Crystal Swan


Twenty-two-year-old Evelina, also known as Velya, is a law school grad who enjoys living in her native Minsk, Belarus. However, Velya’s real passions are music and travel and her dream is to go to the USA and live as a DJ.
In order to get a visa, she must prove she has a steady job — which is easier said than done in the middle of an economic crisis. The country is struggling with unemployment and people are being paid in kind. As Velya searches for work, her friends and family are trying to convince her to stay in Minsk (“A person should live in her motherland”), but she remains adamant about leaving. “Nothing will ever change here,” she explains.
In 1990s post-Soviet Belarus, her dream is more realistic than it has ever been before. When filling in a US visa application, Velya uses a random phone number, only to discover that the consulate plans to ring it. Velya finds herself in a small factory town, where she has to wait by the phone of a family she’s never met before. As her zest for freedom clashes with the small-town mentality of sticking to your own, Velya’s own vitality risks being dulled.
The film premiered at this year’s Karlovy Vary competition section East of the West. and will be the Belarusian entry for the Academy Awards.

  • Year:
  • Runtime:
    95 min.
  • Country:
    Belarus, Germany, USA, Russia
  • Director:
    Darya Zhuk
  • Screenplay:
    Helga Landauer, Darya Zhuk
  • Dir. of Photography:
    Carolina Costa
  • Editor:
    Sergey Dmitrenko, Michal Leszczylowski
  • Cast:
    Alina Nasibullina, Ivan Mulin, Yury Borisov, Svetlana Anikey, Ilya Kapanets
  • Production:
    Turnstyle TV LLC, Demarsh Films Minsk, Unfound Content, Fusion Features, Vice Media
  • Sales:
    Loco Films
  • Festivals:
    Odesa 2018 (Grand Prix), Almaty 2018 (Grand Prix), Window to Europe Vyborg (Russian Critics Award)

About the Director:

Darya Zhuk

(Belarus) has been obsessing about filmmaking long enough to see her short films selected to a number of respected film festivals. In 2015, she won the best female writer-director award from New York Women in Film and Television, as well as the best short at the oldest film festival in Belarus, Listapad for her The Real American (2015). She is a graduate of Columbia University MFA program in directing. Darya lives and creates between Minsk and Brooklyn. Crystal Swan (Khrustal, 2018) is her first feature fiction film.