Creating Profile: Meet the Filmmakers
Bekmambetov’s confidence in Screenlife and Profile was validated when the film won the Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival in 2018.
As Profile makes its way into wide international release, Bekmambetov thinks the film may be even more relevant today, more than a year into the pandemic.
“Profile is a thriller about relationships between people and about fear. We live online but we don’t know how to do it properly yet. For centuries, we developed our culture in physical space. We know the rules, we have a moral code, but it’s all about physical space. But for the last 30 years – one generation! – we’ve migrated into the digital world. And our rules and our social norms and culture are not adapted yet to the new reality.
By making this movie, and Unfriended and Searching, I’m trying to explore how different our lives are in digital space. How different it is, how easy to lie to another person and not be caught. Or how easy to lose control and fall in love with a person online because there is no physical presence. You are dealing just with your imagination and with the screens of your devices, messages and images popping up. We make Screenlife movies with one goal: to tell stories helping us to understand how to live in this new universe, helping to humanize this new space.”
Russia’s top grossing filmmaker. He broke out with Russian fantasy epics Night Watch (2004) and Day Watch (2005) and made his directorial debut in Hollywood with the blockbuster Wanted (2008) starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. Bekmambetov has made his name in recent years by staking on digital filmmaking and technological innovations. He is the pioneer of the Screenlife films, in which the action takes place on the screens of computers or smartphones. The first film in this format, Unfriended, grossed about $65 million worldwide in 2015 and was one of the year’s top ten most profitable film projects by rate of return. Searching (2018), starring John Cho, raked in $75 million. In 2020, he signed a deal with Universal to produce five more feature films in the Screenlife format. In 2016, Bekmambetov founded the tech startup Screenlife Technologies developing products based on AI and deep learning for the mass production of the Screenlife content.
Russian-born writer/producer with vast experience in media and entertainment industries.
She started her career as a journalist and radio DJ in her home town of Lipetsk, and then moved into advertising, working as a copywriter and then a planner and creative group head at PrideMedia, the area’s biggest agency. After a campaign she co-created won a prestigious Russian festival IDEA award, she was offered a job at the creative agency Instinct, part of the world-renowned BBDO network.
In 2006 Kharina relocated to Moscow to join the Instinct team and started her new career as a strategic planner, working for both Russian and international brands. In 2009, after successfully completing a course for strategic planners in Miami Ad School, she left Instinct for Bazelevs, Timur Bekmambetov’s film production company, joining its growing promo department.
Kharina continued to branch into new creative territory at Bazelevs. In 2011 she became Bazelevs’ creative producer, overseeing newly-created Yolki franchise. With Kharina cowriting and producing three consecutive installments (Yolki 2, Yolki 3 and Yolki 1914) of these highly successful New Year comedies, the films became box office hits in Russia that surpassed every other Christmas domestic release.
In 2014 Kharina worked as a planner and creative producer of the Russian promo campaign for Bazelevs’ smash hit Unfriended, the company’s first movie made using new cutting-edge format Screenlife. Following the successful launch of Unfriended, Kharina started working in the company’s Screenlife division, developing new projects that ultimately included Profile.
Kharina is currently working as an independent writer and producer.
He recently completed production design on the upcoming BBC One/PBS series “Ridley Road.” He previously served as production designer on Dusty and Me, Waiting for You, Hammer of the Gods and the immensely popular Netflix series “The Last Kingdom.” With additional art department credits such as Quartet, An Education, The Queen, “The Hollow Crown” and “Vera,” as well as commercials for brands including Gucci, L’Oréal, 16 Toyota and MG, Smith’s experience can truly be said to be rounded. Well-liked and well-regarded by all who have worked with him, Smith is expanding his reach further by designing more features as well as episodic television.
Film editor based in Los Angeles with several theatrical features in his portfolio, as well as series, promos and branded content. Shugaev joined Will Smith’s team in 2019 where his work expanded to include Snap Originals, like “Ryan Doesn’t Know” hosted by Ryan Reynolds and Will Smith’s “Will From Home” series, as well as editing and creating content for social media campaigns of celebrities like the Smith family, Jessica Chastain, Alicia Keys, John Boyega, Liza Koshy and brands like JUST Water, ZOOM, Discovery’s “Shark Week,” HBO’s “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion” and others. His work gained over 300 million views across online platforms in 2020.
Cover image: berlinale.de
Lights, No Camera, Action: The Screenlife Shooting Process
How the Upcoming Screenlife Thriller Was Produced
Profile is a gripping thriller inspired by the true story of an investigative journalist who risked her life to infiltrate a militant group and expose its online recruitment techniques. The film plays out entirely on its heroine’s computer screen as she becomes entangled in a treacherous game of cat and mouse with a terrorist recruiter.