In depth with Producer and Director Azat Zhapekov
Director and Producer Azat Zhapekov recently sat down to talk to Real TV Films about some of his projects he has been working on, including, music videos, commercials and feature films, to name a few. Here is what he had to share with us:
Please introduce yourself to the readers:
My name is Azat Zhapekov, I am a Director and Producer based in Los Angeles, working on several projects including music videos and commercials to feature film productions and organizations of concerts abroad.
How and when did you first get into production work?
I grew up backstage as my grandparents were actors and I witnessed first hand, the production process going on behind the curtains. It was always exciting for me. I accomplished my educational goals before I realized what I really wanted to do with life. I took some photography and producing courses, and then was involved in music video production and fashion photo shoots in Kazakhstan. I continued with organizing and producing some projects in Turkey, but later decided to follow up with a professional education to discover all the aspects of manifesting my artistic vision to motion pictures. I enrolled at the MFA in Filmmaking program at the New York Film Academy; that was the time when I received really hands-on experience. I acquired valuable knowledge while having fun at the same time.
What has been your favorite production to work on so far?
I’ve enjoyed and learned from every project I’ve worked on; beginning in pre-production, I would describe my excitement as if I were in a spaceship and getting ready to leave planet earth. I am developing and planning for a feature film with plans to direct it in 2016. Hopefully, the stars in the sky will line up and the project will happen.
What would be your ideal production/genre to work on and why?
Dramatic films are my favorite but I welcome any potential projects where I can be exposed to challenging ideas. I like horror and thriller films; as kid I was always creative and good at scaring friends and family and did it so theatrically! These would be other interesting genres to explore, as well.
If you could work with anybody in particular, who would it be?
I am producing lots of music videos and really enjoying it. There is the saying: “A soldier who doesn’t want to be a general is a bad soldier.” I would love to work with such artists as Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. I think I could create really good concepts for music videos or fashion short films and commercials. My biggest accomplishment would be to work with James Cameron. I love the way he gets fully involved in every part of the process in making films.
Who or what inspired you growing up?
My grandparents were a big inspiration for me. I often observed my grandfather when he was preparing to go on stage. He would put on a fake nose, cheekbones, big old school wigs, and interesting and exciting costumes. I draw inspiration from everything: it might be an amazingly shot Bruno Avellian commercial; the epic photography of Annie Leibovitz or 90’s hip hop videos directed by Hype Williams. A good movie, book, person, or a walk in the city streets at night.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
My first major was global management, which was a good base for me; then I took a course in producing and photography, followed with MFA degree in Filmmaking (Directing) in NYFA. I began acquiring knowledge in my infancy as all my family is in the arts field.
What has been the biggest achievement or award you have received in your career, so far?
I have had different nominations and prizes and each one has been valuable for that time of my life. I think the greatest accolades are in the future. I am young and am working on achieving my goals.
What are your plans for the future?
Oh Lord! I have so many plans for a future in filmmaking, as well as in different fields of art. I like concert production, art direction, and costume design. I see myself expressing my talent and potential in various art forms.
And to light the Hollywood sign, again, too, no joke!
Azat-Zhapekov