What’s the Norm?

Interview with Evgeny Byalo

Pooyan Tabatabaei

Evgeny Byalo is the director of The Norm of Life,  screened at EBIFF 2015.

“Egor comes home. At home he encounters a tragedy. Gradually he begins to sensetrue reasons. He realizes that it is only his personal tragedy and the life has a different value for everyone.”

Thank you Evgeny, can you please tell me how did you get started in film?

That was a real story. A friend of mind told me about it. Once when the party was over, we talked and he had shared his feelings on the situation he was passing through that time. I was shocked. I realized right away that it would be the main topic of my graduation film.

 What was the production process that went behind bringing your film to life?

I was all in one. A producer, an author, a manager of the whole production process as well as a director, all on my own. So then I had a valuable experience, which gave so much to me.

In a few sentences, describe your artistic vision when creating films.

In essence, you need to find, to discover, and to express your own nature. That is it all.

What recognition or awards has your selected film, received?


  • Diploma of the winner of the competition program “Kinotavr. Shorts” («For coming back home»). Open Russian Film Festival “KINOTAVR”, Russia, 2013
  • Special jury prize at the main competition in Fiction Films category for «Understanding the unacceptable norm of life». International Short and Animation Film Festival «Open Cinema», Russia, 2013
  • Award Winner – International Tarkovsky Award in Poetry and Cinematography, Ukraine, 2013
  • Best dramaturgy – Film Festival “Kadr, Vpered!”, Russia, 2013
  • Diploma of a jury member Pauline Raudson – International Independent Film Festival “DeboshirFilm – Chistye Grezy”, Russia, 2013


  • Cinefondation, parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival, France, 2013
  • Almaty International Film Festival “Zvezdy Shakena”, Kazakhstan, 2013
  • VII International Andrei Tarkovsky Film Festival «Zerkalo», Russia, 2013
  • Program of Russian Short films at the 35th Moscow International Film Festival, Russia, 2013
  • Shortini Film Festival, Italy, 2013
  • Non-competition program at the Russian Shukshin Film Festival, Russia, 2013
  • Russian Film Week in Toronto, Canada, 2013
  • 12th International Kansk Video Festival, Russia, 2013
  • XII St.Petersburg International Festival of Debut and Student Films “Nachalo”, Russia, 2013
  • 2nd Yaroslavl International Short Film Festival “Kadr, Vpered!” – Non-competition program «From Cannes to Yaroslavl», Russia, 2013
  • Film Festival Cottbus, Germany, 2013
  • KONIK Film-Festival, Russia, 2013
  • Tofifest International Film Festival, Poland, 2013
  • International Human Rights Film Festival “Steps”, Ukraine, 2013 – non-competition program
  • Real Heroes Festival, Russia, 2013
  • Kyrgyzstan – the country of short films, Kyrgyzstan, 2013 – non-competition program
  • Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, USA, 2014

What’s it like to have your film in a festival (EBIFF) that appeals to so many cultures?

I found it so pleasing to be a part of the festival. I really appreciate to contribute my film to festival in North Аmerica, namely in Toronto, the city where a huge amount of different cultures are combined. It’s a great pleasure to introduce my vision of the culture which I was born and raised in.

What kind of message are you trying to convey to your fans here in Toronto?

Right now everything in Russia is so controversial. Nevertheless, there have always been the intelligent and aware people who are keeping up to date.

What awards, accolades, and recognition have you and your films received over your career?

This film was my graduation work. Before, I made mostly short documentaries. The matter was that I shot previous films for myself and never promoted any of them. That’s why this film was my main work that got some official feedback.

What are some ongoing or upcoming projects you are working on?

At the moment I am writing the script for a full-length film which is expected to a social, psychologic drama. At the same time I’m taking part in many filmmaking projects, and, of course, go on shooting short documentaries.

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