SPUTNIK bucks the genre tradition of ALIEN pastiche and delivers something fresh to the interplanetary monster-movie canon. With its massive scale and brutal carnage, this sci-fi gem signals the arrival of a major new voice: first-time Russian director Egor Abramenko.
SPUTNIK will open in select theaters, digital platforms, and cable VOD on August 14, 2020.
Hi Egor, thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. Sputnik is amazing. It’s so fascinating to me. The special effects, the shots, it’s creepy and sort of claustrophobic. Why did you decide to take on this project and direct Sputnik?
Egor- First, thank you so much for your feedback. I was always a huge fan of science-fiction and horror. When the time came, I decided that I need to make my first feature because, for the last ten years mostly, I’ve been busy with the advertising and music videos. I was pushing my craft in the short form. When I decided to do my first feature, I decided that it must be sci-fi/horror. It’s quite an unusual genre for the Russian film industry. We don’t have a lot of sci-fi movies, especially sci-fi/horror films. I was raised on such movies as, Alien and The Thing. I always liked those movies. I thought that it could be great to do something like that to explore the genre but to use a common setting for the Russian audience.
It’s a great film. The special effects are great. The alien/creature is awesome. How did you get the special effects team ready?
Egor- From the beginning we decided that we would go with a CGI alien. My initial desire was to combine practical effects with CGI but unfortunately it would never happen because in Russia, we don’t have a practical design department. We have these amazing guys; this amazing CGI studio and we were developing our creature for a long time. Then we were working with animators in post-production. It’s quite an unusual process in terms of creating his motions and we’ve been trying to creature how he moves through space, how he crawls. The animators were asking me questions like, “what does he want” and “what is his goal?” It was similar talking to the actors. That was quite an unusual process.
The cast does an amazing job. Everyone took the characters to the next level. What was it like directing the cast and working with them?
Egor- It was quite a long process finding our characters, especially the main character, Tatyana (Portrayed by Oksana Akinshina) because it’s an unusual and crucial character for this story. This character has depth and a lot of different emotional conditions. My idea was to find a one hundred percent match. When I saw Oksana’s test screen, I was amazed. When I met her, I realized there she is.
What do you want to say to the people who will be watching Sputnik?
Egor- I would say that for me as a director, the important thing was that the genre and the setting was just like a foreground. It’s the thing that is hidden behind the lines. It’s a theme, this meaning of the movie, I would say that this alien/creature it represents a physical threat. On the other hand, it represents his moral qualities, his dark half, which I believe every human has. That was quite important to me.
Are you working on any other projects that you can talk about?
Egor- I have quite a few projects in development. I hope that they will come up soon despite the quarantine and all the devastation that is happening in the world.
Did you face any challenges? It seems claustrophobic and dark and creepy.
Egor- The biggest challenge was to find specific locations. We’ve been trying to look at aesthetics and the architectural direction. It was quite hard to find such things, but we got lucky. We built a few sets and it was crucial for us to combine these images of the Soviet narrow corridors.
Egor, I think you did such a good job. This is Alien meets the new generation. The imagery, the cast, the writing. It’s amazing. Thank you.
IFC Midnight is proud to present Egor Abramenko’s stirring feature directorial debut SPUTNIK, a sci-fi thriller inspired by his acclaimed short THE PASSENGER which debuted at Fantastic Fest in 2017. Written by Oleg Malovichko and Andrei Zolotarev, SPUTNIK takes place at height of the Cold War when a Soviet spacecraft crash lands after a mission gone awry, leaving the commander as it’s only survivor. SPUTNIK was set to have its world premiere in the Midnight section at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, and IFC Midnight will release the film on August 14th, 2020.
SYNOPSIS — Russia, 1983. Amid Cold War tensions, a terrifying scene is discovered at the crash site of spacecraft Orbit-4 — its cosmonaut commander is dead, its flight engineer in a coma, and survivor Konstantin Sergeyevich (Pyotr Fyodorov – THE DARKEST HOUR) has no memory of the accident.
Psychologist Tatyana Klimova (Oksana Akinshina – LILYA 4-EVER) is brought to a secluded government facility to assess Konstantin under the vigilant watch of armed guards. In the process, she learns that Orbit-4 may have carried back an alien parasite that threatens to consume them all.