I graduated with a bachelors degree in film production and shortly after opened my company Kiseleva Films.
I had previous experience being in-front of the camera and while studying had spent most of the time learning how to work with it. Both had taught me something unique, being in-front of the camera allowed me to play characters through which I could express myself - being behind it became even more vulnerable, as before I could hide behind the characters I was playing, but writing my own stories and seeing it comes to life was on one hand a lot more honest and authentic, and yet on another made me feel exposed and yet liberated.
I went on to open Kiseleva Films in Dubai with the intention of telling more stories. I believe that when we share our stories, our experience - we see the common ground we share, it allows us to recognize our humanity within ourselves - with all that society screams at us about our differences; sharing our stories allows us to break the singular stereotype, point of view and judgement, it allows us to break out of a box we have been placed in. As the African Proverb goes "Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter".
I am now studying Producing in New York City, to expand my knowledge of filmmaking and have more skills to be able to effectively execute the projects that come to me.
On my company website, we share some tools about filmmaking, on my website I blog about what my journey has been like as a female in the entertainment industry. I share my story with the hopes of empowering and inspiring more women.
Our readers would love to get to know you more Karina. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
I am driven and passionate about storytelling. I believe every individual's story and experience has value. Through sharing our TRUTH, we liberate others who feel the same.
Karina, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Creative Director?
For the longest time, I struggled with expression, I was silent for a very long time, and that silence was burning up inside me - so I started to look for different ways I could express myself, I found that as I started to do that, I felt more aligned with my purpose. Therefore, filmmaking - was what appealed to me the most. Films have such a great power to inspire us and given in the wrong hands can completely divert us - the tool itself is mighty, to handle it takes great responsibility.
Who is your inspiration in life Karina? How do you keep inspired?
Daily life is an inspiration to me; I use to think that I had to "go someplace" to find inspiration. I never quiet found that it worked for me. It is not about the place; it is more about your own eyes and the willingness to observe and internalize and then create from there.
We all make mistakes Karina; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Creative Director, you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
I have had a hard time dealing with Egos in my industry. Artists and sometimes corporates, who feel entitled and behave as if "the world owes them an apology" kind of behaviour. I will admit I am still learning, and the best way to handle such situations is to just not take it personally. Instead of treating them like they treat you-you rise above higher. Always be the bigger person.
Karina , when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Creative Director, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
Time management and delegation is key. When I first started, I was the rebel without a crew, I rolled up my sleeves and did everything on my own. As I opened my company, that changed. And to handle individual clients, we make sure that we can deliver on time assigned with the best execution possible.
Please tell us, Karina, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Creative Director?
My team and I were covering an awards ceremony. The client hadn't been able to show us the venue prior - so we had to think fast on how to film the ceremony effectively on the day itself. Had I not had filmmaking experience on lighting, angles, movement and technical experience - it would have probably been a disaster. We walked off proudly and exceeded our client's expectation.
Karina, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
In this industry, there is always debate on how a story should unfold - whether it's just a commercial or an actual film. The way I would always handle is to never interrupt with my point of view, everyone is eager to have their vision shared and will always believe its the best way to go - instead of cutting them off, I would listen and add on to that or show them another possibility. When you are eager to listen to others, they will always treat you back with the same respect.
Karina, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Creative Director. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
Winning Best Director award for my FIRST short film titled "Katyusha" is one of the proudest moments. Like the way I had come around to making the movie was just for my university, it was a student film as my graduation project. Not only did I get a good grade on it - but it also got picked up and screened at New York Independent Film Festival and then back home in Dubai. It was completely unexpected!
Karina, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
The basis of my work is all on creativity - the execution of the initial idea can be challenging, as when you are first inspired to create something, and when you come around actually making it - it becomes hard work, and that hard work can become mundane. The key is to always remember what inspired you in the first place.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Creative Director?
Persist. Persist. Persist. This industry will give you all the reasons of why to quit - make sure that you have that ONE strong reason that will have you persisting against ALL odds.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Always, creative individuals have this energy about them that is always contagious. I would love to collaborate with more talents and expand my network, hopefully, come together to tell more stories, to add more meaning to our work.
Photographer: Studio Kanaki @studiokanaki