"Take a seat be moved," scrolls across the 2015 SR Socially Relevant Film Festival NY website; the festival where director Liliya Anisimova's most recent documentary feature Love Is the Highest Law screened last Friday.
Maybe it's Anisimova's long history as a television news journalist for Russian media outlets like Teleinform and Moscow Doverie that has given her the knowledge of what "socially relevant" really means in the eyes of an audience; but, regardless of where her capacity for creating impactful films came from, the point is, she has it.
Captivated by the unique lives and stories of the people she encounters, Anisimova is always on the look out for the next story that needs to be told; and she has found her medium for telling them through documentary film.
Aside from reaching an incredible level of success as a news anchor, Liliya Anisimova is also known across Europe as one of the hosts of Russian Travel Guide TV, an international documentary channel.
During her time at RTG TV, Anisimova not only hosted, as well as narrated travel documentaries, but she was also a key contributor to the creation of the stories that aired on RTG as both a writer and researcher.
Prior to moving to the U.S. to complete her Master's of Fine Arts in Social Documentary Film at New York's renowned School of Visual Arts, Anisimova completed her master's and bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism, as well as another bachelor's degree in translating for communications at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU).
Working consistently in the news world for several years, Anisimova's skill at delivering the facts is unquestionable-- something that, combined with the talent she developed for telling engaging stories through her career with RTG TV, has made all of her documentary films as informative as they are entertaining.
From Reel to Real, Anisimova's first film in the U.S., takes viewers inside her life as a Russian television news anchor, portraying the differences that exist between how she is portrayed on the screen and the real person she is.
An Official Selection of the 2014 Golden Egg Film Festival NY, From Reel to Real opens with a quote from Oscar Wilde that reads, "My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex." The quote is then followed by a discloser of Anisimova's own that reads, "And sometimes I feel that people perceive me only from Wilde's point of view."
The film juxtaposes segments of Anisimova hosting RTG and delivering the news as seen by audiences from their television screens, with scenes of her actual life as a normal person who cooks, shops and occasionally gambles like the rest of us.
Anisimova's next film, Magic of the Underground, takes audiences into a totally different world through her portrayal of a New York subway magician named Steve.
While Steve's performance was what first caught Anisimova's attention, it was when she saw him give all of the money that his audience had given him to a homeless man who was also riding the subway that she realized she had to know more about him.
That memorable encounter led her to create the film Magic of the Underground, which was recognized last year by the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival with the Best Experimental Film Award, and was chosen as an Official Selection of the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival.
Anisimova's most recent film Love is the Highest Law is a culmination of her talents as both a fact driven journalist and a mesmerizing storyteller. Revealing the dangerous world homosexuals face in anti-LGBT Russia, Anisimova takes her audience into the lives of three gay men who prove that love really is the highest law.
Although the film was only completed a few months ago, Love is the Highest Law has already received the Award of Merit from the IndieFest Film Awards in the Documentary Feature category, and has been chosen as an Official Selection of the Queer Film Festival and the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival.
As a filmmaker Liliya Anisimova has proven that she knows what stories matter to people and that she is the one to tell them; and we are dying to see what she comes up with next!