For Sasha Lebedeva ’21 (Screenwriting) the sudden lockdown in response to Covid-19 became a crash course in independent filmmaking–party of one. But what started as an assignment for her Directing for Screenwriters class has turned into a short film that will premiere on NoBudge, one of the leading online platforms for independent film. Lebedeva’s short, STAY AT HOME movie, will premiere Monday, May 18 at 1 pm.
“Shooting the movie myself without the traditional crew was a unique experience,” says Sasha. “I was able to skip the daunting process of communicating my crazy idea to others and go straight into making.” The screenwriting junior wrote, directed, served as the DP, edited, color graded, and starred in the film. “I could try bold things because there was no one to judge me. This approach saves time and self-esteem since it can never be lowered by others on set but I also had to learn a lot of new skills quickly for the project to live up to my standards.”
Taking a film project from development all the way through post-production is a meticulous process that often involves careful planning and collaboration. Needless to say, Sasha, like many SFTV students, had to use every filmmaker tool she had in her arsenal to continue to create work under such constraints. “As fun as it was, the DIY filmmaking approach comes with limitations,” she explained. “I couldn’t really move in the frame because there was nobody to adjust focus, camera movements were off-limits, etc. I definitely want to work with other people next time. I especially crave collaborating with good actors, so I can resign to only being behind the lens.”
The good news? “I am now more confident as a director,” Sasha told us. “I also proved that I can do almost every set job on a decent level and it is comforting to have this knowledge.”