“33 words about design”: who and why makes a movie about design in Russia

    Bang Bang Design School of Design has started raising funds for the film research “33 words about design”, which will be dedicated to contemporary design in Russia. In it, each of the 33 heroes in two minutes will try to answer the question of what Russian culture and aesthetics are. The school collects the bulk of the money on its website, and part of it on the Planet crowdsourcing service. Last year, the same team shot the film almanac “ 100 Years of Design ”, in which they talk about key objects and phenomena in world design over the past century in an hour and a half.

    Natasha Klimchuk, Tim Cherny and Olya Morozova, co-founders of the school and creators of both films, answered Habr's questions about the new film and what it was like to work on the previous project.

    You collect money for a new project yourself, and “100 Years of Design” came out with the support of Yandex Publishing House. This time they did not want? Or did you want independence?

    Tim Black: Wanted independence.

    Olya Morozova: We wanted to find out how much the audience, which had loudly responded to “100 years of design”, would want to be involved in the creation of a new film. How curious people are about this topic and what is the general interest in design in Russia.

    Natasha Klimchuk:We do not exclude that some big brand that is invested in socially significant projects will want to support our new film. We didn’t do this intentionally: it didn’t go beyond a few conversations, somehow I immediately thought that there would be support from people interested in design in Russia, and this support would warm us in the process of making the film.

    I have a feeling that your previous film about design intentionally turned out to be in some places a kind of “design”, arthouse. I'm right?

    N: Yes, of course, but what else can be a documentary about design where the designers themselves come up with the content? There are several movie almanacs with directors who make a cool arthouse. In our understanding, a good designer is the same director, he comes up with an idea, designs the user experience and emotion.

    A: This is the rare case when a specific film, it seems, for designers, turned out to be interesting to a wide audience.

    And vice versa: small charming flaws are noticeable in the film, when the CGI-letter does not ideally fit on the plane of a real cube or a person is not ideally drawn from the green background. Is it possible to be inattentive to details when you shoot and edit a film about design?

    A: Everything is possible. We did not claim Hollywood quality, creating "100 Years of Design." On the contrary, all these shortcomings seem to be cute, the voice of the participants in their videos and such a complete involvement, an experiment in everything. The budget for making the film was a little over one million rubles.

    T:Why not. Design is not about perfect. We value attention to detail so that everything is in place and there is justification for everything, but this is not necessary. This is a movie for designers about designers. His goal was to tell about the history of design. So yes, why not.

    Different designers in different surroundings tell about each new period in the “100 Years of Design”, they are shot by different people, and other guys make graphics. In the end, it turned out eclectic - is it a conscious decision or a forced one?

    N: I really like to watch movie almanacs, festival short films or collections of clips, cartoons. It’s great that each passage had its own visual and rhythmic language, it does not allow the viewer to fall asleep, keeps him in suspense.

    ABOUT:This is the technique that we chose at the start of the film. Since there are many participants and they are telling all about different things, they visually decided to arrange all this in accordance with the style of the participants and the plot of their video.

    It seems that in “33 words” there will be no general idea, the leitmotif.

    N: It will, of course. If in the first almanac each designer and director had the task of telling what the most important thing happened in their opinion in the five-year plan issued to them on the example of one person, one date and one object, then in the new almanac it will be necessary to tell what modern design in Russia is. The film will have 33 different answers to this question.

    Do you not think that 33 equally important storytellers for one film are too much and, whatever they tell, the story will merge into an inaudible noise?

    N: It does not seem to us that 33 is a lot. There were 21 storytellers in the last film, counting the final words of Dima Barbanel. Each had five minutes, and “100 Years of Design” lasted 104 minutes. And in the new film, everyone will have two minutes: we want to make the film shorter and visually more saturated. The stuffing from meanings and pictures does not bother me, in my opinion, there are more chances for the viewer to catch their own feeling of Russianness. There can be no one answer to this question.

    Who will say “33 words about design”

    Artemy Lebedev
    Yuri Gordon, Letterhead
    Valery Golyzhenkov, Letterhead
    Denis Bashev, Dilettant
    Maxi Shilov, Adept
    Tim Black, Rage
    Stas Aki, Readymag
    Ivan Vasin, Shuka design
    Sasha Ermolenko, Rambler & co
    Max Orlov, Ony Oleg Pashchenko, ShD NIU VSh

    Ilya Ruderman, Type. today
    Svyat Vishnyakov, Ony
    Egor Zhgun, Lebedev Studio
    Just be nice
    Aleksey Ivanovsky, wndr
    Esh Gruppa Shrift
    Publishing House
    Anton Schneider, Ksenia Schnaider
    Evgeny Kazantsev
    Nikita Melnikov, Transformer
    Pokras Lampas
    Andrey Zubrilov
    Sasha Zagorsky, BBDO Branding
    Kostya Gorsky, Intercom
    Sergey Kulinkovich, Lebedev Studio
    Yuri Vetrov, Mail.ru
    Sergey Surganov, Notion
    Denis Lapshinov, Slava
    Dmitry Karpov
    Erken Kagarov
    Zhdan Filippov, Pinterest
    Groza Design

    What was (and will) be for the producer to work with so many designers on the film? They are not professional directors and actors, but at the same time they have some kind of their own vision.

    N: The process is not simple, but very interesting, in fact, Olya and I have been organizing the creative work of a large number of people for a very long time, so for us this is just another project in terms of time, but a completely new project in terms of the birth of a new entity - the movie.

    A: Fun and nervous. All participants are very talented, it was interesting to watch and help them find their voice and visual language.

    Tell us about the most stressful period of work on “100 years of design”. What mistakes will you not make while working on a new film?

    H:It was easy, fun and interesting to invent, remove and mount. I want to say that now we will try very hard to make sure that the shooting does not take place at the last moment, but for 15 years of working with designers it was rarely surprising.

    A: There were a couple of technical errors related to the rental certificate and translation into English that we definitely won’t make anymore.

    In “100 Years of Design”, designers talk about things and phenomena that are significant for themselves within the framework of the chosen five-year plan. Besides the obvious difference that the first film was about world design, and the new one was about design in Russia, what will form the basis of the concept of the new film?

    ABOUT:The film is based on research. If in “100 years of design” we relied on certain time periods, then here everyone will go to find the answer to the questions: is there a design in Russia? What is he like? With all the ensuing thoughts and stories.

    T: This film is not about design, but about designers. We want to understand who we are and what we do, and how to describe it. When we talk about defining ourselves, we cannot talk about objects. Objects are the result of some ideas and ideas. And the carriers of these ideas are people. To come to an understanding, it makes sense to start with the question "who we are and what drives us."

    H:In the era of globalization, we will understand what defines us and where we are moving. Like the first film, it is a social project of our school. What was the result of the first film is difficult to measure, but many watched it. Of course, everyone involved in the design heard about it, and there were no indifferents. There is already interest in the new film , and a large number of people will definitely watch it. Each designer will find the answer for himself what is modern Russian design in Russia. Probably both of these films work for our reputation (or against it), but for us the meanings that are created in the process and change the industry for the better are definitely more important.

    Since the new film is about design in Russia, then you obviously distinguish our local design from the foreign one. So, what distinguishes Russian design from, for example, American or Swiss?

    N: Other countries have a different language, mentality, history, economics, aesthetic and ethical traditions. And we will see what traditions we have and what we want to carry into the world and into the future in the fall.

    The design in Russia is different, and there cannot be one answer here. But the fact that something distinguishes us from others is for sure. This is the language, and cultural codes, mentality, territory, history. Now we want to bring it all to the surface and give the viewer the opportunity to choose from this what he wants to carry in the future.

    T:It’s hard for me to speak for everyone, I see the difference, but I can’t say what it is. Could - would not make a film.

    But what if there is no Russian design? What if modern designers grew up, peeping at the work of Europeans and growing up with the thought that "they have cool, but we do not." And they studied, wanting to do as cool as somewhere. To the metro like in Barcelona, ​​apartments like in Sweden, signs like in Lisbon, cars like in America. If you saw such subtext, would you dare to accept it and pass it through the film?

    N: This is also a point of view that we will not cut out if one of the participants we have chosen wants to say this.

    But in general, should design in the current global world be national?

    N: Design is not about nationality. It is about convenience, values, aesthetics and meanings. But it’s better to enter globalization, understanding who you are. If you give up your culture and history, then consciously. In our opinion, of course, we must not refuse, but take the best and bring it to the world.

    33 words - 33 designers. 33 letters in the Russian alphabet. What is it like to choose 33 designers to participate in the film, and not to choose all the rest?

    N: This is complicated. And, of course, this is a subjective choice. Not everyone we wanted was able to attract, although almost everyone we called for in the project agreed. These are all amazing designers that will be very interesting to work with, the ideas that they already send promise that the film will be cooler than the first.

    T:There are not so many interesting people who can express their attitude and have their own attitude. We are more likely to be in short supply. I barely got the right amount.

    Now you are collecting two million rubles for a new film - will this be enough for everything conceived? What would be the perfect amount for a perfect movie of that name?

    A: There is no limit, you can think up a budget ten times more, rather this is the amount by which we can give participants the opportunity to visually reinforce their thoughts on the topic of design in Russia in a quality format.

    H:We thought that if 2,000 people supported the film (and only at the premiere of the last film there were 1,500 spectators), it would be great to support us, and we will invest the rest of the money ourselves. Two to three million per film - a small amount, of course, this is only the work of cameramen, musicians, sound engineers, rental equipment.

    For us, the meanings are much more important than the visual side, this is not a blockbuster, this is a film that, we believe, will affect the design industry in Russia. He, like our first film, popularizes design in Russia and will be interesting to all Russians. It is not about what kind of design we are doing, but about what “Russianness” is, what it should be in the opinion of contemporaries. We do not want to delay the production process and make the perfect picture, it is more important for us to find and convey the meanings. The idea is better than expensive production.

    Why are you making these films at all? Who and what do you want to say? And why is it important to say, and not keep silent?

    A: We never keep silent, we need more than anyone, and the question “what is modern design in Russia” has long been hanging.

    T: Silence is evil, the word is good. Understanding takes place only through naming. That which is not named is not understood and is not introduced into the culture.

    N: We like to think that we are helping to shape a thinking design community and popularize good design. We make knowledge accessible by making films, courses, recording conversations with designers. We want to raise the general visual level, and make the profession more meaningful. We invest in content, not advertising, and it seems that our audience, which is constantly growing, appreciates it.

    When and where can I watch a new movie?

    A: In the fall of 2019, there will be rental in cinemas in Moscow and in ten large cities. Send to festivals to tell the whole world about Russian designers.

    It is important for you, what rating did “100 years of design” receive (6.9 on Kinopoisk) and will a new picture get?

    A: Who cares about ratings? We definitely don’t, after a sold-out and a six-month tour of the film, everything is clear.

    T: Do not care, this is not a commercial project.

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