San Francisco IndieFest 2024

I Want To Live On Mars + Q&A

Expired February 19, 2024 7:59 AM
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In broad strokes, two young women (Pickles, very rural, and Breezy, very urban) are brought together by the mistakes or the circumstances of their guardians beyond their control. After months of prickly, unlikely friendship, and a series of poetically unexpected events, the two strike out on their own, leaving behind whatever scraps they had in exurban Pennsylvania in search of "Life on Mars.”

I Want to Live on Mars is a coming-of-age film based in Centralia PA (current population: 9), in which a group of friends embark on a journey to escape life in a small town devastated by disaster. The film captures, among other things, the small-town landscape, and the beauty of not only dreaming big, but the importance of going after it.

Director Statement

I grew up in the middle-of-nowhere Ukraine. I moved to New York on my own when I was a teenager just to test my limits—to see how far I could get as a filmmaker. I was always full of curiosity about people, and about the world. Some years later, I was thinking about moving back home; the New York experience was too overwhelming, and I was way too broke to continue living there. Then the war started. So, I stayed. I didn’t have a TV growing up; we simply couldn’t afford it. My first experience watching TV was at my neighbor’s house. I was about six years old. It was me, and a bunch of other kids from the neighborhood gathered around, looking at the screen, fascinated by all the people living inside, and their stories. Since that day I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker. First black and white—then in color—the magical box stole my heart.

I Want to Live on Mars is an homage to what it’s like being a teenager, and living in the middle of nowhere with no real way of expressing yourself, and no opportunities. The search for the right place to film turned into me moving to Pennsylvania. I scouted Pennsylvania from front to back in search of a perfect location. Until then I didn’t realize how much of it was empty, unkempt, and abandoned. Ukraine and Pennsylvania are very similar in that way. As a filmmaker, I really wanted to explore the aspect of loneliness and emptiness in the human heart, as well as the people, and the environment in which these individuals immerse themselves. Are they going to try and break away from that, or will they let themselves sink into the abyss?

  • Runtime
    80 minutes
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Mariya Somova