• Biography

    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 in Hiroshima, where his score against South Korea was lauded the Best Goal in the history of Uzbek football, famously called the “Golden Goal.” Alia's paternal grandfather Berador is named the Best Uzbek Goal Scorer of the 20th century, also considered the greatest football player in Uzbek history. 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 reporter 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 Awards for her documentary work (Sadako) and theater writing and direction (Michael Jackson: Peacemaking).


    In 2012 Alia created and hosted a radio show "Azamat's Champions" on Radio Terra which became one of the most popular programs of the station. On her namesake show, she aimed to bridge the gap between professional athletes and listeners, dedicating a big part of it to entertaining biopic-style profiles on star football players including Zinedine Zidane, Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Steven Gerard, and Pique.


    A published Poet by that time, Alia wrote "The Sun" lyrics 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 NYFA as a Screenwriter. Since 2016 Alia served as a Script Supervisor on more than 200 narrative and commercial projects. The most notable of which are Russian Doll, The Sinner and Love, Victor and promos for Glass and When They See Us, as well as various commercials starring Hugh Jackman, Tessa Thompson, Dua Lipa, Samuel L. Jackson and Turkish Airlines Super Bowl spot starring Morgan Freeman and Hellmann's Super Bowl spot starring Pete Davidson.


    In 2018 Alia married the No. 1 American Backgammon player and Grandmaster Victor Ashkenazi. Since then Alia uses her marital last name as a Writer and Director and her middle name Azamat in Script Supervisor credits.


    Alia’s narrative writing credits include shorts Am I Pretty (2014), Mama (2015), Stay (2021) and Esther’s Choice (2020) — the latter of which Alia also directed and produced. A Francois Arnaud-starrer, hailed by audiences as “a tender but fraught journey” and “hauntingly beautiful,” the romantic thriller has won the Best U.S. Narrative Film and the Best Cinematography (Guillermo Cameo) Awards at Venice Shorts, and ranked No. 6 most-viewed film at the Chelsea Film Festival, out of 130 selected projects.


    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. 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 the Opening Night Feature Film of the festival, a rare honor for a documentary. After picking up the Best Documentary Feature prize at the Oxford International Film Festival, Misha is set for international distribution, and Esther's Choice is now available on YouTube worldwide.


    Alia just signed on to direct a French independent drama set in 1960s on Reunion island, with French stars Cyril Gueï and Laëtitia Eïdo attached. She also wrote to direct her first studio feature with GAME1 on board to produce. Alia is in development of NYC-based family drama series with Mainstay Entertainment; set to direct an off-Broadway play "Carry On" conceived and produced by Jane Tuv; and is also attached to direct John Klein's biopic on Franz Kafka set in pre-war Nazi Germany.


    As a Writer, Alia is best known for her emotional, often ensemble cast, linear storytelling with a use of unconventional narrative devices, such as imaginary characters and fantasy/dream sequences. She's made a name for herself by skillfully balancing comedy and drama in her scripts, showcasing a unique voice and tone in each story. The subjects of family, identity and success are central in her work, she also often explores trauma, love and parent-child relationships in her writing.


    As a Director, Alia strives for visual sensation and cinematic poetry in her films, 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 and book adaptations.


    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.