MAKING OF “PAPERS, PLEASE – The Short Film” (2018)


Liliya and I want to make films, one way
or another. We are into film making, we aspire to make good cinema and our ultimate
goal is to create feature-length films. Why are we called ‘Kinodom’ (Film House)?
We know the people we work with, they are our friends. People who we already
worked with on our previous projects made up 90% of the film crew. We
already had an assembled crew. We took some time off to gather ourselves after
we had completed our graduation projects. It just so happens that we remembered
‘Papers, please’. It is a computer game that we first played in 2013
when it had just come out. It took us one night to pass it to the end, we
couldn’t tear ourselves away from the game. Since then we kept remembering it. The game is
involving and deep, there’s a lot to discuss. We started working on our ideas, on the screenplay and
eventually came up with a short seven page story. We never meant it as a piece of fan fiction. To us, it was one the most crucial things
that the film was authorized. We translated the screenplay into
English and went through a series of challenges to find the contact information of
Lucas Pope, the creator of the game. We sent him the screenplay… …And forgot about it. A week or two
passed and Lucas answered. We were jumping for joy, doing this: A common issue with film adaptions of video
games is that people who make them often try to change the original story. We
tried to avoid that as best as we could. We took the universe invented by Lucas Pope
and brought it to the screen trying to keep as much of the
original idea as we could. It is a totalitarian dystopia that was
largely inspired by Orwell’s ‘1984’, which is one of my all-time favorites. We had no intention to make the film political or
to refer to the real world and real events. The game features countries’ names and their
logos, passports and other documents but the information is symbolic, if anything. All we had to do was to take those brief,
pixelated elements and bring them to life. It is quite a challenge to translate
an 8-bit game into a film. We collected lots of references from the films that we found visually exquisite and started
to think how we can create something beautiful of our own. We had to build a location since if we had
been shooting in a real-life location, we would not have enough space. We wouldn’t have
been able to do exactly what we wanted. We built the walls, then we had to skim coat
them, paint them and add small clefts. We sew buttons and other
accessories to the costumes, and they had to be ordered
separately and cast in 3D. That is why we were constantly short of time and always
had to work extra hours and finish everything. And I remember this very vividly:
we arranged everything, I came on set and realized that was it! I’m in
the customs inspector’s booth in Arstotzka. We can start filming now! Even though the film looks kind of
gloomy, mostly dark colors are used, there was more than enough lighting on set. To me, coming on set feels like birthday.
I get to see the people I love, my friends, everyone’s waiting for me. Except that they have complaints
instead of presents. The film crew is like a kid’s birthday party.
The second you turn your back, they are riding scooters around
the set wearing their costumes. One of the things that we relied on while
working on the inspector’s image was our own experience with the game. We recalled the decisions we made and contemplated which
moves would be more impressive in terms of drama. So, whenever I played the
game, I let Eliza pass. I just didn’t have the heart to
give her the denial stamp. But in terms of drama and the perspective
of the short feature we aspired to create, it would have been a lot more interesting
if the inspector had not let her pass reasons beyond his control. My vision of the inspector is that
he is like ‘1984’ character but with a military attitude. We remembered
this actor, Igor Savochkin. He so perfectly fit with our vision of the inspector that
we couldn’t think of a more suitable actor for this part. Not only he is a super professional,
he is a super human. ‘The filming starts four
hours late? That’s fine, I’ll just walk around, have some
coffee, these things happen’. Igor Yurievich was very creative on set
and truly brought the character to life. After the inspector gives Eliza the
denial stamp, he has a reaction to it . It was in the screenplay, but it was
Igor Yurievich who made it the way it is. At first we wanted to chock up the space
behind the inspector with stacks stacks filled with cards and files that
you always have at a checkpoint. But then we decided to add to the feeling
of being under constant control. Imagine the inspector sitting there
doing his job and the Eagle behind his back is always there,
right in the center, watching. All his decisions are constantly being judged. We have been making short features for quite
a while now and we have worked out our own rules, our own narrative, so to speak. We wanted to do things our way
rather than work with a different production company that has its own ways. Nobody would listen to us since we
are actually very young film makers. Trusting a 25-year-old director and a 24-year-old
producer with a project like this does not sound like a very
well thought-out initiative. This is the first time Liliya and I have
made a film that may be interesting to somebody rather than just
us. From the earliest steps, when we had just announced that we
were working on it, we received a lot of kind words and support
that really helped us. The director is a very nice person
which is uncommon for film-making. He is calm and composed. Even
if there is an emergency, he’ll always say ‘Right, what can we do about
this?’ Only after things are handled he might say he was actually panicking inside. For me, it was the first project where I couldn’t
afford to stress out due to health reasons. That is why I just felt happy
and serene all the time. Zhora, our lighting designer, told
me that he knew everything. He had seen the way it was done, and
he would need 20 smoke grenades. I said OK, suppose you do know that. In the end, not
only our lighting designer set the lighting, he also handled the smoke grenades on set. What’s remarkable about this is that his
son who was about 6 weeks old then, was lying just a few meters away, watching his father
happily jogging around with the grenades. Now that the film came out, it is very heartwarming
to receive all this positive attention. We are getting so many nice
reviews and feedback. We hope that we achieved our primary
goal which was creating a good film adaptation of
a great video game.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Прошу прощения за спешку, но когда полная версия этого фильма выйдет?

  2. Papers, please

    Where is Entry Comment if you dont have, it says in rulebook, all people including locals require an entry comment. If you dont have an entry comment you shall be detained or denied

    Glory to Arstotzka

  3. Хочу полный фильм papers please я бы сидел в кинотеатре и ел попкорн.

  4. Большое вам всем спасибо. Шикарное и очень атмосферное произведение, ощутимо передающее дух игры.

  5. 2:30 Даа) конечно) показывать звезду на ПМ вам наверное пришлось, так как это было частью игры.

  6. Фильм отличный, у меня вопрос только к звезде на ПМ, и немного касту.

  7. Фильм действительно замечательный)
    Он лучше чем большинство русских фильмов :0

  8. If it's 20 minutes long where more of the characters got highlighted (Jorji, Khaled Istom etc.) are in this will be even more of a bomb

    That aside, this is a wonderful piece!

  9. I could watch a TV series like this. The immigration officer was great, lighting was great. You should definitely make more but keep it in Russian ))

  10. Это было очень здорово! Обожаю, когда делают фильмы по играм. Очень трудно сделать фильм так, чтобы он действительно нес смысл, суть и сюжет самой игры. Часто видела дыры или нестыковки, но в этом фильме все было так, как нужно! Спасибо за это, я очень этим довольна.

  11. Хочу продолжение где девушку не пропустили(которая оказалось террорист) что бы узнать как бы всё закончилось

  12. Ребята,вы молодцы!Сам сейчас учусь на актёра,надеюсь ваше и наше поколение сможет вытянуть киноиндустрию СНГ на достойный уровень.Спасибо огромное за приложенный труд

  13. You are under arrest for putting dislike on this video.
    The penalty is death.
    The security of your family is unknown.
    Glory to Arstotzka.

  14. I'm so glad you also did this video, it's always amazing to see how the idea and project came about and is inspiring

  15. Вы используете переводчик неправильно. Пожалуйста, продолжайте читать Руководство.

  16. Please make it into a full length movie! The end of the short film should reveal that the gunshot did not kill our officer but that the terrorist was shot by another officer, the one who asks you to detain as many as possible for a bonus. It would be a magnificent film if done correctly and the short film was done correctly so what do you have to lose?

  17. An excellent film which brings back the Soviet times. The Russian language is also part of the atmosphere. We Eastern Europeans all know about it.
    As for Elena: In a similar situation I would have put her into detention until the situation was cleared but this is not possible in the game.
    If Artsotzka is a totalitarian dictatorship it would have also been possible to summon and/or interrogate Sergiu as well and then let Elena enter the country if the story turns out to be at least credible.

  18. A: Your hair is different.
    B: I went to barber shop
    B: That was an old picture!!!
    A: Oh ok.
    B: I need to get in
    A: Why
    B: Because I will go on a vacatio-
    A: DETAINED!

  19. Кинопродюсеры, русские, которые смогли сделать фильм. Мое почтение.

  20. Слава Арстоц.. Юным профессионалам, которые сделали эту короткометражку

  21. I Feel sooooooo bad. This is an amazing masterpiece and YouTube failed to show me that. Why is this not having Millions of views?
    The view number is truly not worth this much effort. I hope that people will subscribe to this channel and watch the two vids! 😊

  22. Браво Никита, ты потрясающий, такой фильм потрясающий. Что аж дух захватывает! Желаю тебе и твоей команде успехов!

  23. That is how to do movies, Russians! Teach your other buddies making movies to do it like you, not how they do it now, in trashy way

  24. Ребята, начало положено, надеюсь найдете денег и снимите свой Район №9 – не в смысле сай-фай экшн социальный, а чтобы так же качественно и показали ублюдскому русскому кинопрому – что значит снимать со страстью, вниманием и проработкой. Удачи!

  25. "We reached our goal, which was to create a good film adaptation of a video game." You certainly did make a fantastic adaptation of one of my favourite game. Hats off to both of you! You are such a great film-maker.

  26. When he was talking about the personal decisions made in game, about how he personally allowed Elisa to pass, it made a lot of sense. I would wager that many of us who have played the game probably let Elisa in, as did the director. It was genius that in the short film that the Inspector decides to deny her entry for dramatic effect. Well done.

  27. Papers,please.
    Hands papers
    Sees date is expired
    Your date is expired.
    Him talks about how to get free money
    stills deny him

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