Olesya's Bio

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Olesya's Bio

Post by Ulissija » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:25 am

Olesya (Olga)Bondareva is a documentary filmmaker and dance movement psychotherapist based in Toronto. Her 25 years as a filmmaker and 7 years as a psychotherapist has given her experience in a wide range of genres, including documentary film, television broadcast, magazine editorial, photographic exhibitions, inter-art exhibitions , dance therapy and performance.

Born in Russia, Olesya graduated from Moscow State University, receiving a diploma with distinction, cum laude. It was there that she produced her first two independent films. “I Take Away Your Pain,” a documentary about the Armenian genocide, and “Duma,” a short film about the Russian election of 1992.

“Duma” received special recognition for innovative journalism style from The Open Society Institute of the George Soros Foundation in 1993.

From 1995 to 2002, Olesya worked in Moscow for Russian television’s First Channel (Ostankino) as a prime time commentator, and director/producer for many of their documentaries and hundreds of their broadcast television shows. She was also a reporter who covered wars in Chechnya and Armenia (Karabakh).

During her 7 years as a Director for First Channel’s live prime time one hour special program, called “Point of View” (Vzgliad), Olesya produced varied media content, from live talk shows, documentary films to music shows. One of the stories she produced, “Giselle” («Жизель»), received second prize at the Montenegro Documentary Film Festival. It is the story about the broken life of a French woman married to a Russian soldier after War War II, during the Stalin regime.

In 1999 Olesya co-produced, in collaboration with Marianna Yarovskaya, the documentary film “Undesirables,” which won the Student Academy Award and the College Television Award in 2001. “Undesriables” is a story about homeless kids of various ages living in Russian cities, a story so moving that Olesya did not stop when the film was finished. She continued working with waifs/homeless kids and started a provocative action to fight child homelessness in the country by organizing the “First All-Russia Waifs Congress” which pressured Russian President Yeltsin to issue a presidential order to the Russian government to pass a state law to fight child homelessness by opening shelters for the children throughout the country. 

From 2001 to 2006 Olesya co-produced and co-directed one more film with Marianna Yarovskaya. “Holy Warriors” is the story about Afghan and Chechnya war veterans - a priest of Russian Orthodox church, his Muslim friend and another veteran who took a shaman's path. This film screened in 17 countries around the world and won three Awards: the Best Documentary Award at the European Independent Film Festival in Paris, the Critics Prize at the 54th Belgrade Festival of Documentary and Short Film and the Audience Choice Award at the Documentary Art Festival in Poland.

In 2002 Olesya made a documentary “Generation?..” (Поколение?..), which was nominated in 2003 for the TEFI-region Prize (a.k.a "Russian Emmy”). The story is about Russian people who were born and grew up after the Soviet Union collapsed. 

In 2002, due to the major changes in the political situation in Russia, Channel One canceled the contract with "Vzglyad” (“Взгляд”). Olesya left the TV channel and, in partnership with the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, established a documentary film production studio called Mosaic. 

For the next 6 years, as a co-founder and head of the studio, Olesya traveled all over Russia making several ethnographic film productions. She received a GosKino grant from the Russian Federation to direct and produce a full-length feature documentary film called “Cancelled Love”. The film tells the story of how one Russian family, whose daughter was a drug addict, built Russia’s very first rehabilitation center for drug addicts in the hope that their daughter would return to a normal life. The film was shown to social workers dealing with addicts to help them understand the issues of addiction. In 2009 the film was accepted at the Deboshir Film Fest and got a special mention as a “Mighty Film!" ("За мощь!”).

Olesya also received a grant from the Cultural and Cinematography Federal Committee of Russia to direct “The Man Who Made the Stars” ("Человек придумал звёзды") which was screened at numerous festivals in Russia. It is the story of an old man who as a son of the enemy of the Stalinist State was not given a proper education yet, through personal determination, single-handedly built a planetarium in a southern remote village of Russia.

In 2006 Olesya joined the Federal TV Channel “Zvezda” (Star) as a special programs producer and editor-in-chief of all studio programming. Because of rising censorship, she resigned from the channel after one year as an act of protest.

During 2007 - 2008 she became the editor-in-chief of "Digital Photo" Magazine, the largest magazine publication about a photography in Russia  (circulation 100,000).

In 2009 - 2011 Olesya went back to school at the Institute of International Psychology, Psychotherapy  and Professional Development in Moscow and attained a degree in psychotherapy, specializing in dance movement psychotherapy. She took an active part in many professional dance movement psychotherapy conferences in Russia and Belarus.

Оlesya is the creator of a number of dance-therapy-client-trainings events that took place in cities across Russia. She also developed a unique body-oriented psychotherapy method called Relational Massage & Bodywork. Clubs of  Relational Massage & Bodywork, established by Olesya's students, are currently working in cities of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. She led an experimental street performance group called “Laboratory of Street Performance” ("ЛУПа") in Moscow for non-professional dancers, as part of a program of individual dance psychotherapy, as well.

Оlesya has a particular interest in the indigenous roоts of psychotherapy and is an avid anthropological researcher. In 2010 - 2015 she took a number of trips to Southern Kazakhstan to research the Sufi Dervish and shaman spiritual traditions of that region. During one of the trips, Olesya met Bifatima, a Sufi Dervish woman, who is the inspiration for Olesya’s long term documentary film project about the Sufi people, their worldview, their healing practices, and their spiritual culture in Kazakhstan from the point of view of a psychotherapist.

Olesya has collected a huge digital archive of personal photos which she has organized into a photo exhibit called “The Last Dervish of Kazakhstan”. This personal photo/media collection was shown in many world cities including Brussels, Paris, London, Belgrade, Almaty, Moscow, Kiev and St. Petersburg. It also premiered at Le Insitut Francais in London (UK) as part of the institute's annual film and music festival "Mosaiques". Currently, Оlesya is working on a documentary series based on this material and her long-term history of personal connections with Kazakh shamans and Sufi people.  A few trailers of this series will be shown at the 12th Biannual IEATA International Conference of indigenous Roots of Expressive Arts Therapy this fall.

Olesya continues to visit and live with shamans and their families as part of her ongoing research and study of indigenous people and their roots in psychotherapy. From 2010 to today Olesya has made several expeditions to remote parts of Russia and internationally, visiting Altai (shamans), Kazakhstan (shamans and Sufi), Uzbekistan (healing Chinese traditions), Ukraine (Molfar), Turkey, (Sufi Mevlevi), Indonesia (dance and music traditions of Bali), Thailand (massage traditions), and Hawaii (indigenous Hoʻoponopono tradition). 

In 2013-2014 she scripted and produced  two television shows for Russian cable television channel  "Psychology 21"  ("Психология 21") titled “Live Traditions of Slavic people” ("Живые традиции славян") and “Path Treasureres” ("Люди Пути"). “Slavic Traditions” is a documentary series about the early traditions and celebrations of the Slavic culture. “Path Treasureres” shows  Olesya's personal journey as a psychotherapist to shamans and healers around the world. 

Olesya immigrated to Canada in late 2015 and is currently working on a photo and art exhibit called “The Last Dervish of Kazakhstan” for the 12th Biannual IETA International Conference of Indigenous Roots of Expressive Arts Therapy in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
She has also begun production of an exciting new film-performance project called “Dance Walking Through Canada” and is in development on a documentary, co-produced with Professor Manu Meyer of the University of Hawaii, about the native Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.

Since moving to Canada, Olesya has expanded her dance psychotherapy practice, developing an innovative online method of expressive art therapy, called Authentic Movement Solo (AMS), that combines dance therapy and art therapy techniques. In 2016 she started her own group psychotherapy internet course for Russian speaking people throughout the world, bringing AMS to an expanding international audience.

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