Updated: Feb 21
In filmmaking, every director or producer has a different perspective that becomes their identifier in the entertainment industry. Having a unique personality that translates well on their projects is what sets them apart from the sometimes competitive environment.
Director and creative producer Maria Staroselets also has some notable characteristics that support her in becoming a well-loved individual who approaches entertainment from a different angle.
Maria is born to a family of Russian circus directors and producers. Early in her life, she already knew her fate was connected with storytelling and traveling.
“I spent all of my childhood years in a traveling circus, lived in caravans, moving from town to town in Western Europe. Throughout those years, I’ve developed curiosity about the surrounding world that determines me as a personality,” she shared.
She studied for a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies, especially since she was interested in the world’s physical and metaphysical riddles. Her main interests during her university years were ritual practices, dancing, and chanting, which later brought her back to arts and entertainment.
Her curiosity now aids her as a filmmaker, especially since she advocates for sustainable entertainment where theatrical performances are held in urban environments to minimize unnecessary waste and lessen the required budget.
Maria believes that the urban environment contains all the necessary elements that individuals in her profession need to create a story in any genre. Through sustainable entertainment, various types of storytelling and performative practices allow directors or producers to adjust the “optics” where viewers and participants perceive a single layer. As a result, the city can be viewed from any angle, decomposed into layers, by applying various semantic filters.
“I’m a pro in site-specific performances. I conduct unique psycho-geography research for each production I work at,” Maria said.
From 2020 to 2022, while staying in Russia, Maria wrote and staged four unique site-specific performances because she considered the approach safer against COVID-19 and practical, as the show takes place outdoors and doesn’t require a hefty budget to produce.
When engaging in site-specific projects, Maria also uses a technique called continuous mapping, which is a unique format of a promenade theatre produced in any location without any budget. This method is sustainable and became a part of her urban environment awareness project.
Maria’s experience and eagerness to learn also contributed greatly to her success as a film producer and director. She first got her certificate in film production in 2005, marking the beginning of her filmmaking career. Award-winning mavens of Soviet cinema even mentored Maria. They taught her the craft and technology used in film production, useful information which she uses to this day.
“For the past 17 years, I've been working as a director and a producer in film, theatre, and circus, creating immersive experiences and open-air events for large audiences,” she said.
Now nearing two decades in her career, Maria’s unique perspective on entertainment and successful projects is a testament to her abilities as a director and producer. And although she advocates for a different kind of entertainment, it shows that she has the skills to see it through so audiences can immerse themselves in a new experience.