Georgy Gavrilov: Chronicle of Bridge Building

Режиссерский демо-ролик – Георгий Гаврилов

Georgy Gavrilov: Chronicle of Bridge Building

Georgy Gavrilov: Chronicle of Bridge Building

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Covid continues his deadly harvest. It is reported that at the age of 60, director, producer, teacher and clip maker Georgy Gavrilov died from coronavirus infection in Moscow.

To numerous friends and colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic, he was simply Hera. He will go down in the history of Russian-American cultural ties as the initiator and creator of the first joint game TV project “Permanent residence”, in which he shot the first pilot episode.

Confessional breakthrough

Georgy Gavrilov graduated from the acting department of the Higher Theater School in Saratov and the Riga Conservatory. His rise to the heights of professional fame began during his years of study in the studio of Alexander Zguridi at the production department of VGIK in the second half of the 80s. His diploma painting “Confession. Chronicle of Alienation “(1988) was warmly supported by Rolan Bykov, and the creative association” Youth “of the Mosfilm film company headed by Bykov took the film of the talented debutant and himself under its wing.

Georgy Gavrilov: Chronicle of Bridge Building

“Confession. Chronicle of Alienation ”is a kind of hybrid of fiction and documentary films. The sincere story of a young drug addict, revealing to the viewer the secrets of his restless soul, is projected onto the chronicle of the most important events and persons of the modern era. For the first time in Soviet cinema, a close-up of the subculture of asocial youth appeared on the screen, for which drugs, rock music and a demonstrative unwillingness to fit into the official system made up the meaning of life.

Georgy Gavrilov on the set. Courtesy photo.

The main character of the film, the grandson of one of the chiefs of the GULAG, seeks the salvation of his soul in drugs and mysticism. Shock footage Gavrilov filmed with a hidden camera in a psychiatric hospital.

If the scandalous film was made at least a few years earlier, the party leaders would undoubtedly have put it on the farthest shelf, and the director, most likely, would have been excommunicated from the profession. But already Gorbachev’s perestroika was already in full swing, the fresh winds of openness were sweeping away censorship bans and silences..

As an experimental film “not for everyone,” Gavrilov’s film was assigned a third category of little prestige. But the earth was full of rumors, and at least 1 million 700 thousand viewers came to the film screenings of “Confessions” without any advertising..

Abroad, the film was a great success at film festivals. Such a Soviet cinema has never been seen in the world. “Confession” was shown in San Francisco and Amiens, New York and Pesaro, San Jose and Paris, Portland and Mannheim. The film won several festival awards.

Career milestones

When tens of thousands of Soviet people rushed through the perforated Iron Curtain in the 90s for the “American Dream”, among them were people of various professions, including cinematographers. But only a few of them succeeded in their profession in the USA, while the majority had to retrain.

Hera Gavrilov, who moved to the United States in the early 90s, surprisingly easily fit into the context of American show business. In a studio in Midtown Manhattan, equipped with the most advanced equipment, he has filmed dozens of music videos for such stars as Mariah Carey, Wi-Tang Clan, 50 Cent and DMX.

Even then, he realized that in the new conditions in America, a native of Russia is most likely to succeed by working in parallel for the Russian market that has opened up to the world. Therefore, to the American stars for whom he made clips, Russian ones were also added – Laima Vaikule, Dmitry Malikov, Igor Krutoy and others. He especially valued the joint clip of Irina Allegrova and Oleg Vidov, who, after a long break, first appeared before the Russian public in the image of a sedate gentleman..

Gavrilov has taught film directing seminars at the University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco. He worked for Mosfilm, Discovery, MTV, Pervy and NTV television channels, collaborated with NTV America, VGTRK, studios Sony, PolyGram (Russia), Universal Music (USA), headed the MTV office in New York.

Gavrilov shot films and television series “Circle”, “Spy Games”, “Game”, “Wolf”, “Agent”, “Petrovich”, “Kiss on the Head”, “Kid in Milk” and many others. Taught, conducted trainings and master classes at the Institute of Television and Radio Broadcasting (GITR), the First National School of Television, at the Moscow Institute of Television and Radio Broadcasting “Ostankino” (MITRO) and other educational institutions.

His films, TV programs and clips have received many prestigious awards at international and all-Russian festivals, including Grammy and TEFI.

Three women

Perhaps the most resonant project of Gavrilov in the United States was “Permanent Residence”, a film about those who came to permanent residence “under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty” in search of well-being and happiness for themselves and their children. The project involved 16 episodes for TV.

“Self-identification Brighton Beach” – this is how the author of these lines called his review of “permanent residence” in Izvestia in 2001.

With Elena Solovey. Courtesy photo.

In the pilot episode, the fates of three women of different generations of the same family were intertwined. Elena Solovey played the grandmother who came to Brighton Beach on a visit from Russia. Her daughter, a programmer looking for a life partner, was embodied by Marina Gayzidorskaya, and her granddaughter, an independent girl, Yana Levina. The old-fashioned grandmother is looked after by a chatty old dandy man performed by Boris Sichkin, the daughter falls into the clutches of a sadomasochist, and the granddaughter contacts an unlucky guy.

With Boris Sichkin. Courtesy photo.

In parallel with the women’s theme, a detective and criminal line is being promoted, where the tone is set by a mafia oligarch deputy from Moscow and local authorities and bandits. The budget was sorely lacking, the director explained, so the episodes involve the director’s and producers’ friends – a good half of the Russian crowd in New York. But the project did not progress beyond the pilot series: Gavrilov was unable to obtain funding either in America or in Russia..

The next fictional picture Gera shot together with the NTV channel. In the film “Illegal” from the television series “Spy Games” Igor Kostolevsky played an elusive FSB agent who outwitted American counterintelligence.

Learning that the Brighton Beach video pirates had already released The Illegal throughout Russian-speaking America, Gavrilov declared war on them, filing lawsuits against them, and also speaking at a press conference in Brooklyn at the Millennium Concert Hall. Coming to the fore, he addressed the audience with an appeal not to support the pirates with his labor dollar. The statement “Russian-speaking America against video piracy” was adopted. The lawsuit dragged on for a long time, but did not bring visible results.

Family secrets

“It’s impossible to believe … Hera failed. A lumpy man, unshakable, unbearable, not indifferent, always ready to help, – the son of Hera and the famous actress Margarita Terekhova, Alexander Terekhov, writes on his Facebook. – Vera’s (granddaughter’s) godfather, whom she adored, always called and waited, upon arrival she hung on him and did not want to let go. Hera saw in her the features of the one that he was crazy about forty years ago. “.

Gera said in an interview that he and Margarita Terekhova, who is much older than him, met at a screen test at the Riga Film Studio. He fell in love with her without memory and managed to win her heart. Soon little Sasha was born. This was not the only marriage of Margarita Terekhova. Alexander Terekhov notes that her relationship with the Hero was not easy and did not last long – “parted, quarreled to smithereens.”.

Together they were only three years old, as Hera said. Last year, in a telephone conversation with me, he said that his ex-wife is seriously ill, she has Alzheimer’s, and a nurse is on duty around the clock in the apartment..

“One of the most vivid childhood memories,” Alexander Terekhov writes further. – Hera is at our apartment, passing gifts through the open door – a car and a helicopter. Terrible Mama stands guard, not letting him on the threshold. And Hera has such a look … Now I understand that he looked at me with love. Nevertheless, Hera always spoke about Mom with a breath – the memory of that great feeling was preserved for the rest of his life and was stronger than offenses. “.

And with his son Sasha Gera resumed communication after many years.

“Both had character – they rubbed themselves in, argued, but were friends and made plans,” Alexander writes about his relationship with Hero. – He was full of ideas and confidently walked forward with a truly teenage energy. It seemed that everything was just beginning. It seemed that the mighty Hera would always be there. But the mighty Hera was cut down at the root. Suddenly … Hera loved us. Hera loved cinema. If you have not watched his first work “Confession: Chronicle of Alienation” – now is the time “.

  • Oleg Sulkin

    Journalist, film critic, correspondent for the Russian Service «Voices of America» in New York.


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