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Meet the 2014 Tribeca Filmmakers #32: Ilmar Raag Discovers the Russian Reality with ‘I Won’t Come Back’

Meet the 2014 Tribeca Filmmakers #32: Ilmar Raag Discovers the Russian Reality with 'I Won't Come Back'

Estonian filmmaker Ilmar Raag comes to Tribeca with “I Won’t Come Back,” a drama about a woman on the run. Known for “Love is Blind” and “A Lady in Paris,” Raag returns to Russia to create a work he promises is “something that would get your heart beating.” 

Tell us about yourself? I probably did too many things before starting to make movies. I studied history, film economy, television in Estonia, in France and in the States. I worked as journalist and as television executive. It all took almost too long before I decided to do only things that I want to do. So, in a way, I started my life only in 2007 with the film “The Class”. 5 years later I managed to release my second film “A Lady in Paris”, shot in France with Jeanne Moreau. And only then I was ready for real adventures.

Biggest challenge coming into the project? 

I was arrogant enough to believe that I had to write all the scripts myself. Then suddenly I was sent this script from Russia. It was based on a play and I felt the signs of theatre in the text. I knew that Russian was the third foreign language for me, and also I had not been in Russia for almost 10 years before this invitation. However, there was this something that would get your heart beating. I have this conviction that you should make the movie only if you know the subject. Therefore my first challenge was to discover the Russian reality. While doing casting and then scouting for locations, we visited real orphenages, talked to the people. In the end, I felt that I had discovered much more than just background for a film.

Did you crowdfund? We had a miracle private investor in Russia. And then we shopped for different kinds of public funding in Estonia, Finland, Kazahstan, Belorussia. It sounds almost like a crowdfunding, doesn’t it.

What films have inspired you? Very difficult question. First eye opener was “Fanny and Alexander” of Ingmar Bergman, but then I could name everything between “The Celebration”of Thomas Vinterberg and “Spirited Away” of Hayao Miyazaki.

What camera did you shoot on? Arri Alexa 

Did you go to film school? Well, not really. Although I did theoretical film studies in Paris, but that seems like it doesn’t count.

What do you have in the works? My heart.

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about
their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and
what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up
to the 2014 festival. Go HERE to read all the entries.

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