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An Interview with Suro Jr, Director of Thursday

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2019

Films directed by Suro Jr on (re)Search my Trash

 

Quick Links

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Your new movie Thursday - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Thursday is based on a true story about a mother whose son is admitted to hospital in critical condition. She is completely distraught and pleads to the doctors to save her child but is met with the harsh reality of medical incompetence. But for me it’s a story about a situation where there is no way out.

 

From what I've heard, Thursday's based on a true story - so how did you stumble upon the story, and what made you want to turn it into a movie?

 

It is a true story that happened in Russia during the summer of 2017. I just stumbled upon a Facebook post about the mother. Then I found her video interview. The way she told that story, it just… I don’t know, blew my mind.

 

Other sources of inspiration when writing Thursday?

 

In addition to the information about that story that I managed to gather, one of our producers’ father is a doctor. I received some personal experience with doctors.

 

To what extent could you actually identify with the mother in your movie, and the ordeal she's going through?

 

That’s the point. I ask the question (in my movie) that I am afraid to ask myself. I really don’t know. What would I do? And would I have the spirit to do it my way? Would I stay alive (inside) if I do that and would it also lead to the same tragedy.

 

With most of Thursday taking place in a hospital - where was it actually filmed, what was it like filming there, and what were the challenges of keeping things interesting visually in such a restricted location?

 

It was filmed in an actual hospital. Mostly in a real hospice building. So, basically it was close to the story. We filmed from the time the hospital opened in the morning until 9 pm. It was really difficult.

 

I tried to create the story at the same time as a writer and a director. Before we started shooting, I already knew the filming process through to the end. It was about 98% close to the original storyboard. During location scouting the DP and I tried to find places as close as possible to the image we had in our minds.

 

What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

As a director, I understood that if I focused on the child, the story would be very cliché. I wanted the story to be from the mother’s perspective and her anxiety with the situation. We spent most of the budget on a quality camera, lighting and the best crew. I didn’t want to do the movie just to make a movie. I wanted to tell her story and create a quality product.

 

Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Elmira Mirel, who plays the mother, has such a renaissance face. She can be in character for as long as I needed. That was very inspiring. Angelina Kuznetsova, who plays the doctor, has incredible eyes. She didn’t know she had that king of strong power inside of her. Aleksandr Vysokovskiy, also playing a doctor, is one the most talented and prepared actors. The whole cast were perfect and professional. From the beginning they worked well together. That was great.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Just the usual. Pain and gain. Budget constraints. Trying to get more finance to complete the film. Actors not understanding my direction, because I didn’t explain myself properly. My DP and I at each other’s throats. At 9 pm the hospital inconveniently closed so we had to wrap. Perfect shooting. Every day.

Just kidding.

Everybody was working at their maximum, just because I believed in the story. And everybody followed me. That was really cool. The whole team was wonderful to work with.

 

The $64 question of course, where can Thursday be seen?

 

The movie is available to watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqTVU91zo7I

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Thursday?

 

We submitted to twenty-one film festivals and received five awards, so some critics do like it. We have found that the audience fall silent after watching the movie (at the festivals). That was unexpected for me. The strongest silence for me was when I screened the film to the employees at the children’s hospice. Just a few words from them, “We work with that every day.” I couldn’t speak to anybody for the rest of the day.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Yes. I have a 20-minute short story that’s in black and white with no dialogue called Teapot. We are already in production. I have also just finished a script with Maxim (Thursday producer) for my first feature film called Daily Bread”(It will have a worldwide distribution but only in Russian with English subtitles). Both projects I want to shoot and screen at 96 frames per second.

 

What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I graduated in 2006 VGIK (Moscow Film University) as a screenwriter and was working for more than 10 years in Russia as writer. My dad was working at Mosfilm until 1991 as a first assistant director with the biggest Soviet directors. My mom is an artist and costume designer and also worked all of her life at Mosfilm. She was working on a movie that received an Oscar (Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears). So you could say – it’s a family business.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Thursday?

 

Thursday is my first film as a director. Before that I was working as a screenwriter at few Russian production companies and TV channels.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

I haven’t found my style yet, but I need the full attention and emotion from viewers for the visual pleasure of my movies.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

I clearly distinguish two categories of filmmaker that inspire me. Movie-directors I learn for my profession (as a filmmaker) and movie-directors that inspire and influence me. The first category is huge. Really too big to list everyone. 

Second category list though is: 

David Fincher – for being Fincher. 

Bergman – for discovering gradation in human soul. 

Haneke – for re-inventing filming and very powerful simple ideas in his stories. 

Dardenne brothers – for delicate inside world with understanding current society problems. 

Stanley Kubrick – for courage in his revolutionary ideas. 

And a few Russian directors.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

The most powerful influence was for me were the movies between 1995-2001 (when I was 11-17-year-old). Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fight Club, Big Lebowski, The Matrix and so on….

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Suro Jr
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find Suro Jr here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

I don’t have one!

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

Please visit http://thursdayshortfilm.com/

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Actually I would like to add - What was your biggest disappointment during the shooting of your first film?

As I say to my mom, “I thought making a movie was a pleasure. But it is so painful…!”

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD