Liza Voloshin is a NY-based commercial video director dedicated to spreading joy through video production. Liza’s work spans from directing commercials for beauty and fashion brands like Estée Lauder and Barneys, docu-narrative branded content videos for brands like American Express and Nike that feature women’s stories, to narrative film installations that explore the senses with institutions such as the Whitney Museum and Philip Johnson’s Glass House, to music videos with artists such as Adeline and Katy Perry.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Liza to get a peek into her world and how she got to where she is today.
How and when did you decide to get into the world of video production?
My road to film was anything but typical. As a young refugee growing up in the United States, I was raised in an environment that encouraged safety and pragmatism. And in my case, that meant studying economics and going into investment banking. I felt stuck and uninspired for much of my twenties. My only outlet for freedom was to surround myself by creative people and a close group of friends that encouraged me to pursue inspiring projects. I began first by painting and then photography until I bought my first 8mm camera on Ebay – an old, but sturdy Canon 310xl. But that was it, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to tell stories through moving visual images and to share the way I always try to see the world no matter how difficult it gets – with a little beauty and joy.
Check out this video Liza directed for Nike Women, entitled “‘Zahra Lari: A Moving Portrait.”
Do you have any advice for other women who are in different fields but thinking about getting into film or commercial video production?
Just start. The world of film can often feel like a technical gauntlet, daunting and uninviting, but don’t let the noise deter you. Make a safe space for yourself to experiment and play without judgement – especially your own. Grab a friend, go to nature, wherever inspiration finds you, and have fun. See the work that will come out of your joy, and let that guide you.
What it like being a female in the video production world? How about specifically as a female director? Do you have any funny or horror stories to tell?
There is a French phrase one of my clients told me I remind her of the saying “Main de fer dans un gant de velours,” which means “An iron hand in a velvet glove.” I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about the kind of leader I want to be and how I want everyone on the set to feel. My goal is always to create a collaborative environment in which everyone on the set has a clear objective with space to be creative in their role. But the reality is, I’ve been called a bitch and told I don’t know what I’m doing – all by men on the crew. I bet a male director would probably just fire those people and never think about it again, but I do contemplate those moments and what I can do better in the future. And that is a pretty feminine trait.
Do you think it’s important to help other women in the film industry?
Women were the first ones to take a chance on me and support me. I wouldn’t be creating film today if it wasn’t for the supportive women in my life, both in and out of the film industry. The barriers to entry are high in film, and you do need help from those in spaces of power to show you the way. And that’s why no matter how little much or power you have, you use it wisely and give back to the community around you. I love it when I get an unexpected email from a young woman that wants to explore her career path and talk through getting into film. I always make time for that. Also, I love the men that support women, they are just as important in getting more feminine energy into this industry.
What video production project are you most proud of?
I love what my Director of Photography Chevy Tyler and I created for our triptych called “Join the World: Burgundy” for American Express x Departures Magazine. We had 5 days to film three different stories about next generation winemakers across a large region in France, with a crew of just the two of us and a wonderful camera assistant Archibald Vienot. It was pretty hectic with uncooperative weather and daily long drives to set, but it is one of my favorite documentary shorts I’ve created to date. And it was like bootcamp for wine! I love learning and I think I translated a little bit of that into a final beautiful series.
Take a peek at the video Liza directed for American Express x Departures Magazine:
Do you have any advice for other women filmmakers trying to break into the commercial video production world?
I love you, sister. Let’s shine.
We’re so appreciative of female commercial director Liza for taking the time to share her story with us. As a woman-owned branded content studio and creative agency, Ezra Productions is committed to working with women, minorities, and young people, and helping them thrive in the video production industry. Whether you’re looking for a production company in Los Angeles or New York, we’re experts at creating engaging video that promotes your brand and social change. Contact us to learn more about our services as a commercial video production company.