BA Film and TV, international programs: interview of Uliana Zhigalova | 3IS

Uliana Zhigalova tells us about her studies in the BA Film & TV program

21.06.2021 Paris Formations

Uliana Zhigalova comes from Russia, she is currently a 2nd year student in the BA Film and TV program. She took advantage of a break during the filming of her series project to answer a few questions.

Click here to access the video version of Uliana’s interview.

Tell us about your background. What did you do before attending 3iS?

“I studied photography in Russia and also in the UK. I wanted to be a photographer. Then I had the opportunity to work for an audiovisual studio. I could both study and collaborate on their projects. The studio had agreements with local TVs on various programs such as travel shows, short fictions, etc. My tasks were related to social media, camera work… exploring the world of video awakened my childhood interest in cinema, I changed my career trajectory to film-making.”

Why did you choose to study at 3iS?

“During my high school years, I participated in an exchange program. I studied in Poitiers and I really enjoyed the French way of life. After graduating I could not wait to come back to France. My French was not very good so I had to find International or English-speaking programs. I came across 3iS and I was reassured by its recognized 30-years of teaching expertise, among other things.”

Tell us about your student life at 3iS?

“Looking back now, choosing 3iS was the best option:

  • The campus is very handy: there are many facilities and on-campus housing which is very convenient, especially when working late into the evening;
  • The people: both teachers and students, they are all very supportive which is not always the case everywhere. I perceived a lot of empathy which was important to me, especially with the pandemic situation;
  • The environment is enjoyable for living and studying: the location may not seem “lively” but it has plenty of green spaces, perfect for outdoor activities and it remains close to places of entertainment (shops, cafes, restaurants…) and to Paris.”

Click here to read more about the 3iS Paris campus.

BAFTV student projects, behind the scenes with Uliana Zhigalova, photo credit Maureen DURASNEL
BAFTV – behind the scenes with Uliana Zhigalova – photo credit Maureen DURASNEL

What about the BA Film and TV from your point of view?

“I appreciate the hands-on learning approach. The small classes give us conditions conducive to studying. We can work very closely, we exchange ideas a lot, we experiment together, we share the same energy. We ended up being close friends.

During the 2nd year in BAFTV, we have to produce 3 series. It is an opportunity for each student to take over the different functions in the process of making a series. These projects help us develop multiple skills. And beyond filmmaking, we also learn how to interact and communicate effectively and humanely with a team. An enriching life lesson.”

Who are your favorite creative professionals?

“I admire the work of Wes Anderson and Andrei Tarkovsky. This choice may seem trivial but one can only admit that they are genius directors.

Anderson has succeeded in creating his own recognizable style. I like the way he portrays anti-hero characters; his introspective viewpoint speaks to my generation. It contrasts with the colorful imagery, costumes and fantasy of his movies. His work is both high-value and approachable.

My interest for Tarkovsky came later on. One day a friend took me to the theater to see “Mirror”. I had a sort of shock. After the screening I stayed 15 minutes speechless. Tarkovsky is one of the best movie directors in the world. His avant-garde work and esthetics are impressive. I also admire the way he switches genres from a daily family life to sci-fi movies: he manages to tackle finely social and political matters.

These talented directors are inspiring, I dream to be like them later in life.”

What advice would you give to a student wishing to pursue a career in the audiovisual or film industry?

“Choosing an artistic path -and abroad- does not always come with support from your family. Some parents do not take these careers seriously. In my case, it has been difficult, especially with my mother. So, at the begining I had to study IT to please my parents. I discussed at length with them to convince them I was making the right choice. I think it is essential to explain things clearly and have their full support. These jobs are not always easy, like a roller coaster between peak and off-peak periods, emotions, sometimes it doesn’t turn out as expected… it can be so exhausting and yet so thrilling.”

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