Academy Award Nominated Director Anton Diakov Announces "I-m Burning," a New Russian-Ukrainian Co-production Short Film

Boxballet director Anton Diakov followed up his Oscar-nominated short "I'm Burning" with a collaboration with Ukrainian group Gibkiy Chaplin.

The short, which was published on the Latvian website and includes an interview, was made at a time when the partnership between Russia and Ukraine is in the spotlight.

About the new film, Diakov says:

In a land that still bears the scars of the Great Patriotic War, the existence of war means that there will always be families who have the business cards of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers to help us live in peace, and the most important thing that has united Russians and Ukrainians over the centuries It means that we have lost the most precious thing, the brotherhood of blood that has united Russians and Ukrainians for centuries, in the pursuit of shiny decorations. I dedicate my film "I am Burning" to all those in distress on Ukrainian soil. No matter who they are, Russian or Ukrainian. There is no excuse for this war.

"I'm Burning" was produced by Sana Morrow and sound designed by Ukrainian studio Komora Studio The release of the film, which has been in development for over 18 months, has nothing to do with the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Diakov, the cooperative nature of the production was accidental.

"There was no motivation to get into the context [of the war]," he explained in an interview. 'And how can you predict that ...... I'm on fire. There are two extremes of reactions to this film. That's a good thing. I mean, it's uncomfortable, it stings, it rubs. As long as we feel something, we can be sure we are alive. We are on fire!"

In the film, a homeless man wakes up at a bus stop to start his day, but in an attempt to light a cigarette butt on the ground, he inadvertently sets himself on fire with a faulty lighter. The man then runs screaming down an alley, and many people look on in amusement, but no one is willing to help him put out the flames.

Asked about his Oscar nomination for "Box Valley" and whether "I'm Burning" would be nominated for a similar award, Diakoff said, "I don't even know what the Academy Awards are. It's an abstraction, a game of chance and providence. God forbid you do anything with the expectation of winning a contest or competition. Many in the world are blinded by status, proximity to stars, and this shell of a thing with rhinestones plastered on it. Burn it with fire. It is empty.

Note: All quotes from the Meduza interview were translated from Russian using DeepL.