#BonfireStories — Introducing Filmmaker and writer Anton Sazonov

Our Campfire
4 min readMay 11, 2020
Anton Sazonov | Photo Credit: Jelena Iljushenok.

Q: When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?

Mostly it’s the life around me that inspires me. Also, the way people behave.

Q: Anton, playing three integral roles: pre-production(writing), production (directing) and post production with editing? Did the final edit of your film match what was written in the final draft of the script? and how did you effectively play these three roles?

In fact there are four main roles — I also was one of the producers of the film. But it’s hard to separate yourself from other processes, for example, creating a press release or a film poster. In independent cinema you participate in all processes of film creation. For me it’s not a matter of control, but the essence of creativity and an auteurs cinema.

The film after editing is only slightly different from the final script. All the images are retained at its maximum. Although the editor and I abandoned some of the scenes eventually, so that we could keep up the desired rhythm for the story. We also shortened the line with the main character’s father a little.

Q: Leave of Absence just debuted at the Locarno Film Festival and won Best director. How important is this to you personally, and to your career?

For me it was an absolute surprise. The participation itself in festivals like Locarno or Sundance is already a victory. And you don’t think of any additional rewards. But when you receive an award, it’s luck, it gives an advantage in the development of the future films. A reward kinda helps something new to be born.

Q: What hidden part of the film are you most privately proud of and why?

To tell the whole story with a limited number of expressive visual images and with a minimum dialogs — that was my main goal, and it seems to me that I managed to get close to this.

Q: In your point of view, how did the title “Leave of Absence” perfectly depict the storyline of the film and how did that title come about?

In other words, Leave of Absence is Vacation. But it was important for me to have the word Leave. The themes of leave and farewell are important in the…

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