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When a young actor dies before their time, their memory can often find itself attached to the manner of their death, rather than the talent, energy, spark and creativity of their short life. This obsession with the final moments of a public figure has haunted the memory of actors ranging from River Phoenix to Paul Walker and Heath Ledger. And the tragic loss of Anton Yelchin in 2016 from a random accident is no different. A faulty jeep and immovable gate erasing one of the brightest lights in modern film in a single devastating moment. But Love, Antosha has no intention of dwelling on the tragedy of Anton’s death. Instead, this beautiful documentary opts to celebrate his creativity, talent, artistry and enthusiasm for film.
Director Garret Price’s heartfelt and loving documentary celebrates one of the finest young actors of his generation. A young man who was continually and unfairly referred to as a rising star, despite an extensive body of work that equalled many Hollywood legends by the age of twenty-seven. Garret tells Anton’s story through friends, family, home video footage, diary readings and photography. Providing a kaleidoscope of emotion, love and honesty that embodies Anton’s life, energy and talent. Ultimately reflecting the character of a young man who transcended the label of a ‘Hollywood star’.
The only son of Russian figure skaters Irina and Viktor Yelchin, Anton or Antosha benefited greatly from the new life his parents has sought in America. The couple had left their home country after Antosha’s birth due to rising antisemitism. And despite the families difficult decision to leave Russia, the joy of giving their only son the freedom to create and achieve replaced any concerns. And it wasn’t long before the energetic young Antosha found his love of art, creativity and acting. His passion and drive leading to acting lessons followed by commercials and eventually TV roles.
Antosha thrived on learning, experimentation and artistic flare. His passion for movies, filming and photography growing as he progressed from boy to teen. Here, Price reflects this transition beautifully through the lens of old home videos Anton made with friends. While his engaging, entertaining and confident monologues in his bedroom echoed a deep-seated love of literature, music and drama. However, this love of film was all-encompassing for Anton; every stage of the filmmaking process explored and understood from direction to photography, music and performance. And by the time he reached his twenties, Anton experimented with photography and music alongside his acting roles. But sitting behind this was a deep secret, one that Anton himself did not know until his teens; his Cystic Fibrosis.
One can only imagine the effect this diagnosis must have had on his vision of the world around him. His chronic and incurable condition walking alongside him through every performance. But, his desire to experience and love the world around him eclipsed the potential barriers he faced. And although Love, Antosha never shy’s away from reflecting his darker moments, these are embedded in his relentless desire to live life to the maximum. His creativity and need for expression pushing him to achieve far more than many of his contemporaries.
Throughout his career, Anton Yelchin appeared in 69 films and TV shows. His body of work ranging from Taken to Star Trek, Hearts in Atlantis and Like Crazy. His passion, drive and talent, creating an extraordinary and eternal collection of film, music and TV. And while we may never know the director, he would have become through his self-penned screenplay, Travis. Anton continues to inspire new generations of actors and filmmakers. And just like River Phoenix, his light and talent will continue to echo through the decades to come.
Directed By: Garret Price