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Moscow-raised, Toronto-based Nika Belianina is an award-winning multi-hyphenate: writer/director, camerawoman and a photographer, with the background in lighting and props. Her work has screened across 25 countries and at Oscar-qualifying and numerous other film festivals around the world, such as Tribeca, Sheffield, Atlanta, Cinefest Sudbury, Madrid, Olympia and San Paulo. A Women In Director's Chair (WIDC) Alumnae, DGC director, Nika received the WIFT scholarship to attend BANFF in 2021 and is the only Canadian director to be mentored by MTV Paramount in 2022.


In her narrative and photography 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,, Joss Whedon and others. As a photographer, she showcased her critically acclaimed work at over 25 exhibitions in Canada, Belgium, Peru and the USA.

Juror and a recipient of international artist residencies, Nika has taught film and photography to students in Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Ontario and Moscow. She assisted Oscar-nominated director David France on “Welcome to Chechnya” documentary before directing "Fear Thy Neighbour" tv series for Discovery/CTV. Her latest adventure is directing a short comedy "Paradox" on a Digital Volume Wall using Unreal Engine. Nika 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.

Fun facts

  • 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

Sandy, magical, nika belianina, self-portrait, creative

Awards & Acknowledgements

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

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