Acclaimed Short Film 'Let My Grandpa Into Heaven' Shines a Light on a Child's Journey to Redemption

Alexandra Gross

The world of cinema is a landscape filled with stories. Some are epic in scope, with grandiose narratives that span time and space, while others are more intimate, touching on moments and emotions that we as viewers recognize from our own lives. "Let My Grandpa Into Heaven", a short film directed by Lana Bolycheva, falls into the latter category, but its power and resonance far surpass its length.
The film has received several awards, a testament to its compelling narrative and skillful execution.Photo byLana Bolycheva, "Let My Grandpa Into Heaven"

The film recently received an Official Selection at the Austin Film Festival, followed by the prestigious Grove Film Festival, highlighting the strong response it has generated among audiences and critics. It also bagged the 2020 Winner March Monthly Award for Best Short Film at the New York International Film Awards, a testament to its compelling narrative and skillful execution.

At the heart of the film is Lucas, a six-year-old boy portrayed wonderfully by Beatrice Aguiar Allred. Lucas shares a special bond with his recently deceased grandfather, a bond so strong that upon overhearing his father express anger at the departed soul, saying he should be "burning in hell", Lucas embarks on a mission of his own. He is determined to ensure his beloved grandpa is granted entry into heaven, challenging the concept of the afterlife and traditional beliefs. Watch the official trailer here.
"Let My Grandpa Into Heaven", a short film directed by Lana Bolycheva.Photo byLana Bolycheva, "Let My Grandpa Into Heaven"

This plot explores themes of love, grief, and the innocence of a child's interpretation of life and death. Although a short film, it offers a nuanced narrative that is thought-provoking. Kevin Loreque, Christina Farah, and Anton Obeid also star in this impactful film, offering performances that are both genuine and memorable.

The magic of "Let My Grandpa Into Heaven" is woven together by its director and co-writer, Lana Bolycheva. Born in the USSR three years before its dissolution, Lana's childhood was shaped by a time of tumultuous change. This period sparked her passion for the arts, leading her to theater, cinema, and literature, and ultimately to a career in film production in 2011.

Her experiences not only shaped her worldview but also deeply influenced her approach to storytelling. Bolycheva's works are hallmarked by their authenticity and depth, both of which are apparent in "Let My Grandpa Into Heaven". It's a film that resonates with audiences on multiple levels, reflecting Lana's compassionate cinematic voice and her ability to connect with viewers through shared human experiences.
Let My Grandpa Into Heaven", is an award winning short film directed by Lana Bolycheva.Photo byLana Bolycheva, "Let My Grandpa Into Heaven"

"I believe that every frame I capture is part of a meaningful story that I am passionate to tell. Even in a short film, there's an opportunity to capture emotion, resilience, and transformation, and even a bit of humor," Bolycheva shares. "This film is about my deep connection to my grandfather. It really reflects my own experiences as a child."

Lana's journey in the realm of art began with a BA degree from The Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS), where she trained as an actress. She then turned to film, earning her second BA degree at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) as a film director. Her previous work, Kis, was screened internationally and won special jury awards at Etiuda & Anima International Film Festival, Poland, and the Best Cinematography award at the Vancouver Women in Film Festival, Canada.

Now, as an MFA candidate at the prestigious New York University Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Film program, Lana is already hard at work on her next project, a feature film titled "Dysphoria." Given the critical acclaim "Let My Grandpa Into Heaven" has garnered, audiences eagerly anticipate the arrival of her new film.

"Let My Grandpa Into Heaven" is a testament to Lana Bolycheva's storytelling prowess, a poignant narrative that touches the heart and challenges conventional beliefs. It's a reminder that often powerful stories are close to our own experiences. We learn that that a child's journey can offer a perspective that is deeply enlightening, profoundly moving, and humorous.

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