'Mama - Saint Sebastian' (27min)

Best Script at St. Anne's Film Festival (Russia)
Masters of Emotions at LUBLIN Film Festival (Poland)
Special Jury Prize at VKRATZE Film Festival
Best Actor at SOZVEZDYE (INTERSTELLAR) Film Festival.

Screened at over 25 film festivals around the world and eventually sold to Feel Sales (Madrid).

Mother is eighty, Seva - sixty. Thats' the whole family right there. Seva has nothing left - the purpose of his life is looking after his elderly mother. On top of all the chores, he keeps having migraines. Suddenly, mother dies. With liberation should come freedom but, alas, he goes to see a doctor who tells him that his mother had tried to get rid of him in his infancy by driving a needle into the fontanel, a soft spot at the top of the cranium. This unbearable truth turns his life upside-down. how to forgive? How to find humility and the strength to carry on?

I did not set out to make a film that would follow a generic short film format or one that would "wow" the audiences or break boundaries...I just wanted to have a conversation about the problems that are raised in the story and that so many people related to while we were working on it.

Looking back on it, I always go back to the silence that was in the room after I read the original story at Juja's (the writer) book launch. People were shocked. It struck me right there that I have to make a film...I'm happy to release it to the audience now...Hopefully, it'll strike a chord with them too.

On set of 'Mama - Saint Sebastian' in a flat in St. Petersburg

Co-writer and author of the original story Juja Dobrachkous
When I was writing this story, I was thinking a lot about how this particular skill we have as humans - the skill to forgive, the power of forgiveness. About sacrifice and enslavement, about the unbelievable connection of a son and a mother, and about difficulties of living without faith. It's up to the viewer to see what came through in the film. It was very hard work to bring it to life as is the topic we tried to tackle. I'm grateful to everyone who loves cinema as much as I do. Thank you.

Juja worked as an art director on films, acted in Ivan Duhovichniy's TV series "Money", drew paintings, then suddenly began writing and has never stopped since. Lived in Moscow, Paris, Los Angeles but has completely fallen in love with London after moving over. Her first book "Rubber Baby" was published in 2011. A few stories have been featured in snob.ru online literary issues.

Author's second book is due to come out in spring 2018.

The script of "Mama - St. Sebastian" claimed the top prize at the Debut Directors Pitching contest held as part of the Moscow International Film Festival in 2014. The project attracted industry professionals attention and gathered the much needed production support including producer Ilya Sherstobitov who saw it through.

I was drawn to this story by its strong matrix - I'm sure everyone has heard of a similar family...similar mother and son...that's why I was attracted to the story. At some point, while we were working on the film, I felt myself in our characters shoes. Now that the film is made, we embark on another long and beautiful journey, that will, hopefully, pull me out of this world...To simplify: "Alexander, I'm happy we've made the film, now onto the sea, wonderful France and la-dih- dah :-)

Producer Ilya Sherstobytov
Mama - Saint Sebastian

family drama, Russia, 2016
duration 27min

director Alexander Mercury
writers Juja Dobrachkous, Alexander Mercury
dop Artyom Tarasenkov ("Parallel lines cross in infinity")
art director Margarita Ablaeva ("Hardcore Henry", "Rodina")
cast Anatoliy Goryachev, Svetlana Kyreyeva, Sergey Yushkevich, Antonina Vvedenskaya
producers Ilya Sherstobytov, Arina Zmievets, Evgenia Ivanova, Natalia Yudina, Olga Kevorkova
production V Meste, NOS, Mercury FIlms

Awards: Best Script at St. Anne's Film Festival (Russia), Masters of Emotions at LUBLIN Film Festival (Poland)
Special Jury Prize at VKRATZE Film Festival, Best Actor at SOZVEZDYE (INTERSTELLAR) Film Festival.
Nominations: Best International Short at Winchester FF
Selections: London Short Film Festival, Asia International (Wenzhou) Youth Short-Film Exhibition, Koroche, ArtKino, International Student and Video Festival of Beijing Film Academy, KONIK, Salón Internacional de la Luz,
Sozvezdie (Alliance) Film Festival.

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