Ivanna Sakhno made a name for herself through a series of roles in Ukrainian television shows and movies. She’s been a part of two Hollywood blockbusters, Pacific Rim: Uprising and The Spy Who Dumped Me. In her latest release, LET IT SNOW, she plays a young woman named Mia, who finds herself alone on a restricted slope, facing a masked snowmobile rider.
The thriller arrived on DVD, Digital, and On-Demand Tuesday. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview her, via email, about the film, the genre she’d like to tackle next, and the way she’s remained creative amidst a pandemic.
What drew you to LET IT SNOW?
Ivanna Sakhno: The chance to challenge yourself. This story and the filming process brought a decent amount of physical and mental challenges - something that I’ve wanted to do for a while, as well as getting to work with a Ukrainian film director (Stanislav Kapralov).
Growing up, did you love horror films or were you scared of them? What made them fun or scary?
Ivanna Sakhno: My nervous system is quite gentle when it comes to horror films - watching them is different from creating one. I think what makes it scary is the attachment that I feel to a story, at times one feels too involved in the moment of watching the film and forgets the difference between their own reality and the film’s storyline. So, growing up, and maybe to this day, the only thing that would help to see the barrier between the two would be occasional hands over eyes and thumbs in the ears. [laughing]
Your character in LET IT SNOW is alone frequently. How was that challenging in terms of acting?
Ivanna Sakhno: The lonesome aspect of the storyline was rather interesting to get to be part of. The more challenging, but expected, parts of the process were exceptionally cold weather, altitude sickness , and lack of sleep.
What was your favorite scene to do in the film?
Ivanna Sakhno: A particular scene, the making of which stays close to my heart to this day, was in the house on the hill, a specific moment of Mia’s interaction with the chicken. The moment in the film lasted a couple of seconds, but it led to a nearly month-long friendship and co-living in the same apartment. The chicken, who I decided to bring home with me whilst looking for a permanent family, went on to become a dear companion and somebody who I had shared many late-night Georgian dinners with.
What’s another genre you would like to explore and why?
Ivanna Sakhno: It always depends on the story and character rather than a particular genre. I hope to be able to keep exploring different narratives in the realm of storytelling and keep learning with and from the people I get to tell them with.
I thought you were fantastic as Kat in ”High Fidelity”, and I would love to see you in another show. What are you looking for in your next television role?
Ivanna Sakhno: I am currently working on a new Netflix show that we began pre-production for in Madrid before the pandemic hit. So we, like most of the industry, are just waiting to be back when it is safe to do so. In any role, be it Television or Film, I look for authenticity and a chance to bring something valuable into the story.
With movie and television production only now beginning to resume, how have you found a way to be creative in the pandemic?
Ivanna Sakhno: I’ve been writing quite a bit with my mother which, above my love and respect for her as an artist and friend, has been a wonderful way to stay connected during [the] quarantine. I have a deep desire to get the chance to work with her and to finally create something together. This story is an environmental satire and will be my second time getting to step into a project as a producer.
It’s a whole other realm that requires a different side of understating the process, one that I am grateful to discover with people that are willing to share their life experiences with me to learn from.
I feel like I’ve learned a lot of new things about me during this time. What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself?
Ivanna Sakhno: Having moved to the States at 15, spending time on my own has always been something that I’m used to and quite a zone of comfort, so that aspect of quarantine in New York hasn’t been difficult. It allowed me to focus and understand what it is I want to put my energy and time into going further. Considering myself a rather extroverted introvert, something that I’ve been able to learn is how much I value the people surrounding me and cherish their physical presence in my life, which I consider a gift for one to truly understand.
LET IT SNOW is now available on DVD, Digital, and On-Demand from Lionsgate.