• Samuel W. Sanso

Yelena Konetchy - Film through music and movement

Yelena is a true creative. She’s been on an artistic journey that has led her to take her artistic expression to new levels. Through this, she was not only lead to filmmaking, but across the world. Born in Russia, she moved to the US and became a professional dancer - profession held and honed for 13 years. This led her to travel to various cities for various projects. One of these places was Austin, where she found people that love to collaborate and learn from each other. The city provided her with the opportunity to both work as an independent artist, and grow and expand her art to new levels. She decided on Austin because of its unique culture.

What drew her to filmmaking was a fascination - the same one that lead her into dancing - with the ability to communicate stories through physical movement and unspoken performances. What she manages to achieve as a filmmaker is to bring that visual expression to the next level. Her films have a slightly surreal, yet firmly narrative feel to them, accomplished almost entirely by movement, visuals and music. Taking away the live audience aspect to the performance opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

  • Yelena: I got into filmmaking when I started experimenting in dance in small productions that were in front of a camera, primarily experimental videos and music videos. I really enjoyed the process and its medium. When a few years back several affordable theater venues that were really made for dancing were closing down, such as the Salvage Vanguard Theater, I decided to film a dance I was creating with in collaboration of two other dancers. The dance film became “Solace Is”.

And that’s where it started! The short became a success - It was screened at the Austin Short Film Festival, New York City Independent Film Festival and DDCF Dance Film Fest. From there a hunger was born and she wanted to learn, and make more, so she started work on “The Ivory Seed”, and received City funding from the City of Austin to make another dance film: “Bloom” - a personal story of hers.

  • Yelena: I really enjoy working as a Director. Not only have I had a career as a dancer but I have also worked in other roles in various productions throughout my career. Having knowledge in a little bit of everything I stepped into a Director’s role, keeping in mind that all elements have to work harmoniously in order to get the desired result. This requires trust in other people’s creative abilities.

She carefully chose to be an artist from a very thoughtful perspective: to express her take on society through filmmaking, encouraging audiences to observe their surrounding world from fresh, interpersonal perspectives. She has definitely gone beyond her craft, taking it above the common-place and growing as an artist to be able to express herself in more crafted, profound ways.

  • What interested you in filmmaking? I like filmmaking because I like how films allow freedom in personal expression through structure and cohesiveness.

  • What do you think makes you happy? I think happiness if found in oneself. I like the quote from Bob Dylan “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to.

  • What are your goals in being a filmmaker? I hope audiences enjoy my films in its magic as I see it. It’s creative power from pre-production through post is really embracing and rather addicting. I hope to collaborate with future artists on projects that also move me.

Driven by good food, good company and others who inspire her, she hopes to continue with the flow, learn more, and see where it leads her next. She’s already worked on commercials, music videos and of course, short films. Currently in post production for “The Ivory Seed”, a special project to her because it’s not a dance film, but still guided by the use of music as though it were one.

You can keep updated on her through her Instagram here: Yelena | Bloom | Ivory Seed

And check out her website for more!

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