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  • Jared Huizenga

TCFF Red Carpet: The Soviet Sleep Experiment

People expect Chris Kattan to be funny. That’ll happen when you spend the better part of a decade on ‘Saturday Night Live’ creating memorable characters like Mango and Doug Butabi.

But if you dive a little deeper into his resume, you’ll find diverse offerings like ‘House on Haunted Hill’ and ‘Tanner Hall.’ You’ll also find director Barry Andersson’s latest flick, the thriller ‘The Soviet Sleep Experiment,’ which got its world premiere at the 2019 Twin Cities Film Fest.


“I first heard about it from my brother, Andrew Joslyn, who did the score,” Kattan said. “He’s the one that turned me onto it. He said that Barry was interested [in me] being in this film. So, I read the script, talked to Barry about it and we talked about the characters and what character might work best for me and then I flew out and filmed it.”

Filmed last winter in Lakeville, the film is set in 1940s Russia and follows researchers Dr. Anna Antonoff (Eva De Dominici) and Dr. Leo Antonoff (Rafal Zawierucha) as they use an experimental gas-based stimulant to keep four test subjects (played by Kattan, Paul Cram, Charles Hubbell, and Michael Villar) awake for 30 days. Isolated from anything not related to the study – minus a Russian soldier (Evgeny Krutov) whose sole purpose is to keep the experiment moving – the doctors must decide when/if things have gone too far … which they quickly do.

Andersson, whose previous film ‘The Lumber Baron’ won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2018 Twin Cities Film Fest, said it was the story and its genre-crossing that drew him to the project.

“I think what attracted us to it is it’s kind of a thriller genre, kind of touches on horror, but what we loved is that there was these characters in the movie that were put in a situation where they were told half-lies, lies, not-truths and everyone just kind of starts guessing at what’s going on,” he said. “And that cascading effect of ‘what happens?’ and by the end everything gets out of control … it’s almost like a ‘Twilight Zone’ philosophy question of “what happens if?”

The film, which is line with a popular internet urban legend, showcases its stars as they devolve into madness and burns slowly until a frantic and unexpected ending, which is something the films biggest star could see himself doing more of … provided this one turns out well.

“If it comes out well,” Kattan joked about taking on more dramatic or serious roles. “I always like to do some dramatic roles, that’d be fun.”

Watch ‘The Soviet Sleep Experiment’ trailer here.

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