Masha Novikova, La Cinef 2022 joint 3rd prize © Maxence Parey / FDC

Meet Masha Novikova, La Cinef 2022 joint third prize winner

In a year marked by war erupting between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian director Masha Novikova draws us back to the first stirrings of the conflict with her 2022 short Glorious Revolution. Made in her final year of studies at the London Film School, the film tackles the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, and won joint third prize at La Cinef at the 75th edition of the Festival de Cannes. Masha reflects on her time in Cannes in a moving, humorous account.  

How did you react when you won your award at the Festival de Cannes? 

I met with my crew just before the award ceremony and told them: “Look, we have already won because we are here.” I kept on repeating this mantra that we had already won, and when we actually did win an award, I was absolutely unprepared, I was preparing myself for something else. I was shocked, I was horrified, I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I didn’t know what to say and I had to give a performance. Yes, it turned out I prepared everyone except myself.   


What has your award brought you? / What did it change for you?  

The award made me understand that this is not the final step, this is just a step to the next step and to the next step and apparently to the many other steps. It’s a great form of support for me on the way to further development. 


What are your best memories of Cannes?  

I don’t know if it’s the best memory, but it’s definitely the most memorable one. When I found out that the film was selected, my father came to me and said that he had a job there restoring garden furniture for one of his clients. I thought “well, amazing, Papa will come, that will be a great support for me, and also the apartment is not far from the Palais des Festivals, just a street away from the Croisette”. I thought “okay, I can change there, this is nice, all amazing”.   

You know, I will never forget that morning. I was walking back from the screening, all dressed up in this black suit, I was approaching this apartment and heard the sound of some machine. I thought “I have to tell my father he has to be a little bit quieter otherwise the neighbours will complain”. And then I pressed the intercom waiting for his response, of course he didn’t respond because it was too loud. Suddenly I looked closer at this intercom, I saw it was covered with redwood dust from the sanding machine! I looked around and the whole area was covered with red dust.  

I remember panicking that the police would come. Okay: what to do? I thought about dressing my father as a French worker and giving him a leaf-blowing machine to blow off all this dust. And then I thought: Saharan dust. We already had that once in Munich, a meteorological phenomenon. We could say it’s Saharan dust, and if they ask us why only in this particular area, we could say it’s a meteorological phenomenon, what can I do? You never know when it hits you. But it all ended up fine. My father relaxed, had a great holiday and earned some money.  


Do you have new projects? 

I’m working on a very personal project which is called Parodies, not paradise – Parodies. It’s a romantic comedy. The theme of the film is how our desires distort our perception of reality, leaving us feeling betrayed. And it will have a bit of drama, comedy, romance, a bit of this and that. It will be told in an ironic and absurd manner, with a love story at its heart. So, wait and see.  


The video interview:


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