When the Nuckids are asked, “Who came up with this or that scene and staged the performance?”, the answer is, “Vladimir Karabanov!” A very creative person, he is the author of scripts, poems and lyrics for the project. His creative portfolio is impressive.
He graduated from the Kiev State Conservatory named after P. I. Tchaikovsky and did a postgraduate study at the Moscow Conservatory as the violinist; he was a soloist of the Camerata Orchestra and the Quartet of the Soloists of Ukraine at the Embassy of Ukraine in Egypt. In 2001 he graduated from the Higher Courses of Screenwriters and Directors, A. Adabashyan's Course.
He is the director and the author of scripts for such feature and documentary films as: “Margarita's Worlds”, “Rondo of the Opera’s Patriarch”, “Criminal circumstances”, “How beautiful is Your World”. His movie “Elephant” was nominated for the prestigious Kinotavr film award in 2010.
From 2013 until present Vladimir has been the director and script writer for Nuclear Kids and Winter Fairy Tale projects.
Q: Vladimir, why have you been coming back to this project for 7 years in a row instead of shooting a new film?
A: I got sucked into the project and in the fact that we stage musicals twice a year (summer and winter sessions). The project involves 80 children who produce an incredible impact and give off tremendous energy. They give me creativity and vitality. Also, it is a great opportunity to create two scripts and to put two performances a year as well as to work with a team of professionals and achieve a good result. For a creative person, it is incredibly important, because working and writing scripts at a desk for years, looking for money for movies and performances – it is difficult both from a material and psychological point of view. In this regard, I am very grateful to the project for the fact that I live a happy creative life.
Q: How do you write scripts?
A: First, I look for an idea of what theme of the play we will have this year. Then I think about how to make this theme spectacular, interesting and original.
Q: Why Scarecrow this year for a theme? (A story of a girl who was bullied at school – translators’s remark)
A: This year I realized that it would be interesting to do something about the internet as an alternative space in which a huge number of young people, especially children spend their time and how this space differs from real life. What is a virtual world, how do people change in it? Is it good or bad that there is such a magical thing as the internet? We have to consider that a child does not have much life experience or a stable psyche. So the idea came up to talk about the dangers of the internet and we decided to use Zheleznikov’s Scarecrow as the basis for the story.
In addition, every year we try to change our approaches, styles and visual solutions a little, to create new interesting performances, and not to be repetitive.
Q: Do you often spend time on the internet yourself?
A: Well certainly. I use it constantly for communication and to search for information. I go there for inspiration, various references, and experience. Now you can find everything on the web – from opera productions to various solo performances. Of course, theater cannot be transmitted through video in full power. But still to get an idea of some masterpieces of modern theatrical art and thus remain in the trend is possible.
Today a computer without a network is a simple typewriter with photoshop and some other programs. But when it has access to the internet, it is already a living organism. You can even draw an analogy with religion where an unbeliever is not connected to the internet.
Q: 80 kids and one director - how do you give everyone a part to play and not to offend when someone only participates in group scenes?
A: To begin with, there is a whole creative team on the project. There is a choreographer, a theatre designer, a costume maker, a vocals teacher and a teacher of stage speech and acting. Our roles are already intertwined in many ways, and it is impossible to say that someone is engaged in one thing only. Therefore we often distribute parts altogether.
To be honest, it is very difficult to assign parts. It is clear that many kids can play this or that role well. Therefore initially we give out roles with a margin in order to check who will meet our expectations and will be able to feel the role better. For the number of performances that we usually play, it is clear that all four or five casts cannot reveal their talents in full force. The team which will perform during the final performances in Moscow, must perform at least 2 times on tour in other cities. Therefore, there is always a need to make a choice, a dilemma of sorts.
Even in the short time that the project lasts, all participants receive invaluable experience. There are no small roles in a theater. All who have gone through the project know that because of the person who forgot to take out the bench or the cube decoration, the whole performance can be broken. Yes this year someone will only bring a cube on stage, but next year he may get a major role. Someone will go to develop their vocal and acting skills. All participants attend the “School of Nuckids” no matter whether they have a role or not. They all go to vocals classes, to acting and psychological training. Whoever wants to learn something, will learn it.
Q: I heard that some students of Oleg Tabakov theatre school were selected judged simply by the way they walked into the auiditions. And how do you choose candidates for the main roles?
A: Sometimes a person immediately stands out from the crowd. We notice that and begin to try him or her for the role to see how her or she will “exist” in it. At first a child can be stiff during the inside elections and we might begin to doubt whether we made the right choice. But then, in the process of long rehearsals there is a feeling that there is something special in his or her acting, and you start to fight for it. There are instant unconditional hits in the role, but also it happens that someone does not receive any lines, but reveals his talent in the course of the project and plays a major role the following year.
Q: Are project participants just children or professionals for you?
A: Neither. They are small people, incredibly different. Someone is quite a child and catches ants at the field, and someone goes for the auditions to theater universities or shines on the stage of their cities. But once they all come to the project, we must try to discover and show them as much as possible and give them the maximum of their experience. In general, it’s important for a child that someone who believed in him, gave him a chance. Therefore we communicate with children on equal terms valuing them as individuals. Rehearsals go without concessions and discounts on the fact that they are children.
We don’t work with children by templates, as we start from organics. We see who can do what. We never think in advance of scene positioning or character profiles. Everything is created in the process of direct communication with children. This is incredibly laborious but it is a much more grateful work than just squeezing the child into the role. Therefore it seems to me that the main thing that teachers of the project can give to the participants is to communicate with each other on equal terms on professional and human topics. I can say that in many of those, who have gone through the project over these 7 years, I see a huge potential and a worthy replacement for us. Maybe if I had such communication at their age, something in my life would have been done faster and easier. We share our responsibility even with some older guys, we give a try at a new role. If the child feels that adults trust him with an important job it helps form a sense of responsibility, a responsible character, and even some abilities are revealed faster.
Q: You're a filmmaker and there are many children at the project. Can these two components make one feature film?
A: Yes, sure. I have now got a good idea for a movie. I have been cooperating with various charitable foundations within the framework of the Children’s Kinomay project for 6 years. There we visit various orphanages where there are children with an unresolved issue of foster families. Once I combined some stories that I heard and saw during my visits there and wrote a screenplay for a feature film about teenagers of 14-17 years old. While I was writing the script, I thought several times that it would be possible to involve NucKids to implement this idea.