Earth is a psychological thriller / magic-realist piece that explores grief and guilt connected with wartime atrocities.
A loner paparazzi photographer, led on by a mysterious woman, unearths the dark secrets of his ancestors, secrets that refuse to remain buried.
A loner paparazzi photographer, lives in a classy apartment in the heart of a metropolis. When his estranged father dies unexpectedly, a mysterious and irresistible woman appears in his life, leading him to uncover the terrible secrets of his ancestors.
George works as a paparazzi photographer who earns big money freelancing for a News firm. A confirmed bachelor, he lives alone in a classy apartment in a large metropolis. When his estranged father Ivan dies suddenly, George finds he is the sole heir to his fathers old flat in a ghetto suburb. George discovers Ivan had dark secrets kept since his youth during the second world war. A new photographer appears on the scene and competes for Georges jobs; Eva, young, dark, mysterious. She tries to befriend George but he is suspicious of her. As he digs deeper into his fathers past he looses his grip on reality and on Eva. With Eva’s help he faces his responsibility towards himself and his ancestors.
Earth is a psychological thriller and magic realist short. It is my first attempt at writing and directing a genre film. The story takes its point of exploration as the effects of war trauma on successive generations. It charts the psychological journey of a man, who under the strain of grief, social isolation and estrangement from family and ethnicity, finds a path to emotional growth and spiritual insight.
The narrative was inspired by a story orally passed down in my family, the full truth of which has never been verified as the tellers passed away before I was old enough to research it in depth, though it has always haunted me.
As a first generation Australian with a Polish mother and Ukrainian father, in this movie I reflect my experience of isolation from stories, culture and relatives, brought about by generational divides, war trauma, and post war displacement to a land far from homelands, though still possessing an instinctive spiritual connection with my ancestors. To convey this cinematically, I aimed to allow visual language to drive the movie as much as, if not more so, than dramatic action and character, and to paint in broad cinematic strokes that leave ‘facts’ veiled in mystery.
Though the movie refers to war crimes and atrocities enacted during the Second World War in Eastern Europe in the 1940s, the exact ethnicity and nations involved are not clarified, to further reflect a theme of truth lost and the diversity of suffering of that time. The use of ‘ghost’ and magical realism were used to materialize the voice of unspoken stories that die with their carriers, but have the power to resurface, refusing to remain buried, to be unheard.
Historical atrocities of the period were researched, such as those at the Babi Yar ravine, Katyn and the 1943 massacres of Poles in Volhynia carried out in Nazi German-occupied Poland. The production and distribution of photos from these events was also studied.
The script looks to cinema that represents the psychological breakdown of one character and the use of imaginary characters. Key reference are The Tenant, The Shining, The Machinist, and Fight Club. For subject matter, Come and See and The Music Box. And for cinematic treatment of the supernatural, Don’t Look Now. Though the story has horror present it is not intended to be a horror movie.
This is the third movie where I have explored the embedding of horror and ghost story within a romance or love affair, where good and evil characters are not polarized.
This film in its long form is also an exportation of the modern pre-occupation with the photographic image, and how its sacredness and importance can be abused in a world saturated with image making.
Tristan Barr, Mary-Helen Sassman, John Flaus, Jim Daly, Bagryana Popov, Sarah Pass, Romi Trower, Sahil Saluja, Daniel Cajkusic.
Tatiana Doroshenko: Director
Darrell Martin: Cinematographer
Sarah Pass: Line Producer
Dorian Lazar: Production Designer
Jem Downing: Art Director, Cecilia Rossiter: Continuity, Vanessa Cox: AC, Ben Starr:AC, Tiffany Wong: 2nd AC, Daniella Raniti: Unit/Locations/AD, Emma Livesey: Catering, Katharine Shaw: Make-up and Hair, Joanne Smyth: Wardrobe, Lewis O’Brien: Sound: Llew higgins: Key Grip, Lewis Bock: Gaffer; Scenic Artist: Clive Jones, Construction Manager: Rob Mackenzie, Construction Assistant: Devon Starbuck, Art Assistants: Scarlett Cook & Alisha Redmond, Stunt co-ordinator/Safety supervisor:Chris Kemp, Safety supervisor/Stunt actor: Hayden Stewart,
Editor, Tatiana Doroshenko, Second Editor Stefan Markworth, Online editor, Andrew Connell,
Sound mixer, Peter Frost
Post production coordinator Gordon Lyon
Music score:Feverstone. Music Produced by John Phillips
Sound design:Calumari Audio (Calum Wakeling/Ariel Gross)
Supervising producer, Sandra Sciberras
VCA screen production coordinator Donna Hensler
Jonathan Burton / Sound Firm
Scott Zero and Jack Nolan / Chroma Media
“dark eyes” performed by Alexander Menshikov and Barynya New York City © Mikhail V Smirnov 2014
Greg Lloyd – Panavision, Cail Young – Inspiration rentals, Meredith Williams – Hilton hotel, Sound Firm, Kate Campbell, Gemma Unwin, John Jackman, John Smyth, Arts House, Emily Dalkin, Peter Ford, Heather Watsford, Department of Human Services, Loop bar, Renn Barker, Tim Bishop – Man with a Van, Duraan Reid School of Performing Arts – The Props Store, Prop-A-Ganda Props, Melbourne Theatre Company , Wayne Williams University of Melbourne Facilities department, Pierogi Pierogi