Q&A: Pavels Gumennikov, 'Just Go!'

Tell us about you. What makes you tick? What keeps you up at night?

I am a story teller. I love to listen to stories and tell them to others. And I love movies. I can't live without them. I would say I am addicted to the craft! For the last 5 years I have worked and gained my experience in Chinese film and TV market and now I am planning to move to USA or Australia to grow further. 

Every day I dream about future projects, films and stories I might tell. Give me a script and I know I can make it in a movie. I won't sleep and eat but just work on it. Just don't tell my wife that I am so in love with film :) 

Why films? And why this film? 

I always remember how I saw my first film. It was behind the fence, as cinema was packed so me and my uncle was standing outside and I was looking through the back wall, that had fences on it. But it still felt magical, it was an old King Kong movie. And I remember that feeling really strong, that this is magic, this is an amazing story that talks to so many people. And from that time I can't stop telling stories. I think story telling comes from my grandfather who created stories every night when I went to sleep. After I started doing it to him and it never stopped. 

This film came up when I met people from sitting volleyball team, and they started talking about how sport changed their lives. I also met there with main character of the movie, and he told me his life story. I went home and couldn't stop thinking about his story and new that it needs to be told to the world. 

What happened behind the scenes on this one?

This film took a year to make. We had a 4 month rehearsal period with main actor, as he never done acting or anything related to arts. I also thought we will need to train for all the tricks he was doing in a movie, but that came naturally to him. We just had one training for one hour, where trainer was as amazed as me by Aleksandrs physical skills. 

Our budget for this film was really small. We did everything for 4000 USD and it worked because the whole team believed and was inspired by this film. We had support of food restaurants, so we felt full and happy :) 

We were shooting in central market that is always crowded with people. We couldn't stop the crowd as that would cost as a fortune so we decided to do documentary shooting - hiding cameras and letting actors in the crowd. It was so believable that one security guard almost started a fight with our actor thieves. 

Our main character Aleksandr was only 17 when shooting. So teenagers are sometimes lazy. For me and him this was a project of growing up, fighting, hating and the same time falling in love each and every day :) Both of us gained so much - patience, hard work and love to what you do!

When your dreams have all come true in five years time, where will we find you and what will you have made?

My dream is to work on large stories, that I can tell to audience around the world. I want to make films that are watched by millions, as I love grand stories. Stories that move audience in different countries, that are universal and that inspire people to do more. That is what I believe the power of cinema is. Also my goal is to move to USA or Australia or China as the country I am is to small and we have very limited options to create movies. 

What advice would give to other independent filmmakers?

As cheesy as it might sound, the best advice I was given and I would give. Is never stop believing in your dream. Never stop fighting for it. It is hard. It is extremely hard but if you follow your dream it is also amazing and inspirational. Never stop telling your story and always go forward whatever happens!

Just Go! is one of our official selection films in our upcoming Film Festival with Vivid Ideas in Sydney on Sunday 4th June. Tickets available via Giant Dwarf

Fresh Flix