First blockbuster Water Spirit shot in Tatarstan

The premiere of the first Tatarstan blockbuster Water Spirit directed by Aleksey Barykin will be at Window to Europe festival, which will open in Vyborg on 10 August. Antipodes company cooperating with Konchalovsky and Fyodorchenko promotes the film. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.

Special effects and tricks

The work on Water Spirit has taken almost 2 years. The film was shot in 2016. Then post-production was carried out for 1,5 years. As the director explained, it was his dream to shoot the first Tatarstan blockbuster that keeps the spectator in suspense from the first to the second scene, with special effects, it goes without saying. And though the film doesn't have big mass scenes, it became possible to make special effects impressive. ''We're proud it was done only by Tatarstan specialists, special computers were purchased to do it, there was a very powerful computer database. There were big failures for the Kazan team, a scene lasting for several seconds was shot for days,'' says Aleksey Barykin. According to him, it was a great technological breakthrough.

Apart from special effects, Water Spirit has complicated tricks on the water, for instance, it walks on it. For this purpose, there were built bridges in the lake the shooting took place in this role's actress walked on. And then it all was processed on a computer. The actress not only ''walked on the water surface'' but also flew above the lake, she was raised by a crane.

The actress not only ''walked on the water'' but also flew above the lake, she was raised by a crane

The film has exclusive costumes made by artist Marina Barykina. Old materials, for example, authentic necklaces, historical embroidery were used to make them. So there was created a very complicated costume for the Water Spirit. A wetsuit was put on under the dress. In addition, it was also necessary to assemble climbing equipment the heroine was ''flying'' in.

''Do you know where these fairy tales and legends come from?''

The director says, on the one hand, he wanted to shoot a blockbuster. On the other hand, he's been always interested in tales and legends, including Tatar. Kayum Nasyri's essays where different stories about magical creatures from Tatar mythology are gathered like in an encyclopaedia became the manual when working on the film. The Water Spirit is also present there. What's more, there are many plots with it. The film's scenario was rewritten many times. Initially, for example, it didn't have children but people who fell in love.

Later the director seemed more interesting to make a story for kids. ''Working on the film, we understood it would be interesting to shoot this story in the place Kayum Nasyri lived himself, in the places he describes, that's to say, in Zelenodolsk District, on the right bank of the Volga River. His museum is located in Bolshiye Achasary village, a real house with Nasyri's authentic belongings. And a part of the film unfolds in these interiors,'' tells Aleksey Barykin.

The budget of Water Spirit hasn't been made public yet. The film was shot with the support of the republic's President Rustam Minnikhanov, the money was allocated very quickly. The second part was financed by director of Nika fund and deputy Vladimir Bratukhin who believed in the project. ''It's an individual who believed in us,'' Barykin comments.

It was hard to find young actors. In the end, Katya Barykina, the director's daughter, played the role of the girl, while Kolya Nevzorov, second director Anna Nevzorova's son, was the boy

Young director and teacher of the culture institute Yulia Zakharova performed the role of Water Spirit. It was hard to find young actors. In the end, Katya Barykina, the director's daughter, played the role of the girl, while Kolya Nevzorov, second director Anna Nevzorova's son, was the boy. The children appeared on the set ready to play, Yuliya Zakharova who has experience in working in kids' studios had been working with them for long. The children got accustomed to each other, played together, walked in the park, exchanged phrases from the roles. In the end, they were absolutely ready and knew their text by the beginning of shooting.

Apart from them, Nafisa Khairullina, Fanis Ziganshin, Ildus Gabdrakhmanov and Guzel Shakirzyanova take part in the film. The roles were created deliberately for them. As for Yuliya Zakharova, she performed all complicated tricks herself, without stunts.

''It was important for us to find a federal distributor''

Water Spirit has already obtained a national rental licence. ''Our idea was to shoot the film with the national foundation from the beginning but transform it in so that it would be interesting for both the Russian and foreign spectator. It was important for us to find a federal distributor. Now we already have interesting offers. For instance, Antipodes company has turned to us. It's the most famous Russian agent that sells films abroad both to show in the cinema and on TV. For example, they release Konchalovsky and Fyodorchenko's films. Antipodes liked Water Spirit, and they take it. We've signed an agreement with them. In addition, the film was presented at the Moscow International Festival, it wasn't shown there completely. But we demonstrated the trailer and told about the film. Antipodes presented the film at the Cannes. And the Russian premier will be at Window to Europe, it's the second prestigious national film festival after Kinotavr. Water Spirit is on the programme of films for children,'' Aleksey Barykin commented on the film's release.

Russian distributors will decide when the film's premiere will be

Water Spirit will be presented during the Kazan International Muslim Film Festival, and spectators will see a film about the film. Russian distributors will decide when the film's premiere will be. It's planned to conduct it in several cities at once.

By Tatiana Mamayeva. Photo: