Moscow-raised, Toronto-based Nika Belianina is an award-winning writer/director and a fine art photographer. Her films have screened worldwide and at Oscar-qualifying and numerous other film festivals, such as Tribeca, Sheffield, Atlanta, Fantasporto, Cinefest Sudbury, Olympia and San Paulo. Most recently, she's been directing "Fear Thy Neighbour" tv-series and "Paradox" short film, shot on the Volume Wall. A Women In Director's Chair (WIDC) Alumnae, DGC director, Nika received the WIFT scholarship to attend BANFF in 2021 and was the only Canadian director mentored by the MTV Paramount in 2022.
In her narrative and work, Nika likes to explore alternative realities, be it in a character’s imagination (Crazy Lovin’), or a full on anti-utopia and fantasy (Butterflies of Trip City, The Last Mermaids). She sprinkles magical realism when possible and loves working in comedies. Her documentaries highlight the voices of the less heard - Indigenous knowledge keepers (The River of the Kukamas) and experimental artists (Eccentric Eclectic).
As an avid visual storyteller, Nika has shot for the Federal Government of Canada, on the Indigenous territories in Canada, USA, Mexico and Peru, for the BBC Studios, Ruptly.tv, Joss Whedon and others. Her fine art photography has been showcased at over 30 exhibitions in Canada, Belgium, Peru and the USA. Nika's photographs capture not just the outer appearances of things, but their inner significance, through movement and in-camera techniques, creating unique emotions.
Belianina has an MA in Social Psychology and a tireless curiosity towards life that comes with a big smile on her face.
Write.Right Films is her production company, established in 2015.
Curious Captures is her Fine Art Photography studio established in 2023.
Originally stayed in Canada only because her Russian documents got stolen
Was one of the very few female lighting technicians in Toronto in early 2000s
Had lunch with Lou Reed in New York
Spent ten years learning from actor/director Clark Johnson (S.W.A.T., Homeland, Homicide: Life on Street, The Wire) who produced her first several films
Got lost in medieval catacombs of Czech Republic with Masha Alyokhina (Pussy Riot)
Spoke with Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) as one of the ten selected from around the world film directors (Jihlava Film Fest, 2015)
Got adopted by the Blackfeet (Amskapi Piikani) tribe in Montana
Has traveled to about 25 countries, but really wants to go to Space. Almost had her dream fulfilled at the European Southern Observatory in Chile in 2017.
Follow on Instagram @lifeasnika
Nika directs actors
Robert De Niro, Nika Belianina & Jane Rosenthal at Tribeca film festival, 2018
Nika Belianina and Holly Small on the set of "Haunted", 2021
Awards & Acknowledgements
2023 Audience Choice Award Winner at the Re-Focus Colour Photography Competition, USA
2022 Women In Director's Chair (WIDC) Story & Leadership program participant
2021 Audience Choice award for "The Robbery" at Cinefest Sudbury film festival
2020 Two Honorable mentions at ND PhotoAwards: Editorial Essay for "Blackfeet Culture" and Night Photography
for the "Magic Forest" series
2020 Best Photography at "Overzealous" exhibit for "Tangled by Sandy Winds", Toronto
2020 Best International Short film - "El Río de los Kukamas" - FINCA, Argentina
2020 RBC Yorkton Film Festival Mentorship Program
2019 Casa Xaaninna Artist Residency award, Mexico
2019 Best Cinematography, "The River of the Kukamas", 23rd To Save and Preserve Ecological film festival in Russia
2018 Canada Arts Council grant award
2018 Honourable Mention at 60 Rochester Int'l FF, USA "El Río de los Kukamas"
2016 Best Documentary Film – Jerome Indie Film & Music fest “Eccentric Eclectic” USA
2014 A finalist of 6th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards in three categories, USA
2013 Silver medal at Gallery Photographica, San-Francisco, USA
2013 Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts - Artist in Residence award, WY, USA
2013 Honourable mention at New York Center for Photographic Art
2013 Audience Choice for Best Canadian Film at ReelHeART Film fest for «The Last Mermaids»
2012 Honourable Mention at 55 Rochester Int'l FF, USA, «The Last Mermaids»
2012 «Best of photography 2012» publication, Photography Forum magazine, USA
2011 Best Experimental Film at World Arts Film Fest (USA) – «Butterflies of Trip City»
2011 Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts - inter-disciplinary Residency Award, NE, USA
2010 Honourable mention at The Julia Margaret Cameron Award (photography), USA
2009 & 2011 Ontario Arts Council Grant Awards, Canada
2007 Best Fiction at Svirskiy Mif Inter’l Film Festival (Russia) – “Crazy Lovin’ “
2007 Cinematic Excellence – 50 Rochester Int’l Film Festival (USA) “Crazy Lovin’ “
2005 Best Film at First Take Int’l Student Film Fest – “The Doom of the Orb Master”
Playback Magazine feature on the WIDC selections, Nov 2022
CBC Metro Morning "Covid Portraits" radio interview with Gallery 1313, Toronto, 2020
Wild & Scenic Film Festival - We are moving stories, 2019
eFilmCritic interview for Victoria Film Festival, Canada, 2015
Radio interview on "Eccentric Eclectic" with the CFUV, Canada, 2015
An interview by the leading Russian newspaper "Moscow News", 2011
A review of photography after FAT exhibition in Canada, 2011
An interview by Andy Carling, an EU accredited freelance journalist (Belgium'09);
Article in the Oldest Russian Newspaper in North-America «Novoye Russkoe Slovo», NY, 2010
Eye Weekly Magazine online "To Do List" of the week, Canada 2011
Radiostation «Voice of Russia» interview, Moscow, Russia 2009
Article for the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography's magazin, VGIK, Moscow, Russia, 2007
East York Mirror Newspaper, Toronto, Canada, 2005