Born in Uzbekistan and raised in Russia, Alia Azamat Ashkenazi is a published Poet turned Award-Winning Filmmaker. A recipient of two United Nations Awards for her documentary work and theater writing and direction, Alia now writes screenplays and works as a Film, Theater and Commercial Director.
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 named 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 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 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 "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 the New York Film Academy as a Screenwriter. Since 2016 Alia served as a Script Supervisor on more than 150 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, Amy Sedaris, Jenny Slate, Grace Elizabeth, and Turkish Airlines Super Bowl spot starring Morgan Freeman and Hellmann's Super Bowl spot starring Pete Davidson.
In 2018 Alia got married to the No. 1 American Backgammon player 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 is now set to direct her first off-Broadway play “Carry On” conceived and produced by Jane Tuv; attached to direct John Klein's feature biopic on Franz Kafka, and is in development of a New York-based drama series with Mainstay Entertainment.
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. The subjects of ambition, identity and family are central in her work, she also often explores themes of duality, secrets and shame 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.