Festivals - Fantastic Fest : The execution – Let’s talk with Lado Kvataniya

By Mulder, Zoom Virtual Event, 25 september 2021

“When preparing to make my debut as a feature film director, it took me quite a while to figure out what my message would be. Every now and then, I got invited to work on feature films, but when I read the scripts, I realized that I did not see how I could fit in. However, I wasn't up to shooting just for the sake of it, doing music videos or short films just to find a creative escape. But at some point, without even noticing it, I realized that I'd like to immerse myself in genre cinema. I was born in 1987, so my childhood was the golden era of genre cinema in Hollywood. And then I became interested in Asian thrillers. I was curious to try to understand what evil can look like, what and how forms the personality of someone who is capable of committing monstrous atrocities. This is how I came up with the idea, namely, the conflict of a conformist and an idealist within a team that is to catch a serial killer.

It took me about a year to work alone on character descriptions and to think through their biographies and personalities. Then I tried to turn it into a full-fledged script. I realized that I needed a real co-author who would help me develop this story. I reached out to Olga Gorodetskaya, who was quite constructive and very clear in her analysis of my work, pointing out what was objectively good and objectively negative about it. And then we began to discuss how it could be improved and finalized.

We began to dive even deeper into the material, having gone as far as the late 1950s. We interviewed detectives, police officers, psychiatrists, and criminologists who had worked at that time. We studied the cases of various serial killers, we read books and watched documentaries. We needed, so to say, to have our brains soaked in that era, in those people, in order to gradually shape our story and our characters. In fact, it was very difficult psychologically, because the deeper you study these "characters", the more clearly you understand that this is an endless pathology of rather primitive, narrow-minded, cruel people. But I had to disengage myself from my personal views about it being immoral and inhumane. I had to pretend to be a psychiatrist in order to analyze the cause-and-effect links.

That's how our story began to take shape, how we came up with the solutions, how the main themes emerged and the concept was manifested, which consisted in the viewer himself acting as an investigator. We just loved this jigsaw puzzle principle, when our narrative was not linear and gave us the opportunity to make the viewer our accomplice, having them constantly guessing who is the antagonist, having them constantly in this analytical process and be one more detective who is investigating the case. That's how we can start a dialogue with the audience. “ - Lado Kvataniya

After directed some short movies as Scum (2011), Weeknd: False Alarm (2016), Pervyy (2017), the Lado Kvataniya ‘s first long feature is The Execution. We had the opportunity to discover this is during the Fantastic Fest and to interview him. 

Our questions were the following : 
- After directed some short movies as Scum (2011), Weeknd: False Alarm (2016), Pervyy (2017),  The execution is your first movie. Please can you talk a little about the origins of this one ?
- What should be for you a good acting direction? What can you tell us about you work with Niko Tavadze, Daniil Spivakovskiy, Yuliya Snigir ?
- This movie seems to have a political message about the evolution of your country, can you talk a little about that ?
- Which researches have you done in order to write and direct this movie ?

Lado Kvataniya was born on 22 June, 1987. Originally Lado has a theater education. During the study he participated in production and also staged plays by himself. As a student he became acquainted with the works of Fellini and Tarkovsky and it was the time when he finally realized what he wanted to do. Therefore he started shooting short films by his own scripts. He also graduated from the intensive screenplay by John Truby and the scenic course of Paul Brown. Lado is constantly engaged in self-development, shooting short films and music videos. Lado is a storyteller by nature, he likes the way the narrative exposition. He is interested in language of metaphors and images, therefore creating a music video he seeks to maximize cinematographic. He likes not ordinary fantasy worlds in the spirit of science fiction along with realism. His vision is a pre-planned and rehearsed filigree accuracy, precision. He is committed to the ideal of both the content and the form. First of all, he always tries to write by himself, as he finds it interesting to embody what you have written from a scratch. Collaborated with such brands as Reebok, Adidas, PayPal, Google, Visa, Yandex and others. His works for the has participated in more than 20 festivals around the world and won awards such as Young Director Award in Cannes. In Russia currently collaborating an exclusive basis with one of leading production company Hype Production.

For years, Russian police forces have been trying to catch the country's most intelligent and wanted serial killer. But even when he is caught, no one can prove his guilt. As the manhunt intensifies, the investigation becomes increasingly personal between the detective and the suspect. The Execution is based on the real-life case of a murderer who, in the midst of the Soviet era, managed to evade the police for a decade.

The Execution
Directed by Lado Kvataniya
Produced by Murad Osmann Ilya Stewart Pavel Burya
Written by Lado Kvataniya, Olga Gorodetskaya 
Starring Niko Tavadze, Daniil Spivakovskiy, Yuliya Snigir, Evgeniy Tkachuk, Aglaya Tarasova, Viktoriya Tolstoganova, Olga Lapshina
Cinematography : Denis Firstov
Edited by Vladislav Yakunin
Production companies: Hype Film, Kinoprime Foundation, Cinema Fund
Release date : September 23, 2021 (Fantastic Fest)
Running time : 130 minutes