Sasha Elaun is a native of Moldova who has achieved incredible heights in Hollywood. Winner of 15 awards in the field of cinematography, he is one of the most successful producers who has already worked with stars of the first magnitude – Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, Sharon Stone, and many others.
In an interview with Denis Roshka, the author of the “Golden Book” – which absorbed the biographies of 1800 of our compatriots who wrote history and achieved successes that are sometimes unknown to us, he told his story about how the “kitchen” of world cinema is arranged, shared the secrets of producing, and how he works with overseas celebrities.
He was born in Chisinau but moved to the United States with his parents at an early age.
“When I was six years old, I already knew that I wanted to work in the film industry. And when we moved to America, I said I would study English. I watched a lot of films, I had a whole library of different movies, and in this way, I learned English. There was a film school in Los Angeles, but my dad was an engineer, and my mom was a chemist. And when we moved, my parents said that to achieve some success in this area, the family must be from the film industry, or there must be a lot of money. We didn’t have one or the other. We moved to the US as refugees in 1991 when the Soviet Union was collapsing. We had 20 dollars for the whole family, and my parents sold: the house, the “Moskvich” and a black and white TV – to survive in the USA.”
Sasha’s most vivid childhood memory of Moldova is an earthquake.
The parents wanted the boy to connect his life with mathematics. They were going to send him to a mathematical camp to study computer algorithms, they taught him to play chess, and they considered the hobby of cinema just a hobby.
“Even at school, I told the class about different news, we made different videos, and we even created our team. Later, at the university, I wanted to enter one of the cinematographic schools since there were many of them, and there was also mathematics, but I agreed with my parents that I would go to psychology, and, in general, I started with psychology. I ended up at Boston University, first at Brandeis University, where my mother taught chemistry. And then we agreed that I would try to make a film, and if I succeed then, I will continue to do this. I created a class and promoted it to get into Boston University, where there were more opportunities and connections in the film industry. I did two transfers in a row: the first was in Australia, where I went to the Sydney festival, and the second was in Los Angeles”, he said.
These two projects gave him a chance to express himself. According to Sasha, he worked in Los Angeles under the Los Angeles Internship program, but it was not so easy there: he didn’t know anyone, but he was invited for an interview. As it turned out, it was an ABC representative office. The young man had no experience in this area, it became a very hard school for him, but it gave him a chance to advance. He started working with such well-known film companies as ABC and Paramount, and he began to succeed more and more. He started with low-budget short films and then grew to full-fledged large-scale box office films.
He also shared how he worked with Nicolas Cage and other stars.
“In 2021, I approached Nicolas Cage for a western. He had never acted in a film like this before. Later, he said in an interview that no one offered him to act in this genre, and when he was 40, I offered him something new,” he said.