Anna Panova

Anna Panova, a Director and Producer originally from Moscow, Russia based in NYC, is an accomplished professional in the industry. Her notable projects include the award-winning short film 'Paperthin' (2018), which screened at prestigious international film festivals such as the Toronto Queer Film Festival, Fullbright LA film festival, Last frame, I pride, and more. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on the successful theatrical show 'How we love/fuck' at the historic Cherry Lane theater in West Village, NY, known as the longest continuously running off-Broadway theater.

Anna's personal projects include the acclaimed short films 'Point symmetry' (2020), 'Epiales' (2019), and 'Light and darkness' (2018), which was an Official Selection at the Lift-off sessions. 'Epiales' was featured at DOC NYC 2019, the largest documentary film festival in the US.

Throughout her career, Anna has worked with renowned brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Hublot, New Balance, and others, producing captivating content. Her projects have been recognized and featured in major magazines including Paper, GQ, V magazine, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and NME, showcasing the impact and reach of her work


Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
"Point Symmetry" is a short film that explores the contrasting experiences of two Boston-based women whose parents lived through different sides of World War II. The film delves into their past stories and the evening event they organize, using songs and artworks as instruments to navigate their grief and legacy. It is a moving portrayal of personal histories, resilience, and the enduring power of art to heal and connect.



What are your ambitions with your project?

My ambition is to see "Point Symmetry" reach audiences through film festivals, screenings, and other distribution channels. I want the film to engage viewers from different backgrounds and spark dialogue that goes beyond the confines of the screen. By doing so, I hope to contribute to a greater awareness and appreciation of the human experience, as well as the universal themes of love, loss, and the pursuit of healing.

Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
During the shooting process, one aspect that  surprised me was the remarkable resilience displayed by the characters in the film. Witnessing individuals who had endured profound trauma and carried it with them throughout their lives was both humbling and inspiring. Their unwavering strength and ability to navigate the challenges they faced left a lasting impression. It was a reminder of the incredible capacity of the human spirit to persevere and find meaning even in the face of adversity.

For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
The target audience for the film is quite broad, as it encompasses not only those interested in World War II, but also individuals who resonate with stories of living through trauma. "Point Symmetry" explores universal themes of resilience, grief, and the transformative power of creative expression. As such, it appeals to a wide range of spectators who appreciate thought-provoking narratives and the exploration of personal journeys.  

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Why should distributors buy your film?
Distributors should consider acquiring our film for several reasons. Firstly, "Point Symmetry" tackles compelling and universal themes that resonate with audiences worldwide. The exploration of resilience, grief, and the transformative power of art appeals to a broad spectrum of viewers who seek thought-provoking and emotionally impactful stories.

Additionally, the film provides a unique perspective on World War II, going beyond historical events to delve into personal experiences and the enduring legacy of trauma. This distinctive approach offers a fresh angle on a well-known historical period, making it an attractive choice for distributors looking to offer audiences a new and engaging perspective.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film? 
Overall, my film is characterized by its emphasis on people, universal themes, and an immersive cinematic experience that aims to resonate with viewers on an emotional and intellectual level.


Why did you decide to become a filmmaker? 
I decided to become a filmmaker because I was deeply drawn to the power of storytelling. From a young age, I was captivated by the way my dad would weave vivid narratives about his childhood, transporting me to different worlds and eras. Those moments created a deep connection between us, and I wanted to find a way to preserve those stories and relive them with him.

Filmmaking became my chosen medium because it allowed me to combine my passion for storytelling with the visual and immersive nature of cinema. I realized that through filmmaking, I could not only capture stories but also create powerful experiences that would resonate with audiences and evoke emotions.

Who is your role model?
My role model is me, today. I believe in constantly striving to be a better version of myself every day. While I certainly admire and draw inspiration from various individuals in different aspects of life, I find that looking within and focusing on my own growth and development is the most impactful source of motivation for me. Embracing this mindset allows me to take ownership of my journey and work towards becoming the best version of myself.


Which movies are your favorites? Why?
My favorite movie is "Sacrifice" directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. This film holds a special place in my heart due to its supernatural world and profound themes.

Ingmar Bergman once described Tarkovsky as the greatest filmmaker, emphasizing his ability to invent a new language true to the nature of film. I fully resonate with this sentiment. Tarkovsky's unique visual style and storytelling technique captivate me, as he skillfully captures life as a reflection, akin to a dream.

"Sacrifice" stands out to me because it addresses the complexities of war, delving into the depths of human experience and our struggles with faith and spirituality. It provokes contemplation about the nature of existence, leaving a profound impact on the viewer.

The film's supernatural elements, combined with its exploration of war, humanity, and the profound relationship with 'God', create a thought-provoking and deeply meaningful cinematic experience.  

Where do you look for inspiration for your films? 
When seeking inspiration for my films, I find myself drawn to three main sources: literature and classical music.

Literature has always been a rich source of inspiration for me. The power of storytelling and the depth of emotions conveyed through written words often ignite my imagination. Exploring different narratives, characters, and themes in literature allows me to delve into the human experience and find unique perspectives to bring to the screen.

Classical music has a profound influence on my creative process. The emotional depth, intricate compositions, and timeless beauty found in classical music help shape the tone and atmosphere of my films. The melodic and harmonic elements of classical music often serve as a source of inspiration for crafting the mood, rhythm, and pacing within my storytelling.

Which topics interest you the most? 
When it comes to filmmaking, I find myself most captivated by the topic of life as a whole. The complexity, beauty, and challenges that encompass human existence never cease to fascinate me. Exploring the multifaceted aspects of life allows for a vast range of storytelling possibilities.


Greatest achievement in your career?  
I believe my greatest achievements are yet to come. One significant accomplishment so far was the opportunity to screen my film "Point Symmetry" at the prestigious Moscow Jewish Film Festival.

Being able to showcase my work at such a renowned festival was a deeply gratifying experience.

What do you consider most important about filming? 
The most important aspect of filming, to me, is the ability to share my own perspective on the world, spark meaningful dialogue, and inspire change. It is a privilege and a responsibility that I hold dear as a filmmaker.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best? 
Personally, I'm not a big fan of excessive visual effects and prefer a more organic approach to filmmaking. I believe that the best film techniques are the ones that bring the story closer to real life and follow its natural pace.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking? 
In my opinion, current filmmaking has its merits and challenges. There are undoubtedly many exceptional films being made today that push artistic boundaries, tell compelling stories, and showcase the incredible talent within the industry. However, it is worth noting that the film landscape has also seen a shift towards treating films more as commercial products rather than purely as an art form.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
One aspect that can disappoint me in a movie is when the story is primarily told through VoiceOver narration rather than being conveyed through the actions, dialogue, and experiences of the characters. While VoiceOver can be a powerful storytelling technique when used appropriately, an overreliance on it can hinder the immersive and engaging nature of the film.

Who supports you in your film career? 
I am fortunate to have the unwavering support of my parents in my film career. From the very beginning, they have been my biggest cheerleaders and advocates, encouraging me to pursue my passion for storytelling through film.

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
The reactions to my film have been incredibly heartwarming, and I have received positive feedback from various sources.  

While the opinions of spectators, film critics, and friends are important to me, the positive feedback from my parents holds a special place in my heart. Their support and encouragement have been a driving force behind my creative endeavors, and their belief in me has given me the strength to overcome challenges and keep pushing forward.

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Yes, I have had the opportunity to attend several prestigious film festivals throughout my career. However, one festival that stands out in my memory is the DOC NYC. It was an incredible experience to be a part of such a renowned event that celebrates the art of filmmaking. The festival showcased a diverse range of exceptional films and provided a platform for filmmakers to connect with industry professionals and fellow creatives.  

What are your future plans in filmmaking career?
Currently, I am excitedly delving into the research phase of my next project, which is a narrative short film. I am collaborating with a talented co-writer, and together we are exploring various themes and story ideas to create a compelling and engaging script.