Butterflies of Trip City

short film


In a post-apocalyptic world of Trip City any contact with nature is against the law, for one exception: you may keep the butterflies in cages. TV controls the minds of the decayed inhabitants of the city, while their speech is limited to a few made-up sounds and words. Moarah, a seemingly ordinary factory-working girl, quietly protests the absurdism of her everyday life by keeping a forbidden item at home. But what does it take to be different? 

Production Type: Short fiction

Genre: Drama, experimental, surreal, magical realism, post-apocalyptic
Running Time: 14 mins 20 sec
Year: 2011
Language: Imaginary

Written/directed by: Nika Belianina

Produced by: Clark Johnson, Nika Belianina

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"Her (Nika Belianina's) extraordinary film "Butterflies of Trip City" stands out from the competition (Kinotavr Film Festival) with an unconventional, impressionistic story, but also because of its costumes and its use of mixed media. Belianina has created a series of images that could be a hallucination, or an apocalyptic vision of the future: a world in which nature is seen as evil and butterflies are kept in cages—with all the interpretations in terms of environmentalist issues and the suppression of individuality in the modern world that go with it. Protest is not welcome, and everything that cannot be controlled must therefore be destroyed, including nature. Belianina suggests the departure from the norm as necessary for happiness and freedom."

Birgit Beumers, 
University of Bristol 
Nancy Condee
, University of Pittsburgh

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  • Sharjan International Children's Film Festival, United Arab Emirates, 2015

  • BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM at World Arts Film Festival, USA, 2013

  • 53rd Rochester International Film Festival, USA

  • 35th Atlanta Film Festival, USA

  • 22nd Kinotavr Film Festival, Russia

  • 14th DeboshirFilm-Pure Dreams Film Festival, Russia

  • 10th Coney Island Film Festival, USA

  • Russian Canadian Film Festival, Canada

  • Alternative Fashion Toronto arts festival, Canada

  • Thematic screenings in Russia

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Stills from the film
and behind the scenes
by Martha Guy

Fun Fact:

Original score recorded and composed

in four different countries on three continents -

Russia, UAE, Canada and Switzerland

Starring: Gergana Zabunova, Geza Kovacs, Tabby Johnson, Stefani Kimber and Christabel

D.O.P. Jonathan Bensimon

Production designer: Diana Abbatangelo

Costume designer: Andrienne Baker

Editor: Erin Martell

Sound designer: Steve Cupani

Film generously supported by

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© 2020  by Nika Belianina

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