TCFF 2019: ‘The Soviet Sleep Experiment’ – Review + Interview w/ director Barry Andersson + actor Chris Kattan

The Soviet Sleep Experiment

In the late 1940s, Soviet researchers kept four patients awake for thirty days using an experimental gas-based stimulant. The researchers were cut off from the world and asked to do a series of tests on the subjects for the benefit of the Red Army. What started as a purely scientific research study soon escalated to insanity. What happened next will change the way you view humanity.


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The Soviet Sleep Experiment had its world premiere at Twin Cities Film Fest last Friday. Many of the cast/crew were present (many are Minnesota-based) for the red carpet interviews. It’s fitting that the film has a Minnesota premiere, given that it was filmed in the Twin Cities’ southern suburbs of Lakeville (check out this article from the set visit).

FlixChatter media correspondent Holly Peterson had a chance to chat with director Barry Andersson (whose film The Lumber Baron won TCFF’s Best Audience Award last year) and actor Chris Kattan (of Saturday Night Live and A Night at the Roxbury fame). Check out the interview below:

A few bts photos filming The Soviet Sleep Experiment*:

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*Photos courtesy of IMDb + The Soviet Sleep Experiment FB page.


Review of The Soviet Sleep Experiment

The Soviet Sleep Experiment is directed and produced by Minnesota native Barry Andersson and written by Michael Patrick McCaffrey. Andersson is back at the Twin Cities Film Fest in 2019 after a successful 2018 Twin Cities Film Fest, where his feature narrative film The Lumber Baron, a period drama about the heir to a failing lumber business and the enduring rumors of a treasure left behind by his grandfather, won the 2018 Audience Award for best feature. The Soviet Sleep Experiment stars Eva De Dominici as Dr. Anna Antonoff, Rafal Zawierucha Dr. Leo Antonoff, and Evgeny Krutov as Captain Yegor Sokolov. It also stars Chris Kattan as Subject 3, Michael Villar as Subject 4, Charles Hubbell as Subject 5 and Paul Cram as Subject 6.

The movie was filmed in and around Lakeville, Minnesota (per IMDB) and is a psychological thriller based loosely upon the urban legend which follows a married research team — Dr. Anna Antonoff and Dr. Leo Antonoff (De Dominici and Zawierucha) who, under close watch of a Red Army Captain Yegor Sokolov (Krutov) , and they set out to study the effects of forced sleep deprivation on four patients locked inside an observation chamber for 30 days. These four patients are given the names of Subject 3 (Kattan), Subject 4 (Villar), Subject 5 (Hubbell) and Subject 6 (Cram) and are placed inside a controlled tank where anti-sleeping gas is pumped into the chamber and each of the Subjects are mentally tested every eight hours, with their reward being a small earing ration about the size of a hockey puck.

Rafal Zawierucha + Eva De Dominici

After several hundreds of hours inside the chamber, the Subject start turning on each other and the doctors and Soviet Captain are forced to shock them using implants that are surgically implanted inside their necks to give them a jolt of electricity to have them calm down. The hundreds of hours outside the chamber also pays a toll on the doctors performing the experiment, with their also lack of sleep and mental exhaustion. This is brilliantly portrayed by Argentinian actress Dominici (of the 2018 film You Shall Not Sleep) and Polish actor Zawierucha (Roman Polanski in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) acting against Russian actor Krutov (Stranger Things Season 3). Soviet Captain Sokolov, who represents the overshadowing Red Army back in Moscow overseeing the experiment, is compelling and alarming at the same time — making a perfect antagonist to the already tense story!

The actors inside the chamber, most notably Kattan (of Saturday Night Live and A Night at the Roxbury fame) and Villar (of the 2018 film Skin) are featured much more prominently than Hubbell (of the 2013 film Walking with the Enemy) and Cram (of the Minnesota-made film Wilson, which was first shown in Minnesota by TCFF in March, 2017). All four actors portray the victims/subjects of The Soviet Sleep Experiment quite well and make for one bombastic showcase of horror and gore. They act opposite each other very well inside the isolated 1940s Soviet testing facility. The set design team who put together the chamber must also be commended as it is quite believable that such a “deep sea” diving chamber could be used for such a callous experiment. Overall, this is a very creepy and worthwhile movie to see in the lead up to Halloween season.


2019 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST arrives this week! What to see Wednesday-Sunday

Hello FC readers, it’s Ruth here!

TWO MORE DAYS until TCFF arrives on Wednesday, and I’m so excited for this 11-day of great films, insightful educational events and awesome after-parties! Not only can film fans watch a variety of films, both studio fares and indies, we also get to learn from filmmakers and network with actors, directors, producers, etc.

CHECK OUT THE DAILY SCHEDULE!

So. Many. Great Films! These are what TCFF has in store this week from Wednesday, Oct. 16 – Sunday, Oct 20. I’ll post the daily schedule for next week sometime this weekend.

If you missed my last post on TCFF,  I talked about that there are more than 60 percent of 2019 program are driven by female filmmakers and a bunch of films about environmental responsibility, the fest’s social justice cause this year.

Now behold the DAILY SCHEDULE. If you still haven’t got your tickets yet, well, what are you waiting for??

Wednesday, October 16

It’s tradition that TCFF opens with a bang… and for its 10th anniversary, it does not disappoint!! Two very strong films opens the film fest, plus special guests coming to the WORKING MAN screening!

6:00p.m.:  JoJo Rabbit, Taika Waititi

 

8:30p.m.: Working Man, Robert Jury
Special guests: Talia Shire – Actor, Peter Gerety – Actor, Robert Jury – Director


Thursday, October 17       

12:45p.m.: When We Were Apollo, Zachary Weil

1:00p.m.: Chameleon, Marcus Mizelle

2:45p.m.: Well Groomed, Rebecca Stern

3:10p.m.: CRSHD, Emily Cohn

5:00p.m.: Shorts – In All The Wrong Places, Various Directors

One of the films is Master Servant, which I helped produced. Check out a clip from the film here.

5:15p.m.: Current Revolution, Roger Sorkin

7:00p.m.: The Aeronauts, Tom Harper

7:15p.m.: Max Bishop, Jack Beranek

9:25p.m.: Last Call, Gavin Michael Booth

9:35p.m.: Greener Grass,  Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe 


Friday, October 18

12:30p.m.: Juice: How Electricity Explains the World, Tyson Culver

12:45p.m.: Salvage, Amy C. Elliott

2:30p.m.: Raising Buchanan, Bruce Dellis

2:45p.m.: Killbird, Joe Zanetti

5:10p.m.: The Soviet Sleep Experiment, Barry Andersson

7:10p.m.: The Truth About Marriage, Roger Nygard

Special Guests: Roger Nygard – Director, Billy Sullivan – Producer, Composer

7:20p.m.: Inside the Rain, Aaron Fisher

9:30p.m.: Greywoods Plot, Josh Stifter

I featured Josh on the blog in January when he talked about The Good Exorcist, that he shot as part of the reality show for El Rey Network. Check out the trailer for his new movie:

9:40p.m.: Wade in the Water, Mark Wilson


Saturday, October 19

9:30a.m.: Youth Unstoppable, Slater Jewell-Kemker

9:45a.m.: Screenagers, Dr. Delaney Ruston

11:30a.m.: Like Harvey Like Son, Rudy Harris

11:45a.m.: Food Coop, Tom Boothe

2:00p.m.: Chameleon, Marcus Mizelle

2:15p.m.: What Lies West, Jessica Ellis

Special Guests: Jessica Ellis – Writer/Director, Sean Carroll – DP/Producer, Jennifer Milliman – Producer, Actors – Nicolette Ellis, Anna K. Peterson

4:15p.m.: Shorts – Age of Innocence, Various Directors

4:25p.m.: Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach

6:30p.m.: A Perfect 14, Giovanna Morales Vargas

7:25p.m.: International Falls, Amber McGinnis

Stay tuned for my interview with Amber!

9:10p.m.: The Field, Tate Bunker

9:45p.m.: Puppet Killer, Lisa Ovies


Sunday, October 20

10:00a.m.: Science Fair, Cristina Costantini & Darren Foster

10:10a.m.: Warrior Women, Elizabeth A. Castle & Christina D. King

12:00p.m.: The Wall of Mexico, Zachary Cotler & Magdalena Zyzak

12:20p.m.: 8 Seasons of Art, Phil McGraw

 

2:30p.m.: Go Back To China, Emily Ting

Stay tuned for my interview post with Emily. Her first film Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is available on streaming, including Amazon Prime.

3:15p.m.: Oildale, David Mueller

5:00p.m.: Shorts – Documentaries, Various Directors

5:40p.m.: The Protectors, Ben Hughes

7:10p.m.: A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick

8:00p.m.: Into the Void, Wayne H. Johnson, Jr.


Stay tuned for the Daily Schedule for the rest of the film fest!

Download 2019 TCFF Schedule Grid


FREE EDUCATIONAL EVENTS!!

How many film festival offers FREE educational events!! Well TCFF does, and there are also a variety of fantastic panels featuring acclaimed filmmakers! Click on the image below to learn more about our educational offerings.

Here is one I’m looking forward to this week:

Sunday, October 20th 3-4pm:
SCRIPTWRITING MASTER CLASS Jeffrey Hatcher (Scriptwriter) The Good Liar, Casanova, The Duchess.


GET YOUR TICKETS!

To buy tickets, learn more about TCFF, events, or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org

Ticket prices are $13 for General Admission & $20 for Spotlight Films. Festival Passes can also be purchased as follows: Silver Pass – $55 (5 pack of non-Gala tickets); Gold Pass – $90 (10 pack of non-Gala tickets); Platinum Pass – $130 (12 pack of non-Gala tickets + 2 Gala tickets); Spotlight Pass – $100 (6 tickets to any Spotlight Film).

The passes are such an incredible deal!! Get it soon so you can order your tickets right away. Trust me, it’s SO worth it!!

PLUS… All tickets guarantee admission to that evening’s afterparty in the TCFF Lounge located onsite at The Shops at West End.

THANKS to Can Can Wonderland, our lounge is now TCFF Can Can WonderPark!! It’s designed to give festival goers a space to network, relax and discuss film, so come on down and join us during the fest!


Stay tuned for reviews/interviews with various filmmakers!