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     Zoya Laktionova was born in Mariupol, in a working class family in 1984. She is a documentary filmmaker and visual artist who uses moving images, photography, and texts in her work. Zoya aims to convey emotions through art metaphors intertwined with the dramatic language of cinema. This often makes it difficult to clearly allocate Zoya's films, which is why they are shown both at film festivals and in art museums such as the Center Pompidou in Paris or the MUMOK in Vienna. In her artistic practice, she adopts micro-history, auto-ethnography and creative storytelling to unfold the complexity of greater events and historical contexts. Zoya first appeared in the world of documentary cinema as a character in the film "Ma"(10’) in 2017, and a year later made her first short documentary "Diorama" (12’ about the mined sea at the  Mariupol area. The film won an award in the MyStreetFilms category at the “86” festival (Ukraine) in 2018, has participated in numerous European film festivals (DOKLeipzig, Ji.Hlava, Cottbus etc), and was released in cinemas in Ukraine in 2019.


Before the start of a full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine (24/02/22), Zoya lived in Kyiv and worked as an independent artist and documentary filmmaker. 


         Artist's statement

     My art practice belongs to two disciplines—documentary filmmaking and contemporary art. Through my films, I aim to convey emotions using art metaphors intertwined with the cinematic drama language. This often makes it hard to find an unequivocal place for my films, which is why they are screened both at film festivals as well as at art museums and art galleries. In my practice, I adopt micro-history, auto-ethnography, and creative storytelling to unfold the complexities of greater events and historical context. In my short films, I build a human-to-human language that doesn’t use complex political terms and is clear to the majority of the living. Even though my stories often touch on the complexity of the influencing macro powers of existence, I believe that the micro-stories of the human experience, and especially for me now—the human experience of war—need to be told. For a human to feel the other human being behind the big abstract categories like politics, history, economics, or social theory.

Educational background/ labs

2023 - Documentary Industry Days in Gdynia (Poland)

2023 - IDFA Project Space, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

2023 - DocLab Poland at Krakow Film Festival (Poland)

2022 - IDFAcademy, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

2022 - Salzburg Summer Academy, Fragility and Resilience: Queering Strategies Revisited, Salzburg, (Austria)

2022 -  goEast - "EAST-WEST TALENT LAB", Wiesbaden (Germany)

2019 -  Documentary Storyteling with personal voice, B2BDOC - workshop, Kishinev (Moldova)

2019 - The Sergey Bukovsky Film Program, documentary filmmaking course, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2018 - MyStreetFilms, documentary filmmaking rogram, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2018 - Ji.Hlava Academy, documentary filmmaking orkshop, Jihlava (Czech)


2024 - Global Media Makers by Film Independent, Los Angeles (USA)

2024 - Civitella Visual Arts Fellow (Italy)

2022 - Harriman Residencies in Paris - Columbia University | Institute for Ideas & Imagination, Paris (France)

2021 - nominated top-10 young Ukrainian artists "MUHi"

2021 - best short documentary "Territory of empty windows", french-ukrainian international film festival "MICT"

2021 - special mention for "Territory of empty windows", "Obyrok" International film festival (Ukraine)

2018 - best short documentary "Diorama", "86" International film festival (Ukraine)

Selected film festivals

2024 - Sunny Bunny,​ Kyiv (Ukraine)

2023 - WIZ-ART LISFF, Lviv (Ukraine)

2023 - Post Porn Film Festival Warsaw (Poland)

2023 - Go Short – International Short Film Festival, Nijmege (Netherlands)

2023 - DC Environmental Film Festival, Washington DC (USA)

2023 - Tampere Film Festival  (Finland)

2023 - Sehsüchte - International Student Film Festival, Potsdam (Germany)
2022 - FIDMarseille, Marseille (France)

2022 - goEast - Wiesbaden (Germany)

2022 - Vienna Shorts (Austria)

2022 - Encounters Film Festival, Bristol (UK)

2022 - Filma. Feminist Film Festival​ (Ukraine)

2022 - Wiz-Art Lviv International Short Film Festival (Ukraine)

2021 - MakeDox Creative Documentary Film Festival, Skopje, (North Macedonia)

2021 - Docudays UA, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2021 - WIZ-ART LISFF, Lviv (Ukraine)

2021 - Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival (Ukraine)

2019 - IceDoc (Iceland)

2019 - Bamberger Kurzfilmtage (Germany)

2019 - Uppsala film festival 2019 (Sweden)

2018 - DOK Leipzig (Germany) - International Competition Short Film

2018 - Ji.hlava IDFF  (Czech)

2018 - Cottbus FilmFestival (Germany)


2024 - Global Media Makers by Film Independent, Los Angeles (USA)

2024 - Anca Poterasu Gallery, Bucharest (Romania)

2024 - Civitella Visual Arts Fellow (Italy)

2023 - Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (Austria)

2022-23 - Harriman Residencies in Paris - Columbia University | Institute for Ideas & Imagination, Paris (France)

2022 - steirischer herbst, Graz (Austria)

2022 - VILLA MÜLLER, Feldkirch (Austria)

2022 - CeRCCa,  (Spain)

2021 - Grounding IZOLYATSIA, Soledar (Ukraine)

2021 - TBCK forward residency program for female documentarians, Kosice (Slovakia)

Solo Exhibitions

2024 - Memory Practices, Anca Poterasu Gallery, Bucharest (Romania)

2022-23 - Zoya Laktionova: Remember the Smell of Mariupol, Jozef Kollár Gallery, Banská Štiavnica (Slovakia)

Group Exhibitions

2024 - Between Farewell and Return, Mystetskyi Arsenal, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2023 - Recharge and Revolt - Melkweg, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

2023 - bak, Utrecht (The Netherlands)

2023 - Dig Deep, Slovak Institute in Prague, Prague (Czech)

2023 - The International Coalition of cultural workers in solidarity with Ukraine, Dymchuk Gallery, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2023 - Chapter III: Water as displacement​, Oncurating Project Space, Zurich (Switzerland)

2023 - Deadline Ukraine,​ Kino REX, Bern (Switzerland)

2023 - Sun, sun, illuminate the shadows!, Lisbon (Portugal)

2023 - Motorenhalle,​ Dresden (Germany)

2022-2023 - L'ami intérieur Palais de Tokyo, Paris (France)

2022 - Documenta Fifteen​ - Documenta Halle, Kassel (Germany)

2022 - "Chain Reaction", MAXXI - Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (Italy)

2022 - "Chain Reaction", Kunsthalle Bratislava (Slovakia)

2022 - "Film of emergency/ Ukraine experimental film and video art", National Gallery, Sofia (Bulgaria)

2022 - 5th floor - the digital platform of the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, online (Switzerland)

2022 - To Watch the War –The Moving Image Amidst the Invasion of Ukraine (2014–2022)​ - Coalmine (Winterthur, Switzerland)

2022 - "Sweet Dreams Foundation", Nida Art Colony of the Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania) 

2022 - "Sweet Dreams Foundation",​ Kaunas Picture Gallery, Kaunas (Lithuania)

2022 - "Film of Emergency – Ukrainischer Experimentalfilm und Videokunst", Kunstraum München (Germany) 

2022 - "Preserving the shape", Galerie Raum mit Licht, Vienna (Austria)

2022 - "Home and Abroad: Central Europe Cinema", Olomouc Museum Of Art, (Czech) 

2022 - "A War in the Distance. Prologue. An Embattled Ukraine in Video Art and Film", Neue Galerie Graz (Austria)

2022 - 2022, Gmunden (Austria)

2022 - Ukrainian-Georgian Contemporary Art Exhibition "Tomorrow", Literature Museum, Tbilisi (Georgia)

2022 - "Give Me Tomorrow"Corner of Conceptica, Lisbon (Portugal)

2021 - Exhibition by participants in the Grounding residency series , IZONE, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2021 - MUHi Exhibition of the finalists of the competition of young Ukrainian artists, M17 galery, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2020 - #bruederschaft with “Territory of empty windows” short film (10’), hybrid offline (KINO42) and online, Kyiv (Ukraine)

2018 - photo project "Trees". AkT space, Kyiv (Ukraine)

Publications/ Catalogs

2024 - Deadline - Film Independent Sets Participants For 2024 Global Media Makers LA Residency

2024 - Mutual Art -  Zoya Laktionova: Memory Practices

2024 - Harriman Magazine, printed and online. Language: English.

2023 - Notebook, Issue 2 - Ukrainian poet Natalka Bilotserkivets and filmmaker Zoya Laktionova talk about life and art during wartime. Printed magazine. Language: english.

2023 - MUBI | In Conversation with Natalka Biloserkivets and Zoya Laktionova

2023 - EL PAIS | Moscow loses a cultural battle as Degas’ ‘Russian dancers’ recognized as Ukrainian​

2023 - "War on Culture- Culture at war" Conversation with Ukrainian artists at the Muzeum Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (Spain)

2023 - In Conversation with Ukrainian Documentary Filmmaker Zoya Laktionova (Harriman Resident in Paris, ’22 -’23)

2023 - La cultura en tiempo de guerra, rtve teleradio2, Spain

2023 - - Zoya Laktionova v Galérii Jozefa Kollára

2022 - Cineuropa - Takflix launches "Mariupol, I Love You" collection

2022 - Block magazine - ‘Preserving the Shape’ at Galerie Raum mit Licht, Vienna curated by Olena Newkryta and Anastasiya Yarovenko

2022 - Artribune - Chain Reaction, al MAXXI la rassegna sulla videoarte ucraina

2022 - Echo gone wrong - Lucid Dreaming at the Nida Art Colony​

2022 - A conversation with Zoya Laktionova - ON MARIUPOL, MEMORY AND LIFE IN TWO REALITIES

2022 - exibart - Videoarte dall’Ucraina al Maxxi: Chain Reaction, con un’intervista ai curatori

2022 - Radio Svoboda, interview - Інтимна документалістика Зої Лактіонової

2022 - Bird in flight - У Болгарії презентують проєкт «Галерея у вікні», присвячений роботам українських художників

2022 - Културни новини - Зоя Лактионова / "Where to go? Where to go?"


2021 - MUHi 2009-2021, exhibition catalogue. Language: ukrainian. 

Selected screenings:

2023 - MUMOK​, Vienna (Austria)
2023 - Art in Time of War: Celebrating the Resilience of Ukrainian Culture, New York (USA)
2023 - The Infinity of War, Paris (France)

2023 - Remember the Smell of Mariupol - Oldenburgisches Staatsteater (Germany)

2023 - Re : covering horizons,​ Bremen (Germany)

2023 - Her Docs Forum​, Warsaw (Poland)

2022 - What drives us - Centre Pompidou, Paris (France)

2022 - Cité internationale des arts​, Paris (France)

2022 - My childhood is in the city that no longer exists -Barcelona, (Spain)

2022 - Microscope Gallery, New York (USA)


2023 - Перетворення особистого досвіду у кіно , America House Lviv (Ukraine)

2021 - Documentary storytelling - workshop for LGBT-teenagers in Mariupol, Platforma TU (Ukraine)

2020 - Cinematography of a motion workshop, Kyiv (Ukraine)

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