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Eating an Elephant (Съесть СЛОНА)

Julia Saponova | 2020 | Russian Federation | 64

“Do you know how to eat an elephant?” One bite at a time! ”

Masha is 19 years old, and she dreams of becoming an actress, but it is difficult for her to overcome her shyness. However, a dream can push a person into amazing deeds. Masha comes to the inclusive theater “InterAction”, where each actor with Down syndrome has a suitable role in the new show. Now, all together, they dream of creating a vivid and beautiful performance and going on tour abroad. This is a fun story of the life of a theater troupe, youth, love and friendship, where everyone learns not only to play on stage, but passes a real test of courage, generosity and perseverance.    

World Premiere

Producer: Olesya Ovchinnikova, Igor Mishin, Dmitry Sergeev, Julia Saponova
Writer: Julia Saponova, Valeria Zadereeva

Director Biography

Julia Saponova graduated from St. Petersburg University, specialty – psychologist. In 2013, she taught a short film course at the Talantino children’s film school. In 2014, she graduated from the editing direction, in 2016 – the direction of Alexei Popogrebsky at the Moscow School of Cinema. During the training, four short films were shot: “Choked”, “Mermaid”, “Brownie” and the diploma film “Birthday”.

Among the director’s works are commercials and music videos. Specialising in filming with children and animals. Starting to work with actors with Down Syndrome, Julia became one of the creators of the inclusive multimedia project Interaction, in which she became the author of the idea and director of the lyrical documentary comedy Eat Elephant.

Director Statement

The film was made as part of our «InterAction» project, the mission of which is to change the attitude of society towards people with Down syndrome. That said, I didn’t try to make a direct social statement – I prefer not to separate people into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Through a simple, everyday story, I introduce my audience to characters that seem, at first glance, unusual.

With this film I wanted to share at least some of the unique and positive insights that I obtained from communicating with my protagonists. For me, this is an attempt to convey some of their joy of life, and travel in life’s diversity. I will be very happy if it also contributes to changing the attitude of society towards ‘different’ people.


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