Festivals & Cons
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plaything musicalNo body should be down
Sex just goes around
The winner just keeps spinning,
No one’s always winning…

Out of all the indie projects I have recently watched, I would like to point out a new musical film – Plaything, which was premiered at Cannes Court Métrage 2016 du Festival de Cannes. The film stars Marine Madesclaire, Marianne Bourg, Samantha Sutliff and two-time Broadway World Award Winning actor Gabriel Burrafato.

Plaything is a short fantasy drama about sex, love and jealousy directed by aspiring Chinese filmmaker Yufei Qiao. Richard (Gabriel Burrafato) has three mistresses – Pamela, Helen and Molly. They all live together in an old big house. Every night they play a game called mahjong, and the winner will get the chance to sleep with Richard for the night. As the winner changes so does Richard’s sex partner for the night. It seems in balance even though they really hate each other. Until one day, Helen tells them she is pregnant… And without selling out the story I would say that the main message of this movie is “Think Twice for What You Wish for…”

To create this project director Yufei Qiao teamed up with producers Keline Kanoui, Konstantin and Marina Frolov, cinematographer Yan Rymsha and editor Yi Zhang. To adapt the screenplay to the musical Qiao worked with award winning film composer, Sergei Stern known for Gotham, Pawn Stars and American Pickers.

The film boasts absolutely beautiful cinematography, a gorgeous warm color palette of rusts, golds, faded reds and browns, an atmospheric location and stunning costumes. I personally admire the whole team who were able to make such a great film with a budget that can definitely be considered micro for a musical project. I truly believe that it can become a new masterpiece if they had even just a half of Moulin Rouge’s funds. Some how it reminds me one of another….

Gabriel Burrafato

To feed my own curiosity and to help young filmmakers by providing useful information, I spoke to the lead actor Gabriel Burrafato and producer Konstantin Frolov on how to get a well-known actor attached to your indie project.

Frolov: Based on my experience I can say that most actors are doing it for the sake of a role rather than for money. If you are unknown yet a filmmaker and you want to get good actors in your film, offer them interesting parts in a great-written story, material that they will be comfortable with and able to reveal themselves in it.

And of course you have to be professional and act professionally in every single aspect. If people can see that you know what you are doing they will be willing working with you even if project is small.

Gabriel what attracted you to be a part of Plaything musical?

Burrafato: The fact that it was a musical really grabbed my attention. Musicals are a major passion of mine and have been my bread and butter most of my career. I connected with Yufei Qiao, the director, on that level. She too has a strong background and passion for musicals. I sensed her enthusiasm the second I walked into the room for my audition. And I was really excited to find out that compositor Sergei Stern was on board with the film. Working with Sergei was a rare treat. He really knows the relationship an actor must have with the music in order to tell the story. He is sensitive to how the music affected the actors, which in turn would affect the audience. Not to mention his incredible compositions!

Was it a good experience after all?

Burrafato: Definitely. I loved that Yufei and Sergei, our music director knew the importance of the musical aspects of the production and made sure we as the actors were given plenty of rehearsal time to really digest the music and put it into our bodies. Musicals are hard to translate into film, but the fact that

Plaything originated on film vs. the stage I think really worked. Yufei put together an incredible team to make it happen successfully.

What suggestion will you give to young filmmakers who would like to get well know actors to participate in their projects? 

Burrafato: I would say find actors who share the same passion as you. As artist, ultimately we want to create content that will move and inspire our audience.

Konstantin what future are you planning for this project beside festivals circuit?

Frolov: Currently we are developing a stage version. Premier is planned for the Autumn 2017 in China. If we will be lucky enough to involve more investors, then there is also will be premier in the US. And of course feature is our next goal.

Plaything Teaser by Yufei Qiao from forlove on Vimeo.

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I am an LA based Russian born entertainment journalist. Growing up in Siberia I always had a passion for Theatre Arts and Film, but at the same time I have always truly loved writing. From the time I was just 14 years old I became the editor of the school news paper, and never stopped writing ever since.