Muzzled by the increasingly autocratic regime of the “Depression Federation”, 16-year-old Marusya decides to join her generations’ suicide statistics by year’s end. Then she meets Kimi and a love story begins between the two millennials caught in the undertow of their oppressive government.
Together, Marusya and Kimi film the euphoria, anxiety and misery of their youth, burning the candle at both ends, fuelled by drugs and music. When Kimi’s addiction threatens to make him fade away forever, Marusya’s camera becomes her last chance to save the fragile soul.
Filmed over the course of 12 years, How to Save a Dead Friend is a personal cry from the heart, and a message from a silenced generation. It is an unbreakable love story existing in a destructible world.
SCREENINGS & AWARDS
World Premiere: Visions du Réel – April 2022
2022 Indielisboa (Portuguese Premiere)
2022 Dok.fest Munich (German Premiere)
2022 Subversive Film Festival
2022 ACID Cannes
2022 Docaviv IDFF (Israeli Premiere)
2022 Underhill Fest
2022 Yerevan IFF Golden Apricot
2022 Guanajuato IFF
2022 Sofia Documental (Bulgarian Premiere)
2022 Nordisk Panorama FF (Swedish Premiere)
2022 Athens IFF (Greek Premiere)
2022 Busan IFF (South Korean Premiere)
2022 Mediterranean Film Festival, Široki Brijeg
2022 Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal FNC (North American Premiere)
2022 Film Festival Ghent (Belgian Premiere)
2022 Antenna IDFF (Australian Premiere)
2022 EDOC Festival Ecuador
2022 Bergen IFF (Norwegian Premiere)
2022 Film Festival Cologne
2022 Rendezvous With Madness FF
2022 Festival dei Popoli (Italian Premiere)
2022 DOC NYC (US Premiere)
2022 IDFA (Dutch Premiere)
2022 Noordelijk Film Festival
2022 Festival International du Film d’Amiens
2022 Cork International FF (Irish Premiere)
2022 Zinebi FF
2022 Kasseler Dokfest
2022 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (Estonian Premiere)
2022 Les Ecrans Documentaires
2022 FIDOCS (Chilean Premiere)
2022 Transit Film Festival
2022 Singapore International Film Festival
2023 Tournai Ramdam Festival
2023 Festival Black Movie
2023 Premiers Plans – Angers Film Festival
2023 Festival de cinéma En ville
2023 DocPoint Helsinki
2023 Big Sky DFF
2023 IDFF Artdocfest/Riga (Latvian Premiere)
2023 Tempo Documentary Festival
2023 HUMAN Rights Human Wrongs
2023 RAI Film Festival (UK Premiere)
2023 One World Prague
2023 Sands IFF St. Andrews
2023 BAFICI – Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival
2023 Chronic Youth Film Festival
2023 Crossing Europe (Austrian Premiere)
2023 Beldocs (Serbian Premiere)
2023 Flying Broom
2023 Rhodope International Documentary Film Fest
2023 Faito Doc Festival
And more: Cinema Public Montreal, Cinematheque Haifa, Cinematheque Tel Aviv, Dokumentarfilmreihe Docu.emme Frühling 2023, Kundura Cinema, Cinema Alice
- Special Mention in the International Competition at Visions du Réel 2022
- Wild Dreamer Award for Best Documentary at Subversive Film Festival 2022
- “Maslačak” Award in International Competition at Underhill Festival 2022
- Special Jury Mention in the Feature Documentary category at Guanajuato International Film Festival 2022
- Award for Best Female Director at Sofia Documental 2022
- Best Production Award at AegeanDocs 2022
- Grand Prix of the Mediterranean Film Festival in Široki Brijeg 2022
- The Prize of the International Film Critics presented by FIPRESCI at Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal FNC 2022
- Special Jury Award in the International Competition at Antenna IDFF 2022
- The Explore Zone Award at Film Fest Ghent 2022
- “Gian Paolo Paoli” Award for Best Anthropological Film at Festival dei Popoli 2022
- Grand Jury Award in International Competition at DOC NYC 2022
For the International Competition prize, we recognize How to Save a Dead Friend as a truly exceptional film. Marusya Syroechkovskaya’s first-person tale of punk love in Putin’s Russia shines an urgent spotlight on a forsaken generation condemned to a seemingly endless cycle of drug addiction, mental health crisis, and suicide by the repressive structures of the regime. This fiercely candid and moving portrait of two lost individuals who, caught in a spiral of depression, found themselves in each other, begins as a straightforward memoir of a tragic relationship and soon blossoms into an expansive, archival mosaic of Russia’s restive and stifled youth.
- Grand Prix Long-métrage at Festival International du Film d’Amiens 2022
- Youth Jury Award at Zinebi FF 2022
The film shows sensitive contemplation of those moments during the day, apparently insignificant, but which, from the perspective of time and death, come across as immense. There is an astounding quality in the images, the work on sound, and the irony used to address issues such as suicide and drug addiction. Along with the music of Joy Division and Nirvana, the film is a time capsule for a moving story which poses some major questions on the essence of life.
- Golden Key Award for Best Feature Film at Kasseler Dokfest 2022
- Special mention of the Youth Jury for Feature Debut at FIDOCS 2022
- Audience Choice Award at Singapore International Film Festival 2022
- Grand Prix in the International Competition at Festival de cinéma En Ville! 2023
- SIMA 2023 Special Jury Mention in Documentary Feature Category
- Special Mention in Artdocfest Open Competition at Artdocfest/Riga 2023
- Tempo Documentary Award at Tempo Documentary Festival 2023
“A brave and self-revealing story, which with strong artistic sharpness tells us about a society without future prospects, but above all about the love of two young people; where both death, desperation and the strong will to live are in focus. A shocking portrayal of suburban life in today’s Russia.“
- RAI Film Prize at RAI Film Festival 2023
- Grand Jury Prize of the Avant-Garde and Genre Official Competition at BAFICI – Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival 2023
- Jury Award for Best International Film at DocumentaMadrid 2023
- Étoile de la Scam Award 2023
- OTTICA SACCO Award at Faito Doc Festival 2023
- Youth Jury Best Feature Award at Faito Doc Festival 2023
Selected for European Film Awards 2022
Reviews: Caligari Magazine (ES), Para Dormir Después (ES), Channel Nonfiction (EN), La Estatuilla (ES), Unseen Films (EN), Awards Radar (EN), Reel News Daily (EN), POV Magazine (EN) Deed News, Le Monde (FR), The Film Verdict (EN), Montages (NO), Filmkommentaren (EN), Cineuropa (EN), Business Doc Europe (EN), Screendaily (EN), Variety (EN)
Interviews: Stixpicks (EN), Filmmaker Magazine (EN), Women and Hollywood (EN), She Does the City (EN), Dazed (EN), Taxi Drivers (IT), Filmexplorer (EN)
“This documentary memoir cum love letter is moving, harrowing and, despite everything, hopeful; above all, it is fearsomely candid.”Jonathan Romney, Screendaily
“Raw and moving, Marusya Syroechkovskaya’s documentary describes growing up in 21st-century Russia, but is so intimate and honest that it would probably work just as well in a vacuum.”Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa
“Coming from the inside, and from a generation Putin is seeking to silence and then refashion to his imperialist image, How to Save A Dead Friend […] is essential viewing for those seeking an intimate understanding of Russian society from within.”Clarence Tsui, The Film Verdict
DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Marusya Syroechkovskaya (1989) is a Moscow-born award-winning filmmaker and visual artist, who had to flee Russia as the March 2022 crackdown on opposition voices increased.
Marusya studied filmmaking at the School for Documentary Film in Moscow under professor Marina Razbezhkina and received her MA in Film Directing at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow (graduated with honors).
Her student short, Exploration of Confinement received a Jury Award at the New Orleans Film Festival 2013 and qualified for the 2013 Academy Awards. It was also selected for the 35th Moscow International Film Festival, the Message to Man International Film Festival 2013, Tenerife Shorts Film Festival 2014, and a number of other international film festivals.
Her training includes workshops such as Ex Oriente Film, Flahertiana, and IDFAcademy. Marusya is a 2015 Nipkow Program Fellow (Berlin, Germany).
Exploration of Confinement (Short) 2013
Chistiy chelovek (Documentary short) 2012
Writer, director Marusya Syroechkovskaya
Camera Marusya Syroechkovskaya, Kimi Morev
Editor Qutaiba Barhamji
Sound recordists Gasan Hagverdiev, Ada Laub
Voice-over recording Sergey Martynov / DoubleRec Studio
VOSIS: Image and video audification synthesizer Dr. Ryan McGee
Original music Felix Mikensky
Sound design Yngve Leidulv Sætre, Thomas Angell Endresen
Producers Ksenia Gapchenko, Mario Adamson
Co-producers Anita Norfolk, Alexandre Cornu, Marusya Syroechkovskaya
Production company DOCS VOSTOK, Sisyfos Film Production
Co-production Folk Film, Les Films du Tambour de Soie, Lyon Capitale TV and Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg in collaboration with ARTE
WITH THE SUPPORT OF
The Swedish Film Institute, Norwegian Film Institute, Western Norway Film Centre
The Fritt Ord Foundation, IDFA BERTHA fund, CNC
PRODUCER’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Ksenia is a forward-thinking producer and film programmer with 10+ years’ experience, striving to create engaging powerful content with a lasting impact.
Ksenia received her Master’s in German Studies at Moscow State Humanitarian University. Later she graduated from Marina Razbezhkina and Mikhail Ugarov School of Documentary Films and Theatre in Moscow.
For many years Ksenia worked in the field of film programming and festival advising: as a programming director for the Documentary Film Center (first Russian documentary cinema). Ksenia is an alumnus of Ex Oriente (2018) and Eurodoc (2019); a participant of IDFA Forum; recipient of IDFA Bertha Fund and participant of IDFA Forum, EDP, as well as a recipient of the first award of Baltic Sea Docs.
Along with Director Marusya Syroechkovskaya, Ksenia co-founded DOCS VOSTOK, a film company with a focus on the production of independent creative documentaries from Eastern Europe and CIS countries, producing and promoting upcoming directors with a unique voice and vision.
Mario Adamson is a producer and founder of Sisyfos Film Production, an independent production company based in Stockholm, Sweden and Edinburgh, Scotland that produces high-profile documentaries with a focus on creative collaborations with international and domestic directors and producers who have a unique voice, a high artistic ambition and share the passion for the art of cinematic storytelling.
Mario has produced and co-produced such internationally acclaimed films as the multiple award-winning documentary “Scheme Birds” by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin (Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival, 2019), ”Merry Christmas, Yiwu” by Mladen Kovacevic (Winner of the Heart of Sarajevo, 2020), “The Scars of Ali Boulala” (world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, 2021), “How to Save a Dead Friend” (World premiere at VdR 2022 in main competition) by Marusya Syroechkovskaya, the animated short films “Still Born” (Swedish Academy Award 2015 and The Golden Taube for Best Documentary Short in Leipzig, 2015 ).
Mario is an alumnus of the EURODOC and Jihlava Emerging Producer program, as well as the Sundance Institute Fund. He is originally a sound designer/composer with a career spanning four decades in the film industry.
Sisyfos Film Production
Les Films du Tambour de Soie
+33 (0) 4 91 333 575