Born in Uzbekistan and raised in Russia, Alia Azamat Ashkenazi is a published Poet turned Award-Winning Filmmaker. Writer and Director with over 10 years experience, Alia also works as a Union Script Supervisor on narrative and commercial projects.
Alia Azamat Ashkenazi was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and raised in Moscow, Russia by her paternal grandmother, Soviet journalist-turned-librarian, Rano Abduraimova. Alia was heavily involved in drama and literature club in high school and graduated as an Honors student and Valedictorian.
Alia's father Azamat Abduraimov is an international soccer star and a Champion of 1994 Asian Games. Alia's paternal grandfather Berador is the best Uzbek Goal Scorer of the 20th century, also considered the greatest football player in the history of Uzbek football. Born into a dynasty of elite athletes, Alia herself played junior tennis competitively and now is a vocal fitness aficionado.
Alia started her career in 2006 as a Sports columnist in Otechestvenny Futbol magazine and a Social contributor for the Russian national newspaper, Uchitelskaya Gazeta. Alia's achieved an impressive journalistic career for her very young age only to realize that her true love and her true talent lay in dramatic writing and visual storytelling.
Alia is a recipient of two United Nations Medals for the "Heart to Heart" and "We Live Dreaming of Peace" screenplays; she was also UN-Honored for Writing-Directing the play "Michael Jackson: Peacemaking" and "Sadako," a short docu-film about Sadako Sasaki, one of the most widely known victims of Hiroshima nuclear attack remembered through the story of one thousand origami cranes she folded before her death. Following her success as a participant of United Nations Art Festivals, from 2008 to 2011 Alia collaborated with the UN as a Writer-Director of their International Peacemaking Festivals in Moscow.
In 2012 Alia created and hosted a daily radio show "Azamat's Champions" on Radio Terra which became one of the most popular shows of the station. A published Poet by that time, Alia wrote a song "The Sun" for a pop-rock band, SAHAR; the song became a chart-topping hit in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and was frequently rotated on Ukrainian radio stations.
In 2014 Alia moved to New York to pursue a career in Film and Television. She won a talent-based scholarship and graduated from the New York Film Academy as a Screenwriter. Since then Alia works as a Screenwriter, Director and Script Supervisor.
In 2018 Alia got married to the No. 1 American Backgammon player and a former Goldman Sachs VP, Victor Ashkenazi. Since then Alia uses her marital last name as a Writer/Director and her middle name Azamat in Script Supervisor credits.
In 2019 Alia made her narrative director debut with Esther's Choice, a short film starring Emma Orelove, Francois Arnaud and supermodel Mary Leest. The film had its premiere in October 2020 simultaneously at two festivals: Chelsea Film Festival (New York) and LA Femme Film Festival (Los Angeles). Due to the global pandemic, both festivals run virtually, and Esther's Choice became No. 6 most-viewed film of the CFF, a festival with 130 selected films.
In November 2020 Alia was invited to the Big Apple Film Festival with two films, Esther's Choice and the World Premiere of Misha, a feature documentary Alia co-wrote and co-directed atmosphere scenes for. Esther's Choice won the main Prize at Venice Shorts Awards for "Best U.S. Narrative Film" and "Best Cinematography" (Guillermo Cameo). Alia was also nominated for "Best Female Filmmaker" and "Best First Time Filmmaker." Esther's Choice had its international premiere at the Paris Independent Film Festival in December 2020. Both Esther's Choice and Misha made an Official Selection at the prestigious Santa Fe Film Festival in 2021. Official Selection of the Manchester Film Festival, Misha was also an Opening Night Feature Film of the festival, a rare honor for a documentary. An Official Selection of the Garden State Film Festival, Esther's Choice was nominated in the "Best Home-Grown Short" category. An Official Selection at the Academy-Award and BAFTA Qualifying RovingEye Flickers Rhode Island Film Festival, Misha continues its festival run around the world, as well as Esther's Choice.
As a Writer, Alia is best known for her emotional, often ensemble cast, linear storytelling with a use of unconventional narrative devices, such as retrospect and fantasy/dream sequences. Female-driven Thrillers and Dark Romance became a specialty of Alia. The subjects of self-identity, motherhood and obsession are central in her work, she also often explores themes of duality, sacrifice and shame in her writing. Alia strives for visual sensation and cinematic poetry in the films she directs, so that one could watch them repeatedly and discover something new every time. Raised by a librarian, and surrounded by books all her life, Alia expressed interest in bringing Magical Realism to screen, and is a fan of blending genres.
As a young girl Alia played Backgammon, a hobby she continues to have to this day. In fact, Alia is the Winner of the 2015 Capital Classic Backgammon Championship held in Washington D.C., the 2016 Ultimate Backgammon Tournament held in San Antonio, Texas and the 2019 Boston Backgammon Championship. She is a numerous-time Finalist of such distinguished US Backgammon Tournaments, as Las Vegas Open and New York Metropolitan Open.