Masha Novikova and Glorious Revolution

London Film School graduate Masha Novikova has been awarded joint third prize at La Cinef 2022 for her short film, Glorious Revolution. Set in 2014 at the height of the Ukrainian revolution, the film depicts a mother’s loss, as her son is killed while protesting in Independence Square. Her attempt to bury him as a hero clashes with the corruption in the bureaucratic system, testing her view of Ukraine. We spoke to Masha to find out more about her film and her experiences of studying at London Film School.

Could you explain the story behind Glorious Revolution?

We’ve had lots of revolutions in Ukraine, but they haven’t changed people’s lives for the better. I participated in two. During the Revolution of Dignity 2014, I heard a story about Serhiy Bondarev, who was killed on the first day of protests, and of his mother who struggled to bury him, faced with red tape everywhere. This story touched me because I could have been in Serhiy’s place.

How have your experiences of the 2014 Revolution inspired the film and impacted on you’re the stories you want to tell?

The Revolution of Dignity greatly influenced the self-consciousness of people, including me, it showed the possibility and the way of fight. This idea is embodied in my film through the character of a mother who has lost everything, her son, shelter, and income, but she continues her fight. It is stubborn and strong, it is the prototype of modern Ukraine, I feel it in myself because I am also waging my own personal struggle.

What’s the reception been like to the film and how has the festival circuit gone?

While there have been no festival screenings yet, I showed the film to my parents, and my grandmother who cried at watching it. 

Current events have brought the struggles in Ukraine to light once more although Glorious Revolution was made before the current conflict. Do you think that affected how it was received, and people are more aware of how difficult life in Ukraine must be?

In 2014, people fought the same forces inside Ukraine with which they are now waging war from outside. Only then it was a war with Russian agents inside the country, and now it is an attack directly by Russia itself. Undoubtedly, against the backdrop of current events, the understanding of the situation in Ukraine has become more understandable for people around the world. The plot of the film has become closer and clearer to the audience. 

Your background has obviously had a lot of influence on the kind of stories you want to tell, but did you find that the people you met at LFS also had an impact on how you tell them?

I am very grateful to my teachers Richard Kwietniowski and Rafael Kapelinski from whom I learned a lot. Communication with people at the LFS of different nationalities led me to the understanding that the stories I tell should be universally understandable to most people in the world.

Did you work with other LFS students on Glorious Revolution, and how and when was completed?

The film was completely shot by LFS graduates and students with the great support of the Ukrainian crew. The postproduction of the film was completed in July 2021. The film was shot in Kyiv and around Kyiv.

What led you to study at LFS and what was your background before you ended up at London Film School?

It was my personal insane desire to direct. My dad told me to go to the west, but he didn't specify where. So, following my father's behest, I came to Munich and studied fine arts at the Academy of Fine Arts. My teacher Karin Kneffel recommended me to try video art, I tried it, but then it became not enough, I decided to make films and in parallel go further to the west, as my father said.

What’s the most important thing you learnt at LFS?

To fight. LFS taught me what my film is about, struggle.

What advice would you give to someone who’s been accepted to LFS, to help them make the most of their time here?

I would advise them to appreciate every minute and use every opportunity to improve in their profession.

What’s next, do you have any more projects lined up?

I had the honour to develop my upcoming short film “Maria’s Lovers” with Hungarian director, Ildikó Enyedi, who has given me a great deal of advice and guidance. The film is going to be an autobiographical tragicomedy.


Image taken from Glorious Revolution