Elena Maksyuta

She is the filmmaker of The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling us a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Elena Maksyuta: My work has always been closely related to visual creativity. Firstly, it was graphic design, then photography. Now I am engaged in directing. I shoot various types of photos and video content for social networks. In my projects, I also work as a screenwriter and producer. I would like to be in a big cinema!

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?

Elena Maksyuta: To be honest, cinema has always attracted me. But I believe that directing, in addition to strength of character and the ability to think visually, is also a certain life path and experience. And when all this comes together, it is time to make decisions to act in this direction. In my case, it was quarantine that pushed me to the fact that I was ready to change my life and go to develop in the profession of a director. And then I have already prepared and sent materials to the admissions committee of VGIK.

SKSM: When did you make The Man Who Loved Flowers? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Elena Maksyuta: Initially, I wanted to film another story – The Boogeyman. It seems to me that all film adaptations are extremely far from the original story itself. I wanted to be as close as possible to the vision of the author of this story. But the rights to the film adaptation had already been bought by a large film company, as I found out later.

Therefore, I began to think further. The story The Man Who Loved Flowers inspired me right away! Such a bright, short story of a sick person, a maniac who can no longer distinguish between love, pain, reality. This story shows one day from his painful life.

The film was filmed as part of my studies at VGIK, it was filmed entirely at my expense. Therefore, I also thought about the expenses. Discussing the entire project with producer Alyona Yanushko. We realized that we would succeed.

It is especially important to note that all team members worked for free, for the idea, for the experience. This is especially valuable to me! Thanks in large part to the well-coordinated work of the team, we managed the filming period successfully! Then came post-production, which also had its own challenges. And I was also lucky to work with great people, professionals in their field. People who love what they do.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Elena Maksyuta: The viewers from whom I had the opportunity to get feedback, hear their opinions about the film and the story itself. They all say that the ending is very shocking. No one expects that this person is not at all who he seems. This is where the bright and unexpected impressions from watching are hidden.

SKSM: Can you tell us about your experience on this film? Was everything planned ahead or did some things change during filming?

Elena Maksyuta: This filming was a real test of strength! We did not plan for such rain! And we really filmed under such conditions)) the whole team and actors remained collected and everyone did their job. Later we joked a lot about all this! And how we dried the boom in the car, how we looked for even more umbrellas)))

SKSM: You are the director, scriptwriter and the producer, how did you experience that?

Elena Maksyuta: It was not easy! Largely thanks to the support of producer Alyona, I coped with my tasks. And she supported me and our film with her participation.

SKSM: Did you make any changes from the original story? How do you think (or would you like) the audience to react about this?

Elena Maksyuta: Yes, there are fragments from the story that I removed. There were also episodes that I wanted to add from myself. But, in the end, the lack of resources decided everything for me. The main thing is that the final version of the film did not lose its meaning.

SKSM: Were any movie fragments cut out that you now miss?

Elena Maksyuta: I think, within the limits of possibilities, everything is exactly as it should be. But if I were to adapt the story into a feature film, there would be much more detail and depth to the events!

SKSM: Can you share with us any significant moment or memories that happened on set?

Elena Maksyuta: It was unforgettable that we filmed in the rain!! And in the end, it was like a test and an adventure at the same time))) It was the most difficult experience during filming and also the fact that we filmed on the central historical streets of Moscow. It was difficult to initially get permission to film in these locations. These streets were not closed for our filming. For example, sometimes we had to catch moments when a car would drive by or random people would walk out of the frame. All the people in the frame were extras. We had a large team.

SKSM: Where was premiered?

Elena Maksyuta: The premiere took place in our VGIK film directing workshop. My classmates noted that the film is very bright! And even the rain adds special colors, makes it stand out.

SKSM: What experience has The Man Who Loved Flowers left on you?

Elena Maksyuta: For me cinema is always a team work. Therefore, the fact that the entire film crew believed in me and our film left the warmest and kindest impressions on me. Therefore, I believe that everything is possible! If you believe in what you do and love your business.

SKSM: How do you like to describe yourself as a director?

Elena Maksyuta: I always know what I want and how it should be implemented. I always have a plan in my head, according to which I move and lead. I think that is largely why it is comfortable and understandable to work with me. I am diplomatic in communication. I respect other people’s work and contribution to our common cause. And I always have a lot of different ideas in my head!)) The main thing is to gradually implement them and believe.

SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?

Elena Maksyuta: Here the producer told me. I had no idea that such a thing was possible! And none of my close friends believed that we would succeed! Margaret from Stephen King’s office responded to my letter very quickly, the letter already contained a contract! At first, I could not fully believe in this possibility.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Elena Maksyuta: I love Stephen King’s works very much! I literally grew up on his novels, and in general I fell in love with reading thanks to him! My favorites are the Langoliers, Desperation, The Dark Tower, Misery, Gerald’s Game.

SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?

Elena Maksyuta: According to the terms of the contract, it is necessary to send a disk with the film to Stephen King’s office. So I really hope that he will definitely watch my film. I would be happy to film his other stories. Stephen King is a brilliant author.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Elena Maksyuta: I am working on a feature film script, genre historical, adventure, drama. I have also already written a script for a pilot episode of a series and a synopsis for the series. This is already fantasy. In general, I am all in the creative process.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Elena Maksyuta: I am enthusiastic about communicating with new people, it is always interesting for me. And how they perceive me and my work, I cannot give an assessment here.

SKSM: What is in the top 5 on your bucket list? (Everything is possible and nothing is too strange)

Elena Maksyuta: To get funding for my projects! And of course, a full-length film adaptation of a Stephen King novel)

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Elena Maksyuta: I am very pleased that you have shown interest in me and my film. You are doing an important and necessary thing by covering the projects of young filmmakers. Exactly, such attention helps to believe even more in what you are doing and not to give up even when it is not easy to implement your plans.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.