This post was written by Olia Oparina.

I grew up in a small Siberian town after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I found salvation in fantasy to escape the brutal reality of the 90s. When my psychic grandmother introduced me to Slavic folklore at the age of eight, I instantly fell in love with the art of storytelling. Combining that with seeing what happened to people living under daily Soviet propaganda, I have many stories I want to tell that provoke emotions and tap into the human psyche.

After graduating from KSTU Russia with a communications degree, I moved to Hollywood and enrolled in USC's MFA program. Here, I directed my first feature film, Snowbound, which was screened at the Marche Du Film during the 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival and distributed worldwide on multiple streaming platforms.

We shot Snowbound in Colorado in the middle of a snowstorm. It tells a story of party attendees that wake up naked in the snow near a cabin. In the cabin is a murdered woman with a message that in order to survive they must find who is responsible for the girl's death and murder that person accordingly.

We used DaVinci Resolve Studio to grade and finish the film. Our colorist set a distinct look for the film, which was a mix of intensely bright outdoors in the sun and snow, and dark, claustrophobic indoor scenes. We also used DaVinci Resolve Studio to create multiple film versions for the various formats and standards required through global distribution.

DaVinci Resolve gave us a lot of freedom to go in different directions with the story. So much emotion comes from a scene's color, and Resolve lets us dial that in with the footage. Also, because Resolve is used worldwide, I can collaborate with a vast network of colorists and post-production professionals.

_mg_7379'Snowbound'Credit: Olia Oparina

Following the success of Snowbound, I worked on several music videos and short films. My recent short film I Am Normal played at oscar-qualifying festivals such as Palm Springs, LA Shorts, and Cinequest, and received numerous awards. The story is inspired by the Rosenhan experiment of 1973 when sane people (pseudo-patients) entered the mental wards around the U.S. to see if doctors could tell them apart from the mentally ill.

Our beloved cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who tragically passed away on the Rust film set last year, convinced us to shoot on film. Encouraged by the success of the short, we wrote it as a feature.

The goal is to honor Halyna's talent, bring awareness to the safety on set, and keep Halyna's visual style in the I Am Normal feature tribute.

Halyna_1Halyna HutchinsCredit: Olia Oparina

I Am Normal has a very nostalgic and perfectly textured for the time period cinematography. It has a particular hue and almost filtered-like quality to create a pastel-heavy picture that's inherently 1970s in style. It never feels harsh or dark as it lives within a realm of drama, bringing forth a very human and, at times, gentle perspective.

DaVinci Resolve Studio played a massive role in setting the foreboding feeling of the film. Using the software's color correction tools, we set and changed the tone of each scene to help tell the story in only a few minutes.

The film's beginning is monochromatic and washed out, showing the mundane neglected world of the patients. Towards the end, when the themes of insanity and despair escalate, we turn down the color in the scenes.

Img_6343'I Am Normal'Credit: Olia Oparina

We used Resolve to highlight the dark orange color palette around the actors when they spoke about being trapped and considering suicide. Resolve helped us walk the viewer towards knowing what happens to one of the main characters without revealing it through the story.

We shot the images flat with the idea that we would be able to adjust the color in Resolve. Knowing that DaVinci Resolve is powerful enough to give me the tools I needed to dial in the image to what the story needs is very useful.

I am working on several new short films and pitching two feature projects. DaVinci Resolve will definitely be a part of all of them.

Visit Olia's website and IMDb.