How Dasha Nekrasova pulls the strings

You know how some people always talk about wanting to make a movie and co-host a popular podcast and be on the hottest show on TV? Some...


You know how some people always talk about wanting to make a movie and co-host a popular podcast and be on the hottest show on TV? Someone did all of these things: Dasha Nekrasova.

Nekrasova, 30, is a self-proclaimed provocateur and great artistic thinker that fans of the recently completed The season of “Succession” will recognize as Comfrey, the crisis PR representative put in hell by Kendall Roy. Before that, she was best known for Red fear, an irreverent cultural critic podcast that she co-hosts with her friend Anna Khachiyan.

She first gained public attention via a “Woman on the Street” interview with InfoWars that went viral, and her interest in conspiracy theories can be confusing to some fans even if she has friends defending her. But it is this interest that underlies “The scary of the sixty-first”, her first feature film, in which she starred and also wrote, starring Madeline Quinn.

The film (now in theaters and out December 24 on digital platforms) is a shady, rambling horror film about young roommates, played by Betsey Brown and Nekrasova’s collaborator Quinn, who move into an apartment in the Upper East Side.

But not just any apartment: It once belonged to Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier who committed suicide in prison after his arrest for sex trafficking in 2019.

Nekrasova said she decided to make an Epstein-centric horror film because she was “obsessed” with his death. “It broke my brain, in a way,” she said in a telephone interview. Nekrasova believes, just like her character in the film, that Epstein – “based on my research,” she said – did not die by suicide but was killed.

“My interest in film and Jeffrey Epstein matched the genre,” she said. “Besides being preoccupied with it already, it was a good way to tell the story. It was so scary. It was so monstrous.

In the film, Nekrasova plays a young woman whose obsession with Epstein’s death, and the many conspiracy theories surrounding him, grows as a demonic force transforms the characters into mini-cauldrons of paranoia, sexual mania and butchery. Shot in 16 millimeters, the film feels like a low-fi escape from Sundance circa 1991 and is reminiscent of the gritty thrillers of the renegade filmmaker. Abel Ferrara, which Nekrasova cites as inspiration.

“The Scary of Sixty-First” receives a mixture of critical responses. Its co-star, Brown, said that as dark as the film is, it is “a game to watch” with an audience, especially those drawn to horror, because “he says we can take the nonsense of this disgusting man and laughter “of discomfort.

“Dasha is doing something cathartic,” she said.

In conversation, Nekrasova comes across as definitional Gen X even though she’s a millennial – a disgruntled and deceitful slacker without ambition with a no matter ethos that is also intensely interested in understanding people with whom she does not agree.

Nekrasova was born in Minsk, Belarus, and moved with her parents several times, most notably to Las Vegas, where she attended high school for the performing arts. She said she started to love horror after watching a trailer for “The Exorcist” and seeing Linda Blair get off. stairs in a backbend.

“It really took hold in my consciousness,” she said.

Nekrasova went viral in 2018 for a video in which an Infowars correspondent cornered her at South by Southwest for a interview on socialism. Nekrasova handled the gotcha exchange with coolness, but also with a “girl, please” detachment. In the video, she wears a fitted sailor top, as if on hiatus after a rehearsal of ‘Anything Goes’, which led to social media calling her Marine socialism.

“It happened around the time I started my podcast, and it helped the audience we were able to amass,” she said. “I’m glad people still enjoy it. “

Three years later, the video doesn’t come across as as much of an act of sabotage against Infowars as it does a cute encounter: In November, Nekrasova posted a photo on Instagram of her and Khachiyan playfully flanking Alex Jones, the Infowars host who spread false stories about the deadly 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and was sued for libel by the families of 10 victims, all of whom he lost. Nekrasova and Khachiyan also published an interview with Jones and Alex Lee Moyer, the director of a documentary on the far-right broadcaster.

In the next episode, Nekrasova called Jones an “incredible artist” and wondered if her beliefs about the Sandy Hook shooting might not have been a psychotic episode triggered by her own childhood traumas. .

She maintains her point of view even as some of her social media followers whitewash. (“Oooof that’s not a good look”, one commentator noted.)

“I think so, he’s an artist,” she said over the phone. “He is in this space where few people are. He is between an expert and an interpreter.”

Director Alex Ross Perry (” His smell “), a friend of Nekrasova’s, calls it an “intrinsic contradiction”, like a live issue of the news magazine The Week.

“One paragraph is a very pro-Bernie Sanders perspective from a newspaper and the next is a Tory newspaper that tells you what’s wrong with what you just read,” said Perry, who moderate a Q. and A. with Nekrasova on Saturday after a screening of her film in Manhattan. “I like it – hearing the thing you hear a lot, followed by a very thoughtful deconstruction of why it might be nonsense, followed by the admission that it might be nonsense because we are powerless in it. this system, which is kind of what she the movie is talking about.

Brown posits that Nekrasova “provokes people not to understand her” to emphasize “the fact that you cannot understand someone based on who she decides to interview.”

“To capture your whole being,” said Brown, “is to recognize that people are complicated, and you can say one thing but also not mean it in a few weeks and it’s not the end of the world.”

Political provocateur, seeker of truth, avid pamphlet, outraged creator: Nekrasova takes the lead from four points of view.

“We are in a time when everything is shiny and overproduced, and seeing something being a little raw or improvised or DIY feels like a throwback to an old time,” Nekrasova said. “People talk about culture wars, but this is not the first time that we are in a culture war. “



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