Private Project


Back Story
So, an American academic with a history in art and activism, and Anna Filonenko, a Russian who runs a foundation that supports indigenous and minority art making in Russia get together to make a film about an indigenous artist doing murals with community youth in Eastern Siberia. These murals, which bring color to environments that are otherwise white and grey, not only help the Yakuts preserve and celebrate their culture, they prevent people in the community from succumbing to snow blindness in the Winter. After the film is shot and edited, we have to shelve the project, because the community erupts into riots when Putin tries to conscript a major portion of the men there into the army, as he did in minority communities across Russia, and as a result the artist involved is worried she and her family will be arrested if the film is exhibited, as drawing any attention to what is happening in her community is now viewed as a threat to the Russian state.

In response to this, Anna and I decide to make another film.

Seen through the lives and work of four Russian female artists, "24/2" marks the one-year anniversary of the Invasion of Ukraine by giving us a glimpse into the confusions and fears of many Russian citizens whose world has been upended by a government bent on changing not just the map but the soul of the country they thought they knew.

Additional Context
One artist had already left Russia, another two fled the country after the war started, and one has remained in St Petersburg, but all these artists are effectively trapped by the conflict, their work suddenly looked at as irrelevant except in so far as it can be interpreted in light of the war or be directly brought into the service of pro or anti- war political camps. The film in no way compares the plight of the artists it includes to those murdered or imprisoned during the conflict, but with their country almost unrecognizable, shows cancelled, and any visibility now dangerous, particularly for artists from minority communities like Polina Olipova, these artists have to accept the role of dissidents, serve the new propaganda state, or live in silence.

Made by a team of exiles
Everyone involved with this film is taking real risks, with most of the artists, the director, the composer, and the majority of the crew and production team now dispersed to wherever they could get a visa and find housing. The film has been edited to try and protect the participants as much as possible, particularly for those currently in Russia, but even for those living elsewhere, in absentia prison terms of 10 years are now routinely given out to individual’s whose statements are interpreted as inadequately supportive of the Russian state.

Production Constraints
Our apologies for some of the temporary technical short comings of the film. Working with limited equipment and in makeshift facilities from Montenegro to Slovenia, and working underground on location in St Petersburg, means the film is taking longer than expected to complete. A 4k final cut with color balancing, sound and design elements in place, and with a fully composed original score by Anatoly Siminov will be completed no later than June15.

  • Anna Filonenko
  • Sean Eve
    Shiva Baby (2020)
  • Anna Filonenko
  • Lynn Alison Wachman
  • Polina Osipova
    Key Cast
    "Artist- now living in UK"
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    Austria, Montenegro, Russian Federation, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, Russian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director - Anna Filonenko