13 July 2022

Developing your passion with Mariya Zhuravleva (BA Practical Filmmaking – Berlin)

By Elise Czyzowska | Categorised in Uncategorised, News, Student Stories

Before joining MetFilm School Berlin for her BA Practical Filmmaking course, Mariya Zhuravleva had already begun her industry education, studying Film and Television with a concentration in Editing and Visual Effects at DePaul University.

Between her former degree, and her time at MetFilm School, Mariya has spent six years in the industry, gaining experience and finding her areas of passion: editing, and producing.

In today’s blog, Mariya explains how these two craft areas compliment each other surprisingly well, what she’s learnt from her BA Practical Filmmaking course, and more.

You’ve been involved in the world of film since high school – can you remember what sparked your initial passion?

My sophomore year of high school, I joined a class called ‘New Media’, where students were learning how to tell visual stories around the North Shore community in Illinois. I remember seeing these videos made by my classmates and thinking how fascinating it was; constructing a whole story from scratch. That class was where I learned the art of storytelling and fell in love with the process.

Having gained experience in many crew roles, what drew you to the BA Practical Filmmaking course?

After my previous university in the United States, I started looking into English-taught schools, and I stumbled across MetFilm School. Something that immediately stood out to me was the focus on the practical aspect of studying – this was an immediate ‘green flag’ for me.

The BA Practical Filmmaking course is designed to give students an opportunity to discover their passion for film by giving them direct access to major roles in various stages of production. It’s a very hands-on experience, and that was something I was looking for.

Mariya Zhuravleva on set!

With 5+ years of experience in the industry, how has your course helped to expand your knowledge?

I’ve been genuinely surprised at how much I’ve learnt. Even though I’ve spent six years studying film before coming to the School, I’ve still had the chance to expand my knowledge and learn from different tutors who each have something unique to offer.

We’ve had a specialist from the industry for each module, who has come in for classes, and even if the topic of the class is something that I already know, it’s never the same approach as the one I’m used to. Every tutor has something personal and exciting to offer.

Focusing in on your passion for editing, what is it that you enjoy about the craft?

I love the creative freedom in editing. It makes me feel like I’m in charge of the final piece. In a way, it’s in my hands what the audience is going to see, and how they’re going to feel. Also, just trying out different ways of telling the story in order to find the perfect fit is always very exciting to me. I can spend hours, just me and my Premiere project!

Mariya Zhuravleva’s Cinematography Reel

Do you have a set process that you approach each new project with, or do you tailor it to the style you are working with?

I usually tailor my editing process to the style of the project. For example, if I have a documentary to edit, then I would have a different approach and extra stages before I actually get to the assembly part of it all.

But, throughout the years, I’ve definitely developed personal guidelines for each project. I’ve spent a good amount of time learning all the basics of how every editor should do the job, but at some point, you develop a personal style and ways to be more efficient in your job.

You mentioned that MetFilm School has helped you to realise a passion for producing – how did this come about?

In all honesty, producing is totally different to editing, and yet over the last year I’ve developed a real passion for it. I would never have thought that I’d be interested in documents, release forms, or the financial side of filmmaking – until our Short Form Production module.

A friend of mine asked me to be her producer very last minute, and I decided to help out, even though I had absolutely no experience in the area. I researched on my own through my class notes, classmates, and of course, the internet. I quickly discovered that there’s just something about being able to organise a whole shoot and help with making the film possible.

Finally, how are you hoping to combine these passions as you continue your career?

I definitely plan on combining editing and producing in the future. I feel like working in these two parts of production compliment each other well – for example, if there’s a very expensive prop that there is just no budget for, I can try to fix it in After Effects. Plus, it also means I have full knowledge about the projects I’m working on, and what the director might require from me in post production.

As well as this, it would help me to develop trust with the crew from the very beginning – this is something that I’ve found in a project I’m currently working on, which is a documentary short about a young female director and her struggles trying to make a controversial feature film about cannibalism.

I’m trying to find new ways to combine these two passions, and I think it’s especially important in the second year of my course. This way, I can see what life is like after film school, and what it takes to be a filmmaker.


Watch Lake Bluff Open Lands, a documentary project which Mariya worked on

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