Category Archives: Russian Talents

EVGENY TELEGIN: EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS IN THE COMMERCIAL INDUSTRY

The difference between good and great is most easily revealed when the pressure is on. One’s true abilities rise to the surface when instinct and “thinking on your feet” is all that is afforded. If you want to be considered the best of the best you need to possess these skills as well as surround yourself with professionals whom also embody them. Dmitry Venikov is CEO of Trehmer CGI and the in-house director of this elite Russian production house that specializes in design and three-dimensional work. When Unistream (money transfer company) needed to create nine commercials in a very immediate time frame, Venikov was relaxed knowing that expert producer Evgeny Telegin was at the helm. Telegin’s work with many international brands such as Nike, IKEA, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and countless others gave him a proven record to handle any situation with all global and domestic clients. His respect and countless international connections in the industry reinforced his ability to insure his productions were received with high praise. Telegin’s reputation as welcoming obstacles was an attractive attribute as well. The Unistream project would test this as it required nine commercial spots to be filmed in one day! When the person in charge is relaxed and confident, this demeanor trickles down to the entire production team. As proof, Evgeny and his team delivered their work ahead of schedule and with the high level of production imagined by Unistream. With apparent pride in his voice, Venikov professes, “, It was a saving grace to have such a legendary producer as Evgeny at the helm of the production. The Unistream commercials were a triumphant success due in large part to Evgeny’s ability to handle multiple things at once while still performing each task at the highest level of skill possible. Given the strict deadline at hand, Evgeny was a lifesaver by hiring an outstanding crew and cast, which included the celebrity host of Russia’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, along with coordinating set construction and the preparation of the shoot. The commercials called for finding representatives of different nations, who could speak their language fluently while acting on stage.  This task was not easy to approach in such a short amount of time; however, Evgeny found everyone at a rapid pace, and they all turned out to be the perfect fit for the client’s needs.  As a result of Evgeny’s producing, the commercials aired all across Russia and CIS countries, driving Unistream’s sales up 300 percent.”

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When dealing with advertising, casting is always important. For a production discussing finances, trust is paramount. Telegin needed a star for the Unistream commercials who embodied both of these traits. Everyone in Russia knows Dmitry Dibrov; not only for his work as the host of “Who wants to be a millionaire” but also as a journalist, actor, director and musician. Highly detailed planning and preparation made the filming occur smoothly, while Evgeny credits Dibrov’s high level of professionalism (delivering everything in almost the first take each time). This highly respected and recognizable celebrity, coupled with a delivery of the message in each geographic area’s authentic language, allowed consumers to feel comfortable in a number of ways.

The communication between Dibrov and the other actors in these commercial spots reveals a truly Russian (and areas surrounding Russia) scenario. It’s quite different from what many American advertisers or even American citizens experience. It also further reinforces the challenges which Telegin and his team faced in preparation for the production. Evgeny notes, “Unistream is very popular for money transfer within the country but mainly targets post-Soviet countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, etc. It’s not a secret that many neighbors of Russia come to Moscow seeking jobs. They send money that they earn back home to their families. That was the target audience for this campaign. Our goals for the commercials were to be easy to understand and informative in terms of benefits. We came up with the idea of Dmitry Dibrov doing his own small investigation about why is it that every second Armenian or every third Kazak sends money back home through Unistream. He is asking at the Unistream “random” customers why they choose Unistream. They all say in their native language what they like about it: fast service, broad network, and low rates. In the end of every story Dibrov repeats “low rates” the way the customers just said it in their language. It also adds some familiarity and comfort with Dibrov saying words in the customer’s native language.” To help create the “everyman” feel of these commercials, many first time actors were cast to interact with Dmitry. Instead of an overly polished and slick feel to the performances, viewers felt that those seen in the commercials were just as believable as themselves, which transferred the message that this was an appropriate service for them to us in their own lives.

Talent, experience, and connections are a requirement of every producer, but Evgeny points out one attribute that is often overlooked…awareness. He confesses, “I think a good producer has knowledge of what is popular, what is trendy at the moment. For example, there was a time in Russia when viral videos were very popular. If you know these kind of tendencies, you can come up with interesting and fresh ideas for great productions. No doubt that all the world looks closely at productions done in the US. I would say it’s the main course of style and techniques. You might want to monitor this direction if you want to succeed. Another direction would be international festivals. You see who wins or is nominated so you can find some young and unknown talents to offer to your clients. These young talents are fired up to work and extend their experience in other countries while the clients/agencies are happy because you bring something new and fresh to the productions. It’s a win-win. You must be sure that this young director will be able to produce the results you expect. You have to use your ‘6th producers sense’ based on your experience. Being an effective communicator allows you to tell if it will work out or not.” Telgin requires the same traits that Dmitry Venikov attributed to him. His achievements give increased validity to the professionals he works with, bringing those with a similar desire for exceptional work cultivates greatness at all levels. Delivering greatness is what drives this exemplary Russian producer to get up and face a new challenge every day.

 

Senior motion designer Ilya Tselyutin’s artistry leads to dynamic opening of FINA World Championships

The opening ceremonies for any sporting event always brings out the best in the home country, from culture to talent. The opening ceremony of the 16th FINA World Aquatics Championship in Russia last year did just that, and senior motion designer Ilya Tselyutin knows this better than most.

Tselyutin worked on the Opening Ceremony of the 16th FINA World Aquatics Championships, which took place in Kazan, in his home country of Russia, on July 24th, 2015. Pilgrim, as the spectacle staged as part of the ceremony was called, was created by the Sechenov.com team, which Tselyutin worked with. The team was responsible for the idea and original scenario, design and creation of the engineering structures and scenery, selection of the performers, production of the musical and dramatic performances and organization of the Parade of Nations and other formal aspects of the Opening Ceremony.

“The whole country was getting ready to host the World Aquatics Championship and I was very excited to be a part of this project despite working remotely. I was working with a team of excellent professionals, highly skilled animators, designers, producers that had an extensive experience of creating animation for the large-scale shows including the Olympics, presidential inaugurations and international boxing tournaments,” said Tselyutin.

The show received the Sides of Theatre of Masses Award, the national highest and the most prestigious professional award in Performing arts founded by the Union of Theatre Workers of the Russian Federation. Around 50,000 people watched the Opening Ceremony at the stadium and hundred thousands of people watch the live streaming on TV. The show was broadcasted by Eurosport in European Union, BBC 2 in the UK, Channel 7 in Australia, YLE TV2 in Finland, LRT televizija in Lithuania.

Tselyutin produced the 3-minute dynamic intro animation that was played on the 6th minute of the ceremony. The animation featured a story of a sportsman swimming throughout the whole world pass popular landmarks such as Eifel Tower, Big Ben the Statue of Liberty to greet the visitors. This work required advanced keying technique in After Effects and 3D modeling and shading in Cinema 4D. This required him to learn some new advanced keying techniques in After Effects.

“I acquired an invaluable experience managing a group of 3D designers prioritizing tasks and improving my time management skills, something that would prove to be extremely helpful later on in my career,” said Tselyutin.

During his time working on the opening ceremonies, Tselyutin worked very closely with Alexey Sechenov, the production director of the ceremonies. Sechenov is a Member of the Russian Academy of Television, an Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of the Arts, and an Honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Tatarstan. Sechenov founded one of the most successful show production agencies in Russia that lists national TV Channels, artists, performers, State Federal Agencies and Ministries such as Ministry of Sport as its clients.

“Ilya is a very talented designer and was a pleasure to work with. During his 4-month contract he exhibited his outstanding design skills, extensive professional experience and strategic thinking. At the concept development stage Ilya took an initiative to go beyond what was expected of him. Not only did he understand perfectly the aesthetic of provided style references, but also devised a creative solution of integrating the world’s famous landmarks into the production pipeline, an idea that subsequently became the project’s main feature. Ilya proved to be an excellent modeler by creating 3D architectural objects of Eifel Tower, Big Ben, Louvre and other landmarks. He has an impressive ability to work efficiently under tight deadline and handled the pressure extremely well even though he had to deal with numerous edits and changes. Despite the fact Ilya was working remotely, he maintained effective communication and was easy to reach anytime. Our company is recognized as the most successful show production agency in the country and we strive to maintain the highest standards of production. Ilya can be easily credited to raise that bar of excellence,” said Sechenov.

Tselyutin found working alongside Sechenov to be a very rewarding experience. Sechenov is a very experienced producer who adheres to high standards of quality. Tselyutin describes him as very demanding yet respectful and supportive, and that he had a clear vision of the project from the very beginning but was always open to other suggestions.

“What I admired most about him was his ability to supervise the whole two-hour show preparation and never lose focus no matter what he was doing, from staging acrobatics performance to giving feedback on the 3D animation,” Tselyutin described.

Despite being very limited on time, Tselyutin’s creations for the ceremony are mesmerizing. He also overcame the challenge of rendering high resolution graphics which consumed a lot of CPU power and slowed down the process.

“I liked the general concept and interesting references given by the client. Being a small but significant part of such a show that took 4 years to develop felt really great. The show was an amazing display of high quality graphics, animation, spectacular performances, art and creativity. I felt extremely proud to work on it,” he concluded.

 

TV COMMERCIAL EDITOR PAVEL KHANYUTIN IS A MASTER OF THE 60 SECOND EPIC

Small is beautiful—the economy and discipline of the short form, whether a haiku poem or one minute television commercial can be as rewarding, in its own way, as a feature length project. But that spare intimate moment also poses a tremendous creative challenge, one which only an acutely capable craftsman can master, and Pavel Khanyutin epitomizes that nuanced, subtle skill.

The Russian-born film editor-visual effects supervisor’s instinct, delicacy and precision have allowed Khanyutin to build a solid professional reputation as a master of both thirty second TV spots and feature length films. Navigating such a broad spectrum takes a very special gift, and the ease with which he manages it only underscores Khanyutin’s natural talents.

Khanyutin’s earliest experience was cutting documentaries, a genre where the straight expositional narrative succeeds largely due to how the editor frames and delivers that information.

“I started doing advertising at the beginning of my career in 2000,” Khanyutin said. “At that time I already had experience in editing documentary films and I’d been working with computer graphics for several years.”

“Advertising, of course, can’t be compared with films in complexity,” he said. “Time spent in the editing room and the tasks differ a lot. However, advertising is strongly connected with film. To my thinking, this goes both ways and dozens of techniques move from ad to film and back, improving and gathering sensibility along the way.”

Khanyutin soon found himself working for all the top Russian ad production companies—DAGO, Bazelevs, Robusto, Action Film , Park Production and international agencies like Instinct (BBDO Group) and Leo Burnett Worldwide.

“These gave me fantastic opportunities, within a short time, to edit dozens of TV promotions in many genres, to work with different directors and studios, for various brands and in different formats.” Khanyutin said

The ability to infuse cinematic qualities into a television commercial gained Khanyutin a great advantage in the field and he has done successful spots for such major international clients as Mars, P&G, Garnier, Pepsi, Toyota, Google, IKEA, Tele2, Megafon cellular and many others.

“The skill of editing commercials has a lot to do with one’s ability to pinpoint the soul of a story and convey it in the most economical way possible,” commercial director Rachel Harms said. “Pavel’s brilliance is evident at every stage of the editorial process. He’s a master at uncovering the choice moments, shaving them down to their essence, establishing rhythm and musicality, and finally juxtaposing images in a way that achieves maximum impact.”

Khanyutin relishes the challenge television ads present. “During editing, I consider a TV ad to be like a short film,” he said. “There are many possibilities in spite of the very restricted format, but you also face a limitation of possibilities. As an example, there are ads with a lot of dialogue or an overload of text information, and you must always consider the strict time limit of 30 seconds to one minute.”

“Another type is the ‘branding’ or ‘mood’ ad. These have a much less strict structure. The characters do not speak much or don’t speak at all. Here you almost unlimited possibilities for editing, with many variants on how and where to put focuses–to solve the task rhythmically. All small details are of great importance. One flash of half a second may finish the composition in full, if you find its right position in editing.”

Khanyutin’s focus, dedication, comprehensive vision and innate knack for conceiving and presenting the ideal cut on any given assignment has kept him in demand as a TV commercial editor for more than fifteen years

“I’ve worked with countless editors across the globe in the course of my career as a commercial director,” Harms said. “It’s rare to find such extraordinary intelligence and insight wrapped in such a collaborative heart. Pavel listens well and quickly attunes to a director’s vision, yet he never loses his own strong point of view.”

“After a shoot, I know that my material will either live, die or thrive in an editor’s hands. This is the final critical stage where everything will either come together or will be derailed. With Pavel as my editor, I’m always confident the finished product will be exceptional.”

Actor Peter Fall takes aim on ‘Little America’ comedy series and Alexander Pushkin western ‘Colt’

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Peter Fall will star in the comedic “Little America” YouTube series and the feature western, “Colt.”

 

Russian-Australian actor Peter Fall, known for his roles in Stan Harrington’s award-winning feature mystery film, “Perception,” and director Yaitza Rivera’s award-winning drama, “Red Poppies,” has attached to two exciting new productions — “Little America” and “Colt.”

“Little America” is a forthcoming YouTube and funnyordie.com comedy series from Cobblestone Productions that is being produced by Morayo Orija and Sam Marin. The series satires the different ethnic communities — such as Little Odessa, Little Tokyo, Little Italy and so on — that are present in metropolitan cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

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“For me, it sums up America,” Fall said. “All these little communities are living together as a whole. It is a hilarious, satirical look into differing minority communities that’s intended to be not only funny, but a real eye opener. It breaks down stereotypes and is a show anybody will be able to relate to.”

Fall writes for the series and will star as Harchko, the central character of the Little Odessa segment. “He is the local famous Russian American whose nephew from Russia comes to visit. Harchko thinks his Russian nephew will be unworldly and backwards, but it turns out he is a hipster who finished boarding school and college in England, and is more in-tune to American culture than his uncle. Harchko considers himself a well-assimilated migrant having American, Latino, Asian American and African American friends, something not many of his other Russian comrades can claim.”

“He is a comedic spoof of Russian hip-hop mafia hoodlum of the 90s, a tough guy who gets inebriated as much as he can, living off other people, mostly swindling them for their money. It’s a stark contrast to his straight-lace nephew, who plays ice hockey and soccer, doesn’t drink and speaks better English than him. But they still find some common ground, chasing girls, getting high and generally helping Harchko with his mischief.”

Fall described the role as a juxtaposition of characters that will throw people’s stereotypes out. “It’s a hilarious segment of the show and Harchko interacts a lot with other wacky characters from the different segments like the Latinos, Italians, Koreans, Armenians, Ethiopians, etc.”

Each “Little America” episode will be about seven and a half minutes. Season 1 principal photography is scheduled to begin March, 2017 and the series is eyeing a premiere in December, 2017.

Orija, who has acted in Victor Trevino’s feature drama, “Spit,” Stan Harrington’s award-winning feature music drama, “Lost Angels” and TV One’s “Fatal Attraction,” is attached to direct “Little America,” along with producing.

“It’s a thrill to be a part of and has been the highlight of my past three years,” she said. “This is going to be a milestone in web series, a national coast to coast production, can’t wait. The energy and talent that Peter brings to this is only matched by the scripts being put out for this web series – it is going to be a riot!”

Joining Orija is Tim McNeil, who will also direct and is an award-winning actor-writer-producer known for his roles in hit films such as “Forrest Gump,” “Contact” and “Starship Troopers.” McNeil has also acted in many TV series including “House M.D.,” “ER,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “Seinfeld” and more.

Marin, an actor and animator known for his extensive work on Cartoon Network’s Primetime Emmy-winning series, “Regular Show,” will also star in “Little America,” along with serving as producer. Actress Tiedora DeGrigo (“Coast Mafia”) and many to-be-announced Stella Adler Los Angeles alums will make up the cast.

Fall said audiences can expect “a powerhouse of comedy delivered with truth and energy that hopefully will be both fresh, highly entertaining and something that’s going to stick with them. “Little America” is pop comedy, kind of an SNL like show, where nothing is out of bounds and things will be broken. Stereotypes will be shattered and it’s going to be lough out loud funny.”

Fall is also attached to the leading role of Alexander Pushkin in the feature western drama, “Colt,” that tells the story of the final week of the famed Russian poet. Fall is also producing and teaming again with Orija and Marin, who will produce the project under the Cobblestone banner.

Pushkin was a beloved Russian poet, playwright and novelist during the early 1800s who died at the age of 37 in the aftermath of a duel with French officer Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d’Anthes. The dispute arose once Pushkin believed de Heeckeren d’Anthes was seducing his wife.

“It’s such an important figure in Russian history, claimed as Russian Shakespeare, one of the greatest love poets who ever lived,” said Fall. “Many titles are bestowed on Pushkin, yet he died so senselessly and ultimately young. It’s a story that needs to be heard and told, and his poetry needs a voice. What better way to bring it to the 21st century audience than as a Western set in the post-Civil-War era? The movie will take place in a small, passing-through town in the far west, giving western audiences a dynamic, relatable setting. It’s an untold reimagining on Pushkin, a good old classic western that’s mixed in with romance and poetry. It’s so surprising this ‘true story’ has such similarities with the Western genre itself.”

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Famed Paramount Ranch will serve as a filming location for “Colt.”

“Colt” is to film at Paramount Ranch and Melody Ranch in Los Angeles. Fall says “Colt” is a dark look at family, adultery, honor and gun violence. In fact, as Fall explained, Pushkin is a Russian term that translates to gun or cannon.

“Pushkin is a notorious womanizer,” Fall said, “which his poet celebrity gives him access too. But when his wife is ambushed by an admiring French lieutenant, Pushkin is unable to resolve it civilly. His own jealousy takes hold of him. The drama escalates when Pushkin’s father, a general in the Civil war, pushes him to man up and confront his wife’s rumored foreign lover, a confrontation that ends with his death.”

Fall co-wrote the script with fellow Stella Adler alum, Austin Iredale. “Austin’s background in English literature, his talent and his understanding of dramatic content blew this off the page. This is a story that needs to be told. It’s something that can break borders today and is relevant. “Colt” is a window into one of the greatest Russian souls that defines the humanity of its people. Pairing that in a setting so accessible to a western audience will hopefully shine a light on racial doubts and fears that still very much exist in this ‘post-Cold War’ time we live in.”

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The Alexander Pushkin western film, “Colt,” will feature on-location filming at Melody Ranch.

The presentation of Pushkin will include Fall’s narration of Pushkin’s poems and recitations by the character himself throughout the film. “This film will also bring to the world Pushkin’s poetry, letting people into the richness of the Russian verse and the melancholy of its history and heart,” he said.

Orija said, “This character of Alexander brings a monumental human being, a giant to such human form, with everyday problems and flaws that it hopefully makes people see humanity in everything. It is a dream come true of a role for a character actor. Plus, it’s set in the American west, but is about a Russian poet. The whole discourse of that makes it not only relatable, but genuinely original.”

“Colt” is scheduled to begin filming in September and is aiming for a summer 2017 film festival premiere.

Russian Television’s Leading Lady, Yana GoodDay!

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Yana GoodDay shot by Bernie Walls

The name of supremely talented Russian celebrity Yana GoodDay has become synonymous with entertainment. An inimitable radio personality, charismatic television host, mercurial actress and a drop-dead gorgeous model, GoodDay first began laying the foundation for her career in the late 90s when she accepted an offer to tour the South of Russia as a podium model with “Prestige,” a company known for it’s unique theatrical fashion performances.

For GoodDay, this was only the start of the incredibly fruitful career she has created for herself today. Her initial success in the entertainment field came at the start of the new millennium when she was offered a job as a radio host for the show “Formula of Luck,” which featured a number of Russian celebrities.

She recalls, “I started my work as a radio host in 2000, at the age of 16. I got an offer to do so right away after winning the beauty contest “Miss Russian Radio 1999″ in Pyatigorsk.”

As the host of “Formula of Luck,” which aired on the massively popular Russian Radio, GoodDay travelled around the city streets in a car specially-outfitted with mobile broadcasting equipment while interviewing drivers.

In 2006, GoodDay made her debut leap into television when she was invited to host Success Stories, which aired on the TDK Channel. By then, the talented young beauty had already earned her stripes in the industry having won two beauty contests, and being chosen to model for several high-profile companies including Ro-Color and Revlon.

Her instant popularity on Success Stories led her to be offered the position of host on the live show Sexual Revolution, which she still hosts today. GoodDay was able to help uncover some of the most groundbreaking findings in the world of sexuality and sexual health through her interviews with some of the foremost experts in the field. A testament to GoodDay’s talents as a host and the overall success of Sexual Revolution, the show received Best Erotic TV Show of the Year from the International Erotic Arts Festival from 2010 to 2012.

GoodDay also worked as the director, scriptwriter, reporter and host on Reports about Egypt, a series promoting tourism destinations and lodgings in Egypt.

“We had to cover about 10 hotels in different areas along the Egyptian Red Sea coast within a week, so we had to film one or two hotels per day,” says GoodDay. “We had to work fast and be creative.”

As a result of her work as the host of the show, GoodDay adds, “I’ve learned a lot about hotel design, architecture, art directing, tourism business and Egyptian antiquities.”

GoodDay was also asked to host the state lottery program Gosloto, a popular news and variety program featuring celebrity guests, musical acts and of course, the lottery. Being chosen to host such a highly watched program puts GoodDay in league with Vanna White, the leading lady from the popular American show Wheel of Fortune.

Quickly becoming a staple of the show, GoodDay was not only broadcast on live television as a Gosloto host, but the position also gave her an opportunity to work with one of her longtime idols, Tina Kandelaki.

“As one of the hosts of Gosloto (State Lottery), I was honored to work with Tina Kandelaki, one of the most successful and popular TV host/journalist/producers in Russia,” explains GoodDay. “She was always a role model for me.”

The diverse nature of Kandelaki’s successful career in the entertainment industry easily made her the perfect inspiration for GoodDay in her youth. The co-owner of Apostol Media, the production company behind Gosloto, Kandelaki has been honored with three TEFI Awards, an annual award given by the Russian television industry, and an Astra Award for “The Most Stylish TV-hostess,” among others.

Like Kandelaki, GoodDay has also found remarkable success in the industry thanks to her diverse talents. As an actress, she has landed a lengthy list of starring roles including the role of Liza in the hit sitcom Kids in the Cage.

“It’s a backstage parody of modern music shows,” says GoodDay. “My character Liza was a ‘golden kid’ and was chosen to participate in the show because of her father who is one of the investors.”

Aside from Kids in the Cage, Yana GoodDay played the role of Olga Radosteva in the series The Fortune Teller, Dasha in Detectives, Alla in Understand and Forgive, Angela in Daddy’s Daughters, as well as several roles in the show Sled, and many more.

Additionally, GoodDay displayed her raw talent as an actress in the lead role of Katya in the film The Waiting, which she co-wrote and produced as well.

Actor, writer, director, producer, hostess, model – whatever hat this astounding young talent decides to wear, she is all business… and business is good.

In addition to hosting Gosloto, Yana GoodDay also hosted several episodes of Bingo-Boom Lottery, which you can check out above.