note that our Workshop was not an educational project where I was the teacher – it was always, first and foremost, an artistic project. It wasn't about teaching; it was about all of us being genuine, full-fledged participants in a unified artistic process. In the interviews, I was stunned by how amazingly interesting the people who came to the Workshop were, at how unique, talented and compassionate they all were. It was that experience, that sense of profound admiration for the human being as such, that I really wanted to share with the viewer. That's what we do in this web series.”Andrey Silvestrov
The interviews with workshop participants were filmed following the 180-degree rule. That’s what we mean by “shot, reverse shot” in the title. This is a device where the camera shooting the interviewer and interviewee is not permitted to cross an imaginary line uniting their gazes. And although camera's point of view and the extent to which it closes in on its subjects may vary, a sense of presence is thus maintained. This device can allow a conversation continue indefinitely.
“V–A–C Foundation activities in the production of films began in 2019, when we launched the Daydreaming in the Hood project in conjunction with the League of Experimental Cinema. The anthology was selected for the competition held as part of the Spirit of Fire Festival of Cinema Debuts in 2020, just as the workshop participants’ short films embarked upon their own independent lives. In that sense, the web series may be the most intimate part of the project. Each episode is a portrait of one of our “debutant” directors. Funny at times, touching at others, these brief tales go to the essence of what “Daydreaming” and its creators are about: focused interest in the individual human being.”Kirill Adibekov
The first season of the Daydreaming in the Hood: The Eight web series premiered on the YouTube channel of the KinoArt magazine
Katya Zubkova, student, translator from Japanese
Ekaterina Zubkova is a student specializing in Japanese. She also writes film reviews on her Telegram channel. The project she contributed to the anthology is called "The Spirit of the Street.” Katya noticed how every day she would hear dozens of fragments of speech, random phrases, as she moved about the city. Some seemed simply funny, or absurd; others set her to thinking... She came up with an idea: she would treat these phrases as a form of subconscious poetry, combining them to create several strange, new works of verse.
Yuri Golubev, film editor, founder of Uzbekistan's first “noise band”
Yuri Golubev has many years of experience as a graphic designer in the film industry. It was a desire to create an independent project of his own that brought him to our Workshop. Thinking about dreams in the Shchukino neighbourhood, Yuri imagined a surrealistic tale in the “alternate history” genre – about the creator of the Soviet atomic bomb. It would be called “Igor Kurchatov, Stalin’s Haberdasher.”
Yana Sidorkina, artist, Moscow vice-champion in Tae Kwon Do
Yana Sidorkina plays the trombone, practices tae kwon do, and is writing her thesis on the young conceptualists in contemporary Russian art in the philosophy department of the Russian State University of the Humanities. Her project, entitled “Message without a Context,” juggles everyday phrases, disassociated from the situations to which they ordinarily belong, so that they acquire a faintly absurd quality in the current era, whose space the digital garbage dumb has expanded to occupy so completely.
Yana Osman, sociologist at the Higher School of Economics
Yana Osman is a sociologist by profession and an instructor at the Higher School of Economics. For the Workshop, she came up with a project that was half sociological study, half actionist art. In early June, when the hot water was scheduled to be turned off on one of streets in Shchukino, Yana set up several tubs and shower units on the grass between residential buildings and invited passersby to take a hot shower. She caught it all on camera, and from that material she edited a film entitled “Paradise Soiled.”
Alexandra Kharina, stage designer
Alexandra Kharina is a stage designer. She has worked in that capacity on numerous shows and performances. Her Workshop project was a study of the visual potential of interaction between the painterly plane and the space beyond the screen.
Vladimir Milovanov, Surgeon, Oncologist
Vladimir Milovanov is a surgeon and an oncologist by profession, but he is also intensely interested in film and music. The heart of the episode is a staged scene where Vladimir talks about himself. A comic video made at our first session is intermixed with the interview, in which he talks about personal experience with death, the combination gesturing unambiguously at the difference between reality and reflections of that reality, filled as they are with set phrases and cliché.
Ivan Susarin, musician, member of the VASYA RUN project
In his introductory interview, Ivan Susarin tells us about a screenplay that came to him in a dream, adding that the open call for the Workshop found its way to him the very next morning. “The Dreams of the Fish” is among the most hypnotic projects created during this Workshop. Susarin retells, in contemporary terms, a Chinese parable about a monk and a butterfly... actually, a fish. We are talking about Shchukino here, after all – the toponym comes from the Russian for pike (the fish).
Svetlana Yakovleva, student at the Higher School of Economics
Svetlana Yakovleva studies at the Higher School of Economics and is also a professional swimmer. The youngest member of our Workshop, Sveta made a short video about what a swimmer feels, “rhyming” a long-distance heat with the state of a dreamer.
The second season of the Daydreaming in the Hood: The Eight web series premiered on Sreda, the V–A–C Foundation's on-line journal.
Oleg Koronnyi, screenwriter, journalist, director
Oleg Koronnyi, a well-known journalist and video blogger, is always seeking out new things. In our Workshop, he organized an urban mini-celebration in a residential neighbourhood far from the city centre to film a trailer for an imaginary film, a comedy called “One Day.” It really is pretty funny.
Vladimir Vyalov, programmer, media artist, student at the Rodchenko School
Vladimir Vyalov was educated to be a programmer, but decided to become a media artist instead. During his time in the Workshop, Vladimir shot a film about a computer expert in a city run by video control technology and a social ratings system. His short film, “Brigadier,” tells an ironic story about technocracy and biopolitics.
Anastasia Vereikina, student, animation direction major at the Russian State University of Cinematography
Anastasia Vereikina studies animation direction at the Russian State University of Cinematography. Walking the streets of Shchukino, Nastya decided to create her own alphabet, combining images of the neighbourhood she had shot during that month with letters and words that conveyed her own thoughts and feelings.
Mikhail Bodukhin, film editor, retired programmer, amateur cinema scholar
Mikhail Bodukhin, a “lapsed programmer” bewitched by the language of cinema, came to the Workshop to acquire experience creating films and video clips. One of our most active members, Misha devoted many hours to helping at Workshop shoots. He became assistant director for the release of our anthology and second editor for the shorts shot by Katya Zubkova, Yana Osman and Sasha Kharina. And, of course, he shot his own film, “Sandwich,” in which he prompts viewers to engage in a game of colliding sensations, evoking the contrast between the noisy city and a quiet riverbank.
Pyotr Voloshin, Muscovite from Sevastopol, language and literature scholar
Pyotr Voloshin teaches Russian language and literature in a school. Having a penchant for performative practices, like a member of a provincial punk group, Petya created a number of consciously naive videos at the Workshop, videos in which it is nearly impossible to distinguish the individuality of the author from the language and the “body” of the work itself.
Elena Skripkina, theologian, artist, graduate student in religious philosophy
Elena Skripkina has a degrees as a documentary film director (a unique circumstance for our Workshop) and as a philosopher. Lena’s project was a penetrating narrative about personal emotional experience of the atomic catastrophe at Hiroshima. Her poetical utterance, speaking to the fine line between sleep and non-existence, and also her considerations of the experience of a self beyond the confines of its own body, concludes our series of portraits of participants in the Collective Film Workshop.
One concrete result of the Workshop was a series of short films produced by its members. Some of these were actually created in the course of the Workshop itself, while others were shot after its completion. These shorts now live their own independent lives, participating in film festivals and vying for awards. The short films associated with the Daydreaming in the Hood project will premier on the V–A–C Foundation website, v-a-c.org, at some point before the end of 2020.
One Day by Ksenia Babushkina, Oleg Koronni, Vladimir Milovanov , 16+
A short tale about neighbourhood festivities narrated using the format of a fake trailer.
“I must say we haven’t finished our work on the film and the making of the film, in all its stages, has been quite an ordeal. Three of us worked on the film together, but each of us were pulling in different directions, which not only ruined the plot, but also the organization of filming, editing and post-production. We were also very unlucky! Our camera and laptops were stolen when we arrived in Switzerland to finish shooting the film, and so were unable to complete it as planned. The final version of the film resembles an essay on how to make a movie nowadays when you have neither the time nor the money for it”.Ksenia Babushkina
Paradise Soiled by Yana Osman, 16+
Each summer the hot water is turned off for a short period. Yana Osman installed baths, showers and brought heavy-duty trucks filled with hot water directly into a Moscow courtyard, transforming it into a large communal shower.
“Paradise Soiled — is Eden transformed after the Fall. There is no hot water there”.Yana Osman
Spirit of Fire IFF
Moscow Shorts ISFF
NewFilmmakers NY / YoungFilmmakers / AltFest
Los Angeles Underground Film Forum
The anthology film is the first phase of the Daydreaming in the Hood project. In it, the separate works of the individual participants in the workshop are arranged as chapters, together with a trailer serving as the introduction to the collective whole. As in an adventure novel, each chapter is preceded by a short textual digression containing various curious facts about Shchukino and local current events. The binary oppositions of the individual and the collective, the personal and the social, the real and the imaginary – these create the tension necessary for a special polyphonic rhythm to arise, in which, if you listen, our present day can be heard in all its variety.
The almanach includes “A Sandwich” by Mikhail Bodukhin, “The Idiots’ Vlog” by Minnur Guseinova, “This Is Not Shchukino” by Pyotr Voloshin, “Paradise Soiled” by Yana Osman, “The Spirit of the Street” by Ekaterina Zubkova, “The Measure of Things” by Daria Mareeva, “Swimmer” by Svetlana Yakovleva, “Clots. Libido.” by Alexandra Kharina, “The Brigadier” by Vladimir Vyalov, “One Day” by Ksenia Babushkina, Oleg Koronnyi and Vladimir Milovanov, “Stalin’s Haberdasher” (from the cycle “Dreams of Remarkable People”) by Yuri Golubev, “Shades of Hiroshima” by Elena Skripkina, and “The Dreams of the Fish” by Ivan Susarin.
Artistic Director: Andrey Silvestrov
Cameraman: Daniil Fomichev
Editor: Yuri Golubev
Sound: Rustam Medov
Producers: Kirill Adibekov, Lyusia Artemieva, Aleksandra Khazina and Nikita Rasskasov
Produced by the V–A–C
Opens on March 8, 2020 at the XVIII International “Spirit of Fire” Festival of Cinema Debuts