12.12.18: I’m Empty!

Day 4 of shooting and things are slowly ramping up for SWS: St P!

Ladojskaya Metro is our rendezvous point with Anna and Juliana. Anna films at a few spots around the station and then, as we’re leaving, shows us a favorite viewpoint. Since there’s a bit of footage left, I invite her to shoot a bit more… “Oh no,” she exclaims, “I’m empty!” Meaning all her creative energy was spent in the most beautiful way. We laugh. These kids REALLY love Super 8! Outside the station we grab a cab and speed off to a little patch of forest hugging a nearby industrial zone. The driver–young, serious-faced and wearing a black turtleneck–wants to know what we’re up to. Making a film… Anna and Juliana explain. “Art House?” asks the driver. We laugh. “Aesthetical, not social,” Anna and Juliana affirm. The driver nods. “Aesthetical is better. Beautiful.” Juliana films Anna in the forest. It is indeed beautiful.

On the way to Cynthia’s, we stop at a little bakery to pick up some sweet treats. The cashier jumps up and down when we guess the total cost. Another clerk asks us if we want a “glove” for our pastry box.  Too cute! “Be nice to the person behind the counter; it’s a reflection of who you are!”

Cynthia is not a student at the Saint Petersburg New Cinema School but she is a fabulous filmmaker, a Fullbright fellow and former Back Apartment Resident currently living in Saint Petersburg. Over a wonderful lunch of mung bean stew, dill pickles and aforementioned sweet treats with coffee, we realized she’s also a kindred spirit… I have a feeling we have many more inspiring encounters in store!

What could be better than a ceramics workshop for the last stop of the day? We meet Nastya, Nikita and Amet at Biskuit, where we immediately dig the homey vibe, the groovy glazes, the woman working on ceramic bananas and the table with tea and cookies in the corner. We soak up the ambiance while the terrific trio get to work. I start obsessing on how we can work a pottery class into our remaining time here… As if to taunt me, the ice on the Neva has turned itself into the glaze on a Janaki Larsen bowl!

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