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Anastasiia Nikolaieva

Anastasiia Nikolaieva

Motion Pictures & Television / MFA

Asya Nikolaeva is a San Francisco-based film director. She is originally from Ukraine. She graduated from Kiev Institute of Television and Filmmaking (2008) and Moscow Advanced Courses for Screenwriters and Film Directors (2012).

She began her career shooting commercials and music videos for Ukrainian and Russian brands and performers. She spent lots of time in Riga, Latvia, which made her even more interested in European and Scandinavian cultural and art heritage. After participating in the 58th Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale Talent Campus) with her short music film, The Bear, filmed in 16mm, she realized that her true goal and passion is storytelling in feature-length format.

A summer course at the London Film School (2013) gave Asya the opportunity to shoot a short film each week. Immersed in the films of Bergman, Bertolucci, Antonioni, Fellini, directors of French New Wave and Italian Neorealism, Asya was like a sponge, absorbing the unique esthetic and cultural codes that served her as the foundation for shaping her personal aesthetic.

Experiencing the depth and beauty of European storytelling, she then found herself wanting to gain and up close and personal understanding of American epic, big-budget filmmaking. So, in 2015, Asya enrolled in Academy of Art University, in San Francisco, to pursue an MFA in film directing. While she was there, she met Pavel Federov, a cinematographer from Ukraine, with whom she collaborated on several projects. Levgeniy, was a documentary about a Ukrainian artist who made a tribute to the Bosch painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, in a former Catholic cathedral in San Francisco.

She collaborated again with Pavel on her thesis film, On a Whim, in 2019, with an international crew and American cast, and together, they have shot music videos and short films both in Europe and the U.S. Their production company is focused on creating and producing art house movies and story-based music videos and commercials.

Asya strongly believes that the mix of her European and American experience and education is the most valuable thing that happened in her directing career. Great things always come at the juncture of time, borders and cultures. Asya is a dreamer who plans on borrowing and merging from these two incredible filmmaking cultures to tell stories which tap into the universal experiences of humanity.

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