h (kevinshahinian)     , -

MATRYOSHKA (Concept Movie)

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When people touch our lives, they live on in our hearts forever -- a powerful message long cherished by Sasha upon the passing of his grandmother, echoes the theme of our cross-cultural drama, MATRYOSHKA. Set simultaneously in Moscow and Los Angeles, MATRYOSHKA tells the modern day story of Russian immigrants, Sasha and Yulia, as they plan their upcoming wedding in America and reflect on the many loved ones they miss back home.

Like many in a diaspora, they yearn to share their wedding celebration with the friends and family that remain behind overseas; sadly most of them will not be able to make the long journey to attend. Saying goodbye to loved ones at a given stage or circumstance is a bittersweet fact of life we all tend to face. For Sasha and Yulia, its a challenge that seems insurmountable until the night Sasha presents Yulia with a special gift - an old Russian nested doll - the ubiquitous MATRYOSHKA. A family heirloom Sasha received years ago. Its a gift that comes with a powerful message that inspires Yulia to action. All alone, Yulia travels back to their Russian homeland to create a special video of the friends and family that remain - a thoughtful surprise to share with everyone at their wedding, including Sasha. Challenges arise immediately upon her arrival, but one is seemingly solved by a mysterious local driver at the airport. As Yulia's journey unfolds, questions are revealed like the MATRYOSHKA, layer upon layer. In her darkest hour, Yulia recalls Sashas message and within his words a dramatic revelation.

MATRYOSHKA is as much a tribute to those who leave their homeland as it is a celebration of the people who touch our lives and guide us directly and indirectly on our path as we navigate moments of fate and coincidence. And of those loved ones we may be forced to let go, Sashas words are a reminder that they live on in our hearts and minds, forever.
From a production standpoint, MATRYOSHKA was a test for the limits of ultra low profile, on-location guerilla filmmaking. Written, produced and directed by Kevin Shahinian, MATRYOSHKA was shot over six days on-location in Moscow with no crew whatsoever, with the hope of making few sacrifices in how the film would be executed and avoiding the look of a guerrilla film. Ideas are only as solid as their execution and the conditions proved extremely challenging, from dialogue in moving vehicles to foot chases through dense woodlands; it's exciting to share the results and let the audience be the judge. MATRYOSHKA is inspired by true events and co-stars Evgeniy Volovenko and Olga Prikhodko.
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