Anastacia Pogodina ’23: Prague Film School Summer Workshop
A bilingual screenplay that tackles the issue of immigration—featuring narratives of refugees from Ukraine and Russia—was composed within a four-week summer intensive workshop at the Pargue Film School.
About the Project
I received the Benenson Award in the Arts to attend a summer intensive workshop at the Prague Film School, one of the leading institutions in the cinematic arts in Europe. Throughout four weeks, I explored various stages of filmmaking, from screenwriting to post-production. Within the process, I was able to develop my final project, a bilingual screenplay for a short narrative film about Russian and Ukrainian immigrants in Prague.
This summer course has truly proven to be a transformative experience for me, particularly because I had the chance to collaborate with a fellow student from Kyiv, Ukraine, while working on my final piece.
As a Russian citizen, I aspired to demonstrate through my work that the political views and actions committed in the name of my home country do not provide an accurate reflection of what Russian people outside the government actually believe, especially after the Russian-Ukrainian war had broken out. Bringing together Ukrainian and Russian refugees, collecting their personal recounts, and putting their stories together in a screenplay allowed me to offer an alternative view on the current disastrous events to my peers at Prague.
There was so much to learn from my peers in the workshop — our group consisted of both college students and individuals that have been in the film and/or media industry for the past few years from all over the world. It was interesting to discover how creative industries work in different parts of the globe. Given my passion for the arts that serve as a tool to expose certain socio-political issues, it was exciting to hear how filmmakers implement social and/or political commentary into their artistic works in countries that restrict freedom of expression, such as Turkey, Iran, and China.
Benenson Summer Highlights
In addition to my studies, the Prague Film School has also allowed me to explore the city. As we worked on several student projects throughout the month, we got to visit various historical sites, such as the Jewish Quarter, the Prague Cathedral complex, and the Charles Bridge, where we would have our film sets.
Overall, the filmmaking workshop has provided me with the opportunity to learn about filmmaking from a more practical perspective, develop my original work in collaboration with both amateurs and professionals in the film industry, and spend a whole month in a new country rich with history, culture, and traditions.