Katya (Short Film)

Release date: June, 2011
Director: Mako Kamitsuna
Screenplay by: Mako Kamitsuna
Cast: Chulpan Khamatova, Olek Krupa, Vitaliy Shtabnoy


About three years ago writer director Mako Kamitsuna did a Kickstarter campaign (I did not know this) to fund this short film starring Chulpan Khamatova as a Russian woman named Katya who arrives in America and takes the cab ride of her life when she meets her driver, Viktor (Krupa), a Russian man whose path may have crossed with Katya’s past one way or the other.

Though the short didn’t bluntly tell me Katya is a prostitute (like in the Kickstarter description), and I took that bit of dialog in English with the bit about “selling your soul for a piece of bread” as a way for Viktor to counter Katya’s er- “Russianess;” that’s what I thought was brilliant about Katya’s and Viktor’s interaction: their generational and cultural divide. One of them left Russia, as described by Katya “like rats leaving a sinking ship,” and the other one grew up there. It’s a tough spot to be in, but a common one for struggling historically complicated nations.

The rest of Katya isn’t spelled out like in the description of the project, which makes me think that I may have lost A LOT of content from in between the lines and that I have just scratched the surface of the story told by Kamitsuna, or that the short turned out to be a lot different than intended. Technically speaking, I’m impressed that they managed the production quality of this 23-minute short on a budget of $20K (at least from what was made in the campaign), because though strained in scale, the sequences in the submarine and flashbacks were quite well made.

Acting was good — though, that might be my bias showing — I was surprised to see Khamatova’s blurting some English, but my favorite line was when she exclaimed “Russians everywhere!” because that’s one of the things one notices when visiting a place- it’s a familiarity complex, like saying “you get to speak so much Spanish in L.A.” or “Chinese everywhere! Chinatown visit in every city you visit.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

You can get Katya and check other films on Khamatova’s filmography on iTunes.


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

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