My bio

I would sincerely like to tell my story short, but it’s simply impossible. So, if you are brave enough to read it, please proceed.

Shurik begins

I was born in Moscow, USSR, on 8th of August, 1986. The only thing I remember clearly is that I was expecting tanks to pass by our house when riots occured in 1991 and 1993. Also, my dad was an amateur photographer then. He wasn’t particulary good at shooting and developing colour film, but black&white photos were usually sharp and live. Later, I used his Zenith to take pictures, too.

I wanted to get a camcorder since they were available on Russian market, but my parents could’t afford the expensive device. When I was at my friend’s, his parents allowed me to shoot with their Panasonic. It was a moment of pure magic.

In 1995, being in the country, I met my best friend, Konstantin Kuzmin (now he’s even credited to some videos). Shortly after, we began to produce our own ‘countryside news’, which in 1998 became the ‘8th Program2e’ (named after its initiation date, 8/08/98). You may wonder how did we manage to produce a homegrown TV show without a camera, but the answer was simple: we had crafted ours with a block of wood.

A real family camcorder was bought on my 13th birthday in 1999. It was a Sony Digital8 camera (that is, I’ve never used an analogue camera). An anniversary 8th Program2e was shot with it. The device came through two or three major repairings and was in use until early 2006. That legendary camcorder has let me start to explore the world of video production.

Ludina Gora, 5mm and others

The 8th Program2e eventually spawned other companion programmes, collectively known as ‘Ludina Gora TV’ (derived from the name of the place). Other people contributed to the project, with special projects emerging in early 2000. I had used a VHS recorder to edit videos in a linear fashion, with sound passing through a PC to overlay music. In 2002, I started to use Pinnacle Studio for editing with DVDs completely replacing VHS tapes in 2003.

However, by late 2005, it became apparent that the style of ‘Ludina Gora TV’ was an amateur and simply poor one. Then, in 2006, a revamped project collaborated with Katya Sryvkova, a popular radio DJ, who agreed to take part as a presenter. Started as an obscure idea of a video magazine, the project then shifted towards collaborative model with various people provided with a virtual and non-virtual platform to present their works. The project purported to become an international with two USA residents ready to grant their works. I had created virtually everything, from the concept (along with Konstantin) to the website. However, by 2008, due to a lack of enthusiasm and financing, I decided to drop Ludina Gora project and to pursue my solo career.

Another notable thing was ‘5mm Creative Union’. It was much more productive, with a dozen of works produced and more than a half of them being awarded. For instance, two videos shot for Molifm cotest, Your World (for Nokia) and HD Social (for Logitech) were directed by me and both received runner-up prizes. One of the projects of the union that stood out was a fake trailer ‘Out of Tune’ shot under my direction, which was released right when Eurovision singing contest was held in Moscow. It received some attention on YouTube.

Education

I have studied in Moscow State University twice. My first degree was in crisis management. When failing to get a job in KPMG, I realized that a white-collar life was not something appealing to me, and decided to change my hobby into profession. My parents were sort of surprised, but welcomed my decision.

I went on a Master degree course at a new Moscow State University faculty called a ‘Higher TV School’. The best moments of those two years were connected with famous directors like Nikita Mikhalkov, Karen Shakhnazarov, Igor Mansky and Igor Shadkhan holding workshops. I was also living in St.Petersburg for two months shooting my documentary called ‘Non-white Nights’ while practicing in Shadkhan’s studio. A fun fact: the three works I had participated in presented on a ‘students’ works festival’ won the first three places, in strict accordance to the proportion of my contribution.

Photography

Photography is another important part of my life. Though I don’t generally consider myself a photographer, there are 92 thousand photos on my hard drive at the moment. I love walking and searching for something that can be transformed into a flat image. I’m taking pictures since getting the first camera, Canon Powershot S50, in 2004. Then I switched to DSLRs. With Canon 6D, 7D, G1 X and 3, I enjoy both digital and film photography. Some of the pictures can be seen on the Photos page.

Music videos

Many people like films. They know actors’ and directors’ names, watch famous films of the past et ceteta. I have the same passion for music videos, and I even have a list of favourite music videos. This genre is still relatively young; moreover, I presume that it has formed only in late 1990s. Now, it’s a whole beautiful world with a vast variety of works. It has its own rules, and many of them are still unexplored.

I was the editor for some of the music videos for major Russian artists like Centr, Bahh Tee, MakSim, and even the pop icon of Russian scene, Dima Bilan.

Ironically enough, I never had a chance to direct a music video for a band or an artist; instead, I have directed music short film like videos using songs of popular artists including U2, Moby, and Asian Dub Foundation), and also took part in a contest held by Snow Patrol. Though it was an important experience, I would rather shoot a music video for some unknown band, knowing that they actually need it and will use it.

Career before 2013

I worked for Lavr Studio in 2010 as a video editor. I was working on a large-scale documentary series about Sevastopol. I edited a film and prepared all series for a DVD issue. Then, I dismissed Lavr in favour of freelancing in autumn.

After completing various projects on my own (like a New Year corporate video for Nestlé), I started working for Hype Production. I worked there for two years. I’ve made a lot of cool directing and editing projects, most notably editing of a Martini commercial, the aforementioned Dima Bilan’s music video, internet show for Danone, and a number of great projects I cannot immediately disclose. I’ve also performed a lot of smaller tasks, like creating complex 2D CGI, removing logos on footage and grading it.

I have had a few independent projects, too, “Moscow Global” being the most ambitious up to date. Started as a research project on the matter of people leaving Russia, it eventually transformed into a confession of love for Moscow. It received a large press coverage. A viral video called #IWishSummerCameEarly is also of note.

And now...

Despite my experience in video production, I felt like I could do more and on a greater level and scale. To improve my skill and knowledge, I went to London Film Academy. Over a course of a year I’ve tremendously improved my directing and cinematography skills, as well as got a better understanding of all of the aspects of creativity and workflow behind video production. While most of the students get a couple of high-profile credits such as director or producer and a number of smaller like boom operating, I have completed four projects as director, the same number as cinematographer and worked on four as a camera operator.

I have also finished a couple of freelance projects in UK already. I’m still experimenting with genres and media, trying to do something new and special. The more I create, the more I feel there is yet to explore.

P.S.

There are many other things I’ve tried to do and create, yet I’m going to stop right at this point. Come see my works and let them speak themselves.