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THE PORTRAIT

SURREALISTICALLY MYSTICAL TRAGISATIRE


A Anastasia & Elena Baranoff Feature Film  

Based On The Short Story By Nikolai Gogol

Introduction

The story of The Portrait film project began in the summer of 2011, high up in the stunning Southern California Mountains, where the poetic beauty of the landscape nourished creativity, as the first pages of the screenplay where composed in our fine art studio.


Nikolai Gogol’s mystical and emotionally stirring 19th century short work of fiction The Portrait, with its expressive characters and creative plot, inspired us as fine artists to transform the story into a film.


As we wrote the screenplay, original new characters and scenes where born, adding further piquancy to the tale, all the while respectfully staying true to Gogol’s style.


The Portrait is a far-reaching beacon, urging people to live with utmost integrity and be loyal to one’s true life calling. In addition, the story raises important questions about the role of visual art and fine artists in society, which seldom get introduced in cinematography.   


Nikolai Gogol's short story The Portrait remains largely unknown and the power of film is an extraordinary way to connect audiences with this deeply meaningful work of Russian fiction.


The Portrait motion picture joins an international group of filmmakers in the creation of a unique storytelling experience, originating a new genre in film, "surrealistically mystical tragisatire".  


Anastasia Elena Baranoff  &  Elena Vladimir Baranoff
Screenwriters/Producers/Directors
Fine Artists

ANASTASIA ELENA BARANOFF

SCREENWRITER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/DESIGNER

Anastasia is an honorary fine art graduate of School of the Arts and Academy of Art University of San Francisco, class of 2004, with a degree in Fashion Design with distinction. She also studied design at Parsons School of Design in New York and contemporary fine art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. 


Her one of a kind paintings have been exhibited at the Haggin Museum in California, Dunedin Fine Arts Center in Florida, Bennington Center for the Arts in Vermont, Mall Galleries in London, Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Florida, amongst others and are housed in private US collections. 


As an award-winning artist, Anastasia’s numerous  honors include a Congressional Arts Special Recognition from the Congress of the United States of America, “Best Work By A Young Artist Award” in the 38th & 37th International Fine Art Exhibitions of Miniature Art at Leepa-Rattner Museum and Dunedin Fine Arts Center in Florida. 


Fifth generation of egg tempera painters in a dynasty of distinguished Russian Palekh fine artists and icon writers, art creations of Anastasia's ancestors can be seen in leading museums, including the National Pushkin Museum in Saint Petersburg and the Gorky Museum in Moscow.​ 


In 2013 she co-founded Egg Tempera Movement with Elena Vladimir Baranoff, in an effort to revitalize the rare fine art tradition.  

THE PORTRAIT is Anastasia's feature film début.

ELENA VLADIMIR BARANOFF

SCREENWRITER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/DESIGNER

Elena is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning master of fine art, whose one of a kind paintings have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Dean Gallery of the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Leepa-Ratner Museum of Art in Florida, Gulf Coast Museum in Florida, Springfield Art Museum in Missouri and others, in addition to leading US art galleries.


​Her rare works of art are housed in prominent fine art collections around the world, including the British Royal Collection of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and her professional profile is featured in Who’s Who In Art - Biographies of Leading Men and Women in the World of Art in Britain Today. 


Having earned a Masters of Fine Art in Miniature Painting, Elena was taught the extraordinary egg tempera medium at the renowned Palekh Art College, Russia, where centuries old traditions were inherited from generations of icon writers by generations of fine artists.


​Over the years, Elena developed her own new style of painting, perfecting and championing the mesmerizing egg tempera fine art medium in our modern society. 


In 2013 she co-founded Egg Tempera Movement with Anastasia Elena Baranoff, in an effort to revitalize the rare fine art tradition. 
THE PORTRAIT is her feature film début.

Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nikolai Gogol, one of the most mysterious authors in all of Russian literature, was born in Velykie Sorochentsi, Mirghorodskiy District of the Russian Empire to a family of landowning gentry. Named after Saint Nicholas The Wonderworker, Nikolai was baptized in the Church of the Transfiguration and spent his boyhood on an ancestral estate in the colorful and folklore rich Cossack Malorussian countryside. Young Gogol grew up an imaginative and artistic child, helping stage plays in his uncle's home theater, much like his father Vasiliy Gogol-Yanovskiy, an enthusiastic amateur dramaturge, actor and conductor.


At the age of twelve Nikolai was sent off to Nezhyn School, a boarding school of higher education for boys, where the usually secretive and shy "Mysterious Karla", as he was called by his peers, became known for his sharp tongue and brilliant mimicry, proving himself an exceptionally gifted comedic stage actor. His smashing performances in the roles of old men and women particularly has the audience "spinning in the aisles".


​Gogol excelled at drawing, acted as a stage designer, and contributed prose and poetry to the school magazine. Unlike most boys, deep down Nikolai knew that an unusual destiny awaited him, often referencing to signs, in which he firmly believed.


Upon concluding his studies in 1828, Nikolai, full of noble ideas, set out for a new life in Saint Petersburg. After a time of hardship, inability to secure a proper post, and finally spending time as a clerk in various departmental offices, Gogol became frustrated with his career. Fate had a different path for the young man to follow.


Nikolai felt that his most noble calling was to write. Sensing a growing interest in all things Malorussian, its folklore and country life, Gogol inspiringly wrote and published his first volume of short stories Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka in 1831. The vivid prose were instantaneously successful with readers and avant-garde literary circles alike. During this time Gogol was exceptionally prolific, writing with much spirit and zeal. 


Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka is shortly succeeded by a second installment entitled Mirgorod, and a collection of stories Arabesques. Nikolai introduced himself to the literary elite and became a close acquaintance of his hero, the great Russian poet Aleksander Pushkin, and Vasiliy Zhukovsky, a poet and foremost leading figure in Russian literature. In 1836, his comedy The Inspector General (Revizor) had its premiere on the Saint Petersburg and Moscow stages. 


That same year Gogol commenced his European travels, visiting Germany, Switzerland, France, and eventually stopped his sights on Italy, where during the next 12 years he resided in his beloved Rome. In the splendor of the eternal city Gogol completed his work on Dead Souls (Mertvye Dushi), wrote RomeThe Overcoat (Shinel), the play Marriage (Zhenidba) and others. 


His short story The Portrait was first published in Arabesques. Initially written between 1833-1834, Gogol considerably rewrote the story between 1841-42 while in Rome and republished it in its new form in the magazine The Contemporary. During his life in Italy he befriended his close neighbor and one of the greatest Russian fine artists Alexander Ivanov, spending much time in his art studio.


A painter with words, Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol established himself as the greatest satirist and mystic, fearlessly and truthfully analyzing life and its characters in the most unconventional ways. Sculpting bold caricature personalities, supernatural metamorphoses, and unexpected worlds in his deeply original Gogolesque style.

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Synopsis

In 19th century Imperial Saint Petersburg two stories intertwine around a portrait painting to reveal a psychological tale of human nature. 

Gifted, impoverished fine artist Andrei Chartkov is on the verge of perfecting his talent, until one day he is endowed with riches mystically appearing in his life by the force of a lifelike portrait he unexpectedly stumbles upon in an art shop. 


Yearning for popularity and beguiled by the luster of gold, Andrei embarks on a whirlwind journey that changes the course of his entire existence.


The mysterious painting is revealed to be an image of a Moneylender. 


Years before, on a quest for eternal existence, the Moneylender commissions Alexei Pravdin, a devout icon writer, to paint his very likeness.  

Twisting together three time periods, through deep drama, sharp satire and poetic lyricism, The Portrait explores themes of artistic and human integrity, fame, principles, the wrong and right choices in life and the struggle between them. 


The Portrait is an upcoming feature film, based on a short story "The Portrait" by celebrated 19th century author and playwright 

Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol.  

Press

PERIODFILM.RU

February 18, 2016

SIMON CALLOW SHALL PLAY IN RUSSIAN DRAMA "THE PORTRAIT"

BRITSHOWS.COM

February 16, 2016


BRITS TO STAR IN GOGOL ADAPTATION 

SCREENDAILY

February 12, 2016

Berlinale | Berlin Film Festival 2016


SIMON CALLOW SITS FOR PORTRAIT

KINODATA.PRO

February 12, 2016


GOGOL FILM ADAPTATION 

"THE PORTRAIT"

RUSSIANART+CULTURE

January 26, 2016 


GOGOL'S "THE PORTRAIT" ADAPTED FOR THE SCREEN BY AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF TALENTS


July 4, 2014


 GOGOL'S SHORT STORY "THE PORTRAIT" TO BE MADE INTO A FEATURE FILM

SCREENDAILY

June 24, 2014


GOGOL ADAPTATIONS

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