These kids are no stars. Not yet. Set mainly in present day Dallas, TX and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this vérité documentary features three main characters at three different stages of the same process. Supported by a nonprofit, these extremely tall teenagers come to the United States from Haiti using basketball as means to get an education and help their own country change.
Interview with Director/Producer Leyla Nedorosleva
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
The unique qualities of our subjects and their extremely great height are what drew me to want to tell this story. Where do celebrities come from? What perils await them on their path before they turn into a show?
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
As a director I’m offering my story for viewing and discussion. It’s up to the audience to decide whether that appeals to them.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The character arcs of the main subjects constitute the whole storyline of the film. We show our subjects at different stages of the same process — coming over to the U.S. from Haiti to play basketball and get education.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Once while visiting New York I met one of my future subjects, Pierre Valmera. He shared his story with me, a story of coming over to the USA from Haiti to study here, and after some time becoming a professional basketball player. He told me how he decided to help other Haitian kids do the same thing. He told me about numerous perils awaiting on this journey. About times when it seemed impossible to pull off. Haiti, basketball, U.S. school sports — all these topics were fresh and interesting to me.
I thought I could help the nonprofit organization Power Forward International Pierre created to benefit Haitian teenagers. My contribution would be a short documentary about the nonprofit’s activities, aimed at attracting investors. When I started developing it, when I met my future subjects, I immediately knew I had to do a full feature film on them. The problem field, the context, the stories turned out to be so enticing that reality itself took my film far outside the limits of an infomercial.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Our film has been criticized a lot but we are prepared because we are aware that our film is not a traditional documentary. We don’t use sit-down interviews, voiceover narration, there is not a lot of music, some people think it’s lacking the conflict or consistent story, and we do not aim to provide explanations for all the questions our film poses. However, we have solid evidence that our message was able to reach and land in many minds of the audience and industry professionals. Here are a few links and quotes:
Huffington Post — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-pierre-valmera-believes-basketball-can-save-haiti_us_592f501ce4b00afe556b0ad0?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003
Shadow and Act (Indiewire) — https://shadowandact.com/laff-2017-preview-documentary-competition-selection-two-four-six
Kiira Benzing, film director:
“I loved Two Four Six; especially the artistic way it was edited. You can tell the craft of their editing was important to the creation of the film. For a documentary, I think the edit is key. You can tell they spent a lot of time in the edit. The opening 5 minutes impressed me deeply. I loved the way it cuts between the characters in Haiti and New York, and the way Nedorosleva worked with sound design. I could re-watch that opening sequence on repeat.”
Shai Casey, filmmaker / producer / actor:
“It was very powerful and was extremely well done. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. The cinematography was incredible. The access and images that were captured in Haiti were unlike anything I've ever seen. I remember everything - The story was very important. Showing how Schnider was struggling with the loneliness, and how back home there’s thousands of kids dying for the chance to be where he is. It was a very powerful comparison. The moment where they visited the kid’s mom in Haiti, the expression on her face captured everything. The basketball camp was very memorable, as was the intense way they captured the basketball games. Pierre's personality was great throughout the film. His mission is incredible. I am sorry to say I haven't seen [other] Russian documentary films, but if TWO FOUR SIX is an example, then yes - they should certainly continue working in this genre. The storytelling and cinematography was so impressive.”
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Being in documentary filmmaking for many years, we don’t expect everybody to accept what we are doing. There was no surprises in this film’s reception, we were prepared to hear negative opinions and at the same time we are happy that so many people appreciate it.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Being a noncommercial independent production, we appreciate support and promotion of our work. Your website, Los Angeles Film Festival selection, any media attention, all contribute to our ability to make more films.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are completely open and willing to work with anybody who sees potential in our film. We would gratefully welcome any of the above on board.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Where do celebrities come from? Who are they really, people who cause excitement and admiration among us? A chance, even if it’s a chance that you get once in a lifetime, is just a beginning of a complicated journey filled with perils and responsibilities. I wanted to draw attention to the ways of so called celebrities before they become a show. I tried to show the other side of a TV screen.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
We think ours is a character-driven film. The question we hear the most often is — what is going to happen to our subjects? What is their future?
Would you like to add anything else?
We are looking forward to qualify for Academy awards. We are currently exploring theatrical release options in New York and Los Angeles.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Our subjects turned out to be so enticing that we are already shooting the sequel. I can’t let go of them for the moment but at some point I plan to go back to narrative films. I’m currently writing a feature screenplay.
Interview: June 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Two Four Six
These kids are no stars. Not yet.
Length: 87 minutes
Director: Leyla Nedorosleva
Producer: Leyla Nedorosleva
About the writer, director and producer:
Leyla Nedorosleva is an independent director and producer from Moscow, Russia. Her first two films were “1919” (2005, narrative short, selected by Venice Film Festival) and ‘Terminal States” (2007, narrative feature. In 2009 she directed and produced the documentary “New Athos”, in 2011 — the documentary “Floating Symbol”. In 2012 Leyla produced the American documentary “Andre — Voice of Wine” by Mark Tschelischeff (World premiere at Berlinale, 2017).
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists.
Social media handles:
Self-funded by Leyla Nedorosleva
Where can I see it in the next month?
We are still working on our distribution options