90 ' | drama, mystery | Russia | 2023
Budget: 480 000 €
Scriptwriter and Director: Inga Shepeleva
Producer: Yanna Buryak, Zhan Prosyanov
Co-producers: Stepan Burnashev, Dmitry Davydov
Production Companies: Mimesis, Otkritie, Saidam Baryl
The love story of Marta, a Yakut choir director and Oleg, a Russian headmaster, unfolds after Perestroika, in the era following the fall of the Soviet regime. She battles to protect her timeless connection to a haunting melody in the face of a changing world. As traditions clash and modernization looms, Marta manifests the power of resistance, the embrace of identity, and the profound impact of music on the human soul.
It is interesting that there are several Soviet films and stories with this title, and in them the white ship is a colonial symbol. On it, the Russians sail to godforsaken lands to "save" the natives and take them to a newland — to a new life. In this film, the white ship is an inverted symbol. It expresses the subjective history of every person, regardless of their origin. It is one’s right to their own history and experience.
I am very glad that the cinematographer Veronika Solovyova worked with me on this film, who was also born and grew up in Yakutia, like me. I believe that together we were able to create an organic and subtle story that allows you to dive as deeply as possible into the heart of the Yakut land and its people. We were equally lucky to work with Vlada Milovskaya, she is a specialist in coaching actors. Thanks to her unique technique, it was possible to work with non-professional actors, real teachers, ordinary children, minimizing their stress and immersing ourselves into their world for real.
The title of the film refers us to a popular Soviet hit from the 70s. For the main character, Marta, this song becomes a symbol of her past. She endows a simple composition with mystical meaning. The White Ship is a song of the past, an iceberg. In fact, this song is a symbol of the Yakut people, and not at all the “authentic” compositions that the director brings to her in return.
Inga Shepeleva was born and raised in an academic town near Yakutsk, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in a family of scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying permafrost.
In 2004 she entered The Maxim Gorky Literature Institute and graduated in 2009 with a diploma in Professional Writing. After graduating, she wrote prose and poetry, and published in various online publications, as well as the printed magazine 12Extremes and a collection of women's prose by No Kidding Press.
She engaged in collaborations with various musicians and musical groups and participated in musical and poetry festivals in Russia and Europe: Strukturnostj (Moscow), Pushkin Laboratories (Saint-Petersburg), Totaldobže Karostas ūdenstornī (Latvia).
In prose and poetry, she draws her biggest inspiration from the mythology, culture, and language of the Yakut people.
In 2017, she produced her first cycle of videos based on her poetry work called Hebeerin, dedicated to Yakut mythology. The video art cycle received awards and nominations at Russian and European video poetry and experimental film festivals, such as the video poetry festival Fifth Leg (Saint-Petersburg), The International Video Poetry Festival (Athens) and International Experimental Film Festival Zebra (Berlin).
She wrote and directed music videos for famous Russian performers Shortparis and Naadia. In 2019 she was admitted onto the Directing Faculty of the Moscow School of Cinema (a course led by Alexei Popogrebski and Pavel Bardin). The White Ship is her full-length debut.
The news of Inga Shepeleva's victory at the All Russian Debutante Pitching Competition in Yakutia, followed by the project receiving the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture made headlines in key professional publications, and garnered interest among Russia’s entire cinematic community. The key to a successful realisation of the project lies in our collaboration with Yakut filmmakers and the local industry of the Republic of Sakha. Our partners in Yakutia are Stepan Burnashev (Saidam Baryl) and Dmitry Davydov. Filming took place in May 2022 and January 2023.
Now, more than ever, the Russian audience needs to be reminded that our multinational country has always been rich in complex history and various cultures that inhabited this land, since the collapse of the USSR, have been trying not to lose their identity and get along with each other in a new reality. We all need sensitivity, mutual understanding, respect. The process within our team was built on the basis of full trust and an acknowledgment of the importance of every participant, without any of whom the project would simply not have taken place. Furthermore, we hope that our film will once again secure the title of main cinematographic hub in Russia for Yakutia.
We have already received confirmation of interest in the project from KARO.Art distribution and aim to implement the project at the highest level, as a result of which the film will be able to get a wide release and claim financial success. Currently, we are organizing our co-production and looking for in kind contributions from colleagues in Asia and Europe.
The White Ship is the first carbon-neutral film in Russia. For our country, the approach to organizing film production according to the principles of sustainable development is a completely new and uncharted territory. The first step to reduce the project's carbon footprint was to work with a local film crew. The production of this particular film was not our only task, one of our main goals was to prepare an infrastructure for environmentally friendly cinema in Yakutia.
As part of our expedition, we forged links between Yakut filmmakers, environmentalists and entrepreneurs. Since January 2022, our team of eco-supervisors has been personally involved in discussions on the script and film production, advising each department of the production team. We have adopted all available initiatives that can be found in foreign guides on the organisation of sustainable film production and successfully put them into practice taking into account Russian realities.
founder of Sister Mary, eco-supervisor
Phone number: +7 916 523 4451
Teacher of Solo and choral folk singing
at Yakutsk College of Music.
Theater and screen actor
Theater and screen actor. Since 2009 works at Theatre Of Generations. Since 2010 works at the theater Lusores. Since 2012 works at the theater On Liteiny. Since 2013 works at the theater AXE and Teatro Di Capua.
Director of Photography
Director of Photography. Known for her work on the film Deep Sleep by Maria Ignatenko (official selection at Berlinale 2020) and “Bebia, à mon seul désir” by Zsuzsa Dobrashkus (main program of the Rotterdam Film Festival 2021).
Author of more than 150 works, improviser, poet, teacher and performer. He has collaborated with the Platforma project, the Nizhny Novgorod branch of
the NCCI, the 840 concert series (London), the Stanislav- sky Electric Theater and others. Lecturer and lecturer- consultant at the Boris Yukhananov Individual Directing Workshop. Composer in Residence at the Hellerau (Dresden, 2020). Nominee for the Golden Mask Award 2019.
Acting Coach. Acting teacher at the St. Petersburg School of New Cinema. Nominee for the national Golden Mask award. Known for her work on the short film Calendar by Igor Poplauhin (laureate of Cinéfon- dation competitionat the Cannes Film Festival 2018).
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