Dreams really do come true when we keep our faith and work hard toward our goals.
Jenia Tanaeva is a perfect example of this. From living in the communism regime in Russia to moving to America as a single mom of two girls, Jenia’s story is a real-life modern Cinderella story, only it’s the single mom version.
Originally from Saint Petersburg, Russia, Jenia moved to America with her two daughters Anya and Alina in hopes of a better life. She settled her family in Los Angeles. Not knowing anyone in their new home city, Jenia spent a lot of time watching films with her children.
That was when she discovered the 1957 film An Affair to Remember (starring Cary Grant and Deborah Ker). The film had a huge impact on Jenia and became an inspiration for her writing her own film called See You Soon.
“I remember when I watched An Affair to Remember for the first time on the plane,” Jenia said in an email interview with Good Life Detroit. “The movie ended and a few minutes later I was still crying. And I’m really not a crier. It moved me so much how two people inspired by the beautiful feeling for each other become motivated to change their lives for better, to become better, more complete, and how they stick to their word.”
Jenia’s Dream Comes True
Jenia’s had an amazing opportunity to meet with a Warner Bros. executive, which then led to her meeting with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Mr. Eisner loved Jenia’s script for See You Soon and gave her notes on the film.
Now Jenia’s dream has come to fruition as her film has finished filming in Europe and Russia and is expected for early release in 2018.
Jenia wrote, produced, and stars in See You Soon– a modern-day love story about an unlikely romance between two people who against all odds give true love a chance. Academy Award-winning actor Harvey Keitel (Taxi Driver, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Poppy Drayton (Downton Abbey, Little Mermaid remake), and Liam McIntyre (Starz’ Spartacus) also star in the film.
Jenia shares with Good Life Detroit her experience creating her film See You Soon and what advice she would give women to achieve their dreams just like she has!
GLD: What was it like filming in Europe and Russia?
JT: We filmed in 3 countries: Greece, Romania, and Russia, and it was three different experiences. People in Greece were so warm, very kind, and caring. We were in Halkidiki, on a very beautiful location by the beach. It was a great and a very pleasant experience.
In Romania, we had 12 hour days and filmed 6 days a week. We were really tired at times, but the whole crew was so friendly and hardworking. I’m very thankful to these people. It was just more of a hard work for our whole team.
And of course, filming in Saint Petersburg was very special for me. It’s my city. I was born there and I love it with all my heart.
One of my big goals for the movie was to put St. Petersburg on the big screen and to show people in different parts of the world how special and beautiful this city is. So it was extra inspiring to shoot in my favorite locations of the city. And I have to say that overall, I really enjoyed every day on set, every scene, every bit of filming See You Soon. I’m so thankful to my whole team for turning my dream into reality.
GLD: What inspires your creative passion?
JT: With what I do and create, I really want to be able to warm people’s hearts, to inspire them to make good changes in their life, to help them believe in good – in love – and that happy endings exist! And that’s a huge motivation and inspiration for me. I put certain things in my stories that I think are important and want to be able to deliver those to others in the most beautiful and pleasant way.
GLD: What is the most important aspect of building a great character?
JT: The changes that happen to the character. In the beginning of each story, the characters are a certain way. When they are going through their journey they transform and through that transformation of the character their lives change.
Believe in your dream. Believe in yourself. Please know that it’s absolutely possible, and take action! “In order to get something you never had before, you have to DO something you’ve never done before.” It’s very important to understand this and not to be afraid of failure. — Jenia Tanaeva
GLD: How do you encourage your own children to achieve their goals and dreams?
JT: I love this quote: “If you can dream it you can achieve it”. I always tell them that everything is possible. It’s so important to believe in it! Because whatever we believe in becomes our reality.
I tell them that dreams are the goals with deadlines. You have to identify what it is that you want. Understand what is already in place in order to make it happen and the missing ingredients. And then, you identify your first step and move!
GLD: What advice would you give mothers, or women in general, who are wanting to achieve their dreams?
JT: Believe in your dream. Believe in yourself. Please know that it’s absolutely possible, and take action! “In order to get something you never had before, you have to DO something you’ve never done before.” It’s very important to understand this and not to be afraid of failure.
Just start doing whatever you can to make your dream into reality. Do something every day. Even a tiny step– a little thing. Remember that doubts and fears killed more dreams than failure ever could. Don’t let that happen to your dream.
GLD: Do you have any other exciting projects coming up?
JT: I do have some ideas. Of course. But right now I focus 100% of my energy on See You Soon. I want to give all I’ve got to this project that I love with all my heart. And when the movie is out, I’ll start cooking something else.
Visit Jenia’s official website to learn more about See You Soon and her upcoming projects.
Special thanks to Jenia Tanaeva for sharing her heartwarming story and experiences with Good Life Detroit!