Anna Polonyi is an American, French and Hungarian writer and journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, an M.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history and literature from Harvard University. She is a recipient of a Fulbright for Young American Journalists, the Richard E.
Guthrie Fellowship and Sylvia Beach Short Fiction Prize.
She has worked as a reporter for Foreign Policy, The International New York Times, Agence France Press, Radio France Internationale and others. She serves as the creative writing program director at the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking and hosts the writing prompt podcast The Quarantine Quill.
Of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn is an artist whose work redistributes power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). With the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jahn created CareForce, a project that amplifies the voices of America’s fastest growing workforce, caregivers. CareForce includes two mobile studios (NannyVan, CareForce One), an app that CNN named as “one of 5 apps to change the world,” and a PBS/Sundance-supported film produced with Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Yael Melamede.
A Creative Capital awardee, Jahn’s work reaches wide audiences at Obama’s White House, the United Nations, New Museum, Creative Time, Tribeca Film Festival, The New York Times, BBC, Univision, etc. Jahn is the founder of Studio REV- which codesigns public art and creative media with low-wage workers, immigrants, youth, and women. She is a collaborating artist on the “Open Collectives” station at the 17th Venice Biennale of Architecture led by MIT Associate Professors Rafi Segal (architecture) and Sarah Williams (civic data design) with Greg Lindsay. She has taught at MIT’s Art, Culture, and Technology; Columbia University; and The New School.
Independent filmmaker Frank Popper's feature documentary debut CAN MR.SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? (2006) won the AFI Docs(Silverdocs) Audience Award; was an International Documentary AssociationFinalist, Best Feature; made the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesShort – list for documentary feature;
Won a Special Jury Prize at the InternationalHuman Rights Film Festival of Paris and aired on PBS Independent Lens.Popper filmed the feature documentary EROICA! which also aired onIndependent Lens.
GENTLEMEN OF VISION is his third documentary feature. Popper is currently Filmmaker-in-Residence at KETC-TV (PBS) in St. Louis.
Jaci Caprice is an artist, writer, performer, and producer who loves the prose of a story, the adventure in a really good book, and the melodic format of expression that is within music. She believes that there is harmony in rhythm, and that life orchestrates some of the best symphonies that are yet to be heard. Her story is a series of such compositions, and it all begins with her passion for storytelling. She produces songs and writes lyrics about life, love, and sometimes loss. Jaci is motivated by the fact that she believes that everyone has a story to tell, and seeks to connect her own with those who wish to preserve key moments in their lives through the use of music. It is a part of her vision that the projects that she produces will be placed high upon the shelves and alongside the diverse volumes of work that make up an amazing global library that is filled with chapter after chapter of great reads...musically.
Jaci utilizes both analog and digital devices including midi keyboards, synthesizers, beat machines, computer software, live instruments, sampling, and just about anything else that she can get her hands on to construct her own unique "sound". By blending in Hip Hop, RnB, Soul, World, and a few other spices into the pot, she is able to create a sound that tastes familiar to the well-trained palate, yet still intriguing.
ThinkingCap Production is her company and the vehicle through which she is able to build a strong foundation to conceptualize, organize, and create these stories. Jaci is also a certified mixing and sound engineer, which also affords her the ability to mix each project completely in-house, as well as the flexibility of only having to send it out to be mastered and duplicated for distribution. I remain an intimate part of the production process, from concept to completion. As an artist, this is very important to her because not only is it extremely time efficient, but that she is able to ensure that the story is as concise as originally desired. The original concept, vision for the project, and the intention of the final mix all blend together to form its own masterpiece. And with each project that she pilots, this goal remains consistent. We will be GREAT.
As an artist, writer, performer, and producer Jaci Caprice is looking forward to gaining momentum and further honing in on this zone of creativity with the hopes of a smooth ascent. With wings spread and engines at full throttle, she is ready to take flight.
Saodat Ismailova (b. 1981 in Tashkent) graduated from State Art Institute of Tashkent after she was granted a residency in Fabrica, Research and communication center of Benetton, Italy. Where she co-directed “Aral: Fishing in an Invisible Sea” that won Best Documentary at the 2004 Turin Film Festival. In 2005 she at DAAD - Artist in Residency program in Berlin where she developed her debut feature film “40 Days of Silence”, which premiered at Berlin International Film Festival, 2014.
She participated in Venice Biennale, 2013 with her video “Zukhra”. In 2017 Saodat Ismailova was an artist in residence in Office of Contemporary Art, Norway where she developed her personal exhibition and realized a short film The Haunted. In 2018 she graduated from Le Fresnoy, France’s National Studio of Contemporary Arts, where she developed “Stains of Oxus” and “Two Horizons”. In 2018 “Qyrq Qyz” her multimedia performance was presented at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in New York.
In 2020 she is running Laboratory from the Center for Contemporary Arts in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She is currently working on her second feature film “Barazgh”.
Zere Asylbek is a singer, activist and feminist from Kyrgyzstan.
She is the author and performer of the song "Kyz", the music video which caused a resonance among users in 2018.
In her songs, she raises issues of feminism and equality in Central Asia.
Zhannat Alshanova is an award-winning writer, director and producer from Kazakhstan. She wrote and directed several short films that played at various international film festivals, such as Cannes (Cinéfondation), Sundance, Locarno (pardino d'argento award), Toronto International Film Festival, PÖFF Shorts and many others.
Her debut feature project, Mother Tongue, won the ArteKino International Award at the Asian Project Market 2019 (Busan IFF). She holds an M.A. in filmmaking from the London Film School and is also a Berlinale Talents alumna. Recently, she has served as a juror for Sundance Collab Challenge "Time Capsule". She is Berlinale Talents and Sundance Institute alumna.
Rashid Nugmanov – Film Director, Screenwriter, and Producer.
Education: Kazakh Polytechnic Institute (Diploma in Architecture); All-Union State Institute of Cinematography named after S. A. Gerasimov (Diploma in Feature Films Directing). Sergei Solovyov’s, Anatoly Vasiliev’s, Pavel Lebeshev’s and Sergei Bodrov’s student.
Awards: “Ya-Hha” short feature film (FIPRESCI Prize in The Young Soviet Cinema Program at Year 1987 International Moscow Film Festival,); “The Needle” full-length feature film (Main Prize of Year 1990 International Film Festival in Nuremberg; Year 1989IFF in Berlin – Prize for Participation in “The Panorama” Program; Prize awarded by Film Clubs in “Un Certain Regard” (A Special View) Category at Year 1988 Golden Duke Film Festival in Odessa); and “The Wild East” full-length feature film (Special Jury Prize awarded to the film at Year 1994 5th IFF of Adventure Films in Valenciennes, France).
Participated in developing The Citadel of Death American Projects featuring William Gibson, for Edward Pressman, Producer; and The Spirit Break for Leonard Schrader, Screenwriter and David Wiseman, Producer.
Original scripts in English: The Russky Swing, The Golden Idol (all tickets sold out, or Full House), The InnerVision, The Spell, and The One (option).
From 2015 through 2017 – General Director of The Eurasia IFF, accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers (FIAPF). Founder and First President of the National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Kazakhstan. Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature of France.
In YY 2018-2019 developed THE DRAMATICON, a unique course in practical drama, and signed a contract with EKSMO Publishing House for the publication in 2020 of the book of the same name. Currently is preparing for production the Batu documentary drama and The God fiction film, where he acts as a screenwriter, director, and producer. In 2020, he recruited a director’s masterclass (workshop) at VGIK together with Sergei Solovyov and teaches a course in drama there.
Gulnaz Balpeisova – Theater Director
As a Director R. Tuminas’ Assistant-trainee, Gulnaz took part in the releases of such performances as Eugene Onegin (scenes from the novel by Alexander Pushkin), Smile Upon Us, Lord based on the novels by G. Kanovich, and Minetti by T. Bernhard. She also worked as an assistant to such directors as Yu. Butusov (The Flight after M. A. Bulgakov) and S. Purcarete (The Imaginary Invalid after Jean-Baptiste Moliere).
Theater named after Evgeniy Vakhtangov stage performances: In Paris based on stories by I. Bunin within the framework of The Rimas Tuminas’ Workshop Performances Project, and Fröken Julie based on the play by A. Strindberg. On the Simonovskaya Stage of the Vakhtangov Theater, Gulnaz directed staging Leporella short story in the play Stefan Zweig. Novels, and Everything Will Come True play by Nina Sadur.
9 Stories – a collection of short stories by contemporary American authors in the Russian language. This project was led by Yuriy Serebryanskiy, a Kazakhstani author and alumnus of the IWP International Writing Program, and Anton Platonov, translator and cultural researcher.
The project supported by U.S. Consulate in Almaty has started in 2018 as a translation workshop turned later into Literary Translation Laboratory, the group of Kazakhstani authors and literary translators - Polina Chhichina, Oral Arukenova, Mairzhan Kourmanov, Victoriya Russakova, Anna Kozhanova, Ekaterina Patrikova, Alyona Kim, Olga Abramova, Mariya Kuznetsova, Meruert Tair, Kamilla Mushkina, Katerina Dzvonik, Marina Mihtayeva, Katerina Hodyreva, Jamilya Akhmedova.
Dequine is a Kazakh singer. She began her career in 2016 when she published her first tracks on the YouTube channel.
They got a good response from the public and got a lot of likes. In mid-2019, Dequine released their first album, Drunk Cherry, which immediately topped the local TOPs.
Rustam Ospanoff (New York, USA) Resident DJ at Public Records, Ace Hotel, Public, Soho Grand Hotel (NYC). Founder & Producer of the Jazzystan Music Festival in Almaty (2009-2018) Rustam Ospanoff gathers all the deepest soul sounds from around the world and elegantly delivers them in gorgeous musical journeys.
Hailing from Kazakhstan, his creative goal has always been to expose diverse music to people through the curation of special events, live concerts, and radio shows. He is best known for being the founder of the Jazzystan Music Festival (this ran from 2009 in Almaty, Kazakhstan) and producing 28 music festivals over 9 years in his home country.
Now that Rustam lives in New York City, he has become a polished and versatile DJ who is as comfortable playing a dark underground house party as he is at an upscale hotel bar. Rustam possesses a record collection that has a unique worldview - every song he plays has a beautiful deep sound and a dynamic rhythmic beat that fills a room with warm and upbeat energy. Crowds might not know what he’s playing, but they will know that it is the right sound for a magical moment in New York City. When Rustam isn’t DJing all over NYC, he can be found happily dancing and socializing at New York’s finest dance parties where legendary figures still hold court.
Rustam is a DJ but he is a music enthusiast first. You can find him any day of the week, digging devotedly in the city’s record stores with his son, Mansur, a 4-year-old with the world’s most sophisticated taste in music! Rustam initiated, booked and produced live acts featuring artists like Jamiroquai, Incognito, Joss Stone, Omar, Marcos Valle, Jazzanova, Gilles Peterson, LEFTO, Nubya Garcia, EZRA Collective, Soil & Pimp Sessions, Kutiman Orchestra to name a few. His DJ sets have taken him all over the world from music festivals like Worldwide (France), Cully Jazz (Switzerland), Southern Soul (Montenegro), Terraneo (Croatia), Sunsplash (Turkey) to numerous parties in London (Plastic People), New York, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Hamburg, Paris, Lyon, Sete, Lisbon, Brussels, Liege, Ghent, Geneva, Sierre, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Maribor, Tbilisi, Bishkek, and other parts of the world.
He opened for Sun Ra Arkestra, Roy Ayers and has shared decks alongside contemporary luminaries like Gilles Peterson, LEFTO, Ge-Ology, DJ Kon, Sadar Bahar, Nickodemus, DJ Rahaan, Rick Wilhite, Dez aka Andres, Bradley Zero, Kenny Dope (MAW), Joey Negro to name a few. Rustam is a Red Bull Music Academy alumni (Rome/2004). He hosted his own 6 hrs weekly radio shows – "Lazy Town" at Radio 31 (2001-2003), ‘Gravity” & “Nevesomost'” (2004 – 2012) at Energy FM (Shahar), "Jazzystan" (2014-2016) on Ne.FM. Also, he played guest shows at The Lot Radio (USA), Worldwide FM (UK), Le Mellotron (FR), Kiosk (BE), FM4 Unlimited (AUS), Bruzz (BE), J-Wave Tokyo (JP).
Music genres: Jazz, Rare Groove, Soul, Funk, Boogie, Disco, Gospel, International (Latin, Tropical, Brazilian, African, Japanese, Middle Eastern Grooves), House, Techno, Electronic music.