Age category
Varka is 13, she lives in a shoemaker’s home where she performs the duties of nanny and housemaid. She’s exhausted by a lack of sleep and what amounts to slave labor. Getting some sleep becomes Varka’s only wish. But they never let her. The baby’s crying becomes the girl’s worst nightmare. One day, Varka finds a solution to her problem.
Igor Voloshin Igor Voloshin:

«I normally work with live action, and this is my animated debut. There are certain themes, plots, and stories that live inside you always. They enter your home like an uninvited guest and stay there forever. Like a shock you’ve experienced. The story I adapted, by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, is an open sore that’s troubled me for many years. But I didn’t want to shoot it as a live action film due to the incredible cruelty depicted by the author. It’s more horrifying than «Medea». Animation is more abstract. It has a different energy. I tried to use this incredible art form to tell the story of an unfortunate child who’s found herself in the horrifying world of adults, of people who exploit child labor.
Igor Voloshin The protagonist of this story is a thirteen-year-old girl who’s had her childhood taken away from her. When you’re working with material where the killer is an adult, you arrange it morally into genre cinema. But how do we react when a child becomes a killer? That’s what I’ve been trying to get a handle on. It’s been many years since I first read the story, but when I became the father of two children, it came back to me. I wrote a script and waited to bring it to life.

In the world of animation, the director’s not the one assigning tasks but the one given tasks. There’s an army of artists and animators who know human anatomy and mother nature like the back of their hands, and they’ll challenge you. And you can’t make any mistakes. You must give birth to a world in its ideal form from the first try; make one mistake, and that means redoing half a year’s work. If things don’t work out (this isn’t cheap to do), it’ll torment you for the rest of your life. Once the process begins, you meet with artists who see the world the same way you do. They create miracles from the first sketch to the last design. You also have greater responsibility than you do with live-action films.

My method is to keep track of the art that flows through my veins like icebergs. And to focus on one of them: the one that struck me, that shocked my soul. This shock, this firing-up of my inner self, gets baked into forms of renaissance, or of post-apocalypse. Of whatever I’ve amassed at a given moment. Next, I’ll be seeking out partners in the international market to shoot an animated feature with international potential, something that would attract both large festivals and a general audience. My dream has come true: I’ve entered the world of animation, and now I can’t do without it. I am a visionary. I think of animation as an opportunity to create an ideal world. And it works!

Nobody has the right to keep «others» in slavery, much less children. Physical and mental abuse of children is a crime. Unfortunately, it is timeless. It is still going on. And we have to talk about it. If not shout. This film is a shout in that direction".
Poster of «Sleepy»