Today, we had the pleasure of sitting down with female commercial and film director, Alexa Burunova, to peel back her layers and get to know who she is and how she got to where she is today.
You’re originally from Belarus–Can you tell us about your journey of getting to where you are now and pursuing a career in the commercial video production industry?
I came to the United States at 16, with $202 dollars to my name, so my journey to where I am was pretty interesting. I always knew that I want to direct and so I just worked adamantly towards it. I paid my dues, worked as a directors assistant, went to USC School of Cinematic Arts (one of the top film schools in the country) and really worked my way up to where I am now.
Once you landed in video production, did you always know you wanted to direct?
Truth is, I always knew I wanted to direct. When I was little, I told everyone I want to make cartoons. And as I grew up – cartoons turned to films and commercials. And from film school on – I began telling people that I’m a director. Even if I was doing something else at the time, I was determined about telling people that I am first and foremost a director. It takes conviction.
Do you feel that you’ve experienced any professional setbacks in your career because you’re a woman?
You know, from film school we were taught not to talk about that. And I never really have. Yes, I have seen a few jobs go the other way to maybe a less qualified male director. Had to work a little harder here and there to stand out from a predominantly male pack; to prove myself. But that just made me a better director and storyteller.
What is your reaction the movement for gender equality in the film industry?
It’s been inspiring and eye-opening. Before the media started covering it, I didn’t really know that only 7% of directors were women. That makes me like what I do even more. I love a good challenge.
With so much momentum surrounding the movement for gender equality in the film industry, what do you foresee the future looking like?
I am definitely foreseeing more and more female filmmakers in the field. It’s important there are more of us, representing female point of view and female stories. 51% of the population are women and their stories are completely under-represented. Looking forward to a more inclusive industry. I think, very soon.
Do you feel that significant change/progress for women has been made in the video production industry since you started your career?
Absolutely. I think now brands are seeking out female directors to tell stories, as they are seeing that those resonate with their audiences. Companies and agencies are more enthusiastic about putting the creative into the capable female hands.
What is your dream project?
Besides the two feature films I am developing – one taking place in India and one in Greece… I would say I would love to do a female empowerment campaign around the world. Showcasing strong inspiring women from different walks of life. I am sure there is a brand that would love that idea!
What do you envision for the future of your video production career?
Lots of amazing collaborations and freedom to take creative risks. Working with companies with inspiring vision.
Do you have any tips for young female directors getting started in the video production industry?
Don’t take no for an answer and always follow your passion.