Anna Larrina is a film director/writer. She studied MA Screen on the directing pathway and graduated in 2012. Born in the former USSR, and of Russian/Canadian descent, she now divides her time between Canada and the UK.
How did you hear about CSM?
I’ve always been interested in CSM because of the quality and nature of work that comes out of this school. I decided to apply to CSM when I found out that its own Drama Centre teaches and favours Stanislavsky’s method acting system. I flew from Vancouver, Canada, for a film directing audition and was offered a place on the MA Screen course. I was also awarded the International Graduate Scholarship, which was a real honour.
How would you describe your course?
The first half of the course is dedicated solely to studying the craft of acting. All students, writers, directors and, of course, actors participate in the same acting classes. Writers and directors are expected to engage with acting fully to the best of their abilities and are given the same class assignments as the actors. We would start our typical day at 9am with several acting and/or voice and movement classes with more acting classes to follow in the afternoon. As directors, we had several technical film classes (editing, music for film, history of film, etc) several times a week, but most of the time we spent in acting classes with other actors. During these first few months, independent study is very minimal as you will be receive a lot of tutoring, class time, and personal attention from about a dozen different tutors.
During the second half of the course, you begin to specialise in your profession and, as a result, there is more opportunity for independent study. You might start your day directing a rehearsal with a group of actors for a film scene to be filmed later in the day. There will be a lot opportunities to operate the camera and continue acting if you wish. You also begin working on two major film projects, practical projects one and two, which you will be shadow directing and directing later in the year, so you start working on assignments and learning new skills that will help you in your directing role.
How have you found the support at CSM?
All tutors who teach on this course are utterly professional and empathetic people who care about their students. We got to work with some talented film directors who were very generous with their knowledge and professional experience. There was a lot of support from CSM in terms of technical film production base, and even final film budgets were also covered.
What sort of a person do you think you need to be to do well on your course?
You need to have a real love for acting and actors as this course is built on the foundation of acting. Acting in this case is not necessarily about your ability or natural talent but more about your willingness to learn and try new ways of being and doing things. You also need to like working in groups with other people. There is quite a lot of group work and collaborative projects throughout the course
Why did you choose this particular course?
I chose this course over others because as a director and a writer I wanted to put myself in an actor’s place and learn what it’s like to be in front of the camera. I felt this MA Screen course was offering a very unique way of teaching the directing profession by complete immersion in the craft of acting, which was exactly what I wanted to do.
What do you love about CSM?
I love the spirit of unpredictable creativity that’s so alive at CSM. I would recommend this school to any artist who wants the opportunity to take creative risks in a supportive environment.
How would you describe CSM?
I had very high expectations for the school and the course and I was not disappointed. I was challenged in ways that I did not expect and learnt some very necessary lessons that helped me grow as an artist. Most importantly, I felt that at the end of the course I had learned a profession and gained a new awareness of what it takes in terms of commitment and craft.
What are you doing now?
Recently, I’ve started my own film production company, Orbis Film. I have been busy developing a feature length film which I am writing and will be directing. The film takes place in contemporary London and follows the personal journey of an a writer who tries to find his place in the world while coming to terms with a series of personal tragedies.
This project is set to go to camera in the summer of 2014. Since graduating, I’ve been invited to participate at the Talent Lab at the Reykjavik Film Festival. Also, my film work was included into Lars Von Trier’s film project Gesamt, which premiered at Copenhagen Art Festival in October 2012.