22-05-2020

PRODUCTION: Giedre Zickyte Preps New French/Lithuanian/Latvian Doc MASHA

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Masha by Giedre Zickyte Masha by Giedre Zickyte photo: Masha Ivashintsova

VILNIUS: Lithuanian director Giedre Zickyte is currently in preproduction with a new documentary MASHA / Maša. Main photography will take place in the autumn of 2020.

The film is a coproduction between ZED (France) through producers Christine Le Goff and Manuel Catteau, Moonmakers (Lithuania) through producer Giedrė Žickytė, and VFS films (Latvia) through producer Uldis Cekulis.

The subject of the film, photographer Masha Ivashintsova (1942-2000), was heavily engaged in the Leningrad poetic and photography underground movement of the 1960−80s. Masha photographed prolifically throughout most of her life, but she hoarded her photo-films in the attic and rarely developed them. Only when her daughter Asya found some 30,000 negatives in their attic in 2017 did Masha's works become public.

„The idea for this film came a couple of years ago when I discovered on the internet a small story about the incredible discovery of a trove of photographs by a Russian woman photographer. I vividly remember the title ‚Meet Masha Ivashintsova, the Russian Vivian Maier‘. I had been in Leningrad in 1989, a few months before the Berlin Wall fell. The city haunted me, its austere beauty, its emptiness. I remember a city without people. So when I saw Masha’s photos I was stunned. Where were all these people? I realised I could have met Masha on a street corner. I did not then, but I had a chance to do it now. Reading her extraordinary story, looking at her photographs, I felt a powerful connection. That’s how films begin, you need to fall in love. I fell in love with Masha. After doing a little research, I and my fellow producer Nick Ware found a representative contact address in Vienna. We traveled there and met Egor, Asya’s husband who came from Saint Petersburg. First encounters determine the fate of films. We connected and made plans to go to Saint Petersburg to meet the essential survivors to this story: Melvar, Masha’s husband and Asya, Masha’s daughter,“ LeGoff said. 

„In Saint Petersburg, I realised that not speaking Russian was going to be a major issue. I needed a filmmaker who not only spoke Russian but also understood Russian culture and history, in particular the history of that Leningrad artistic underground mouvement. I also hoped  it would be a woman filmmaker. My partner Nick Ware pointed me to Giedre. He knew her work and showed me Master and Tatyana. That was my second aesthetic shock and my second falling in love! Giedre was it. It is as simple as that. Her talent, her freedom with form and images, her passion that you feel in her film … all the qualities I was looking for. There are little miracles when you begin a film that determine the film’s fate. I have produced films for over 40 years and those miracles don’t often happen. So I know Masha will be fine,“ she added.  

The project was pitched at IDFA Forum, Baltic Sea Docs and Edinburgh Pitch. It also won the honourary mention from the Hot Docs first look Prize committee. This year’s 21 Hot Docs Forum projects represented 18 different countries and were selected from over 463 submissions.

Production information:

Producers:
ZED (France)
Moonmakers (Lithuania)
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Phone +370 659 01278
VFS Films (Latvia)

Credits:
Director: Giedre Zickyte
Scriptwriter: Nick Ware
Producers: Christine Le Goff, Manuel Catteau, Giedre Zickyte, Uldis Cekulis
World Sales: Vesna Cudic, MetFilm Sales