Aisultan Seitov

Partizan Entertainment, HYPE Production

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 

My first professional director work was shot in Almaty in Kazakhstan. I directed for a local city pop artist. He’s like the father of the local indie scene. We made a music video about raves and parties in the Soviet Union. It was my first professional work. The budget was like 3k. And it was right at the start of 2017--It was my second year in university.

2) How did you get into directing? 

When I was in fifth grade, my class teacher taught me Sony Vegas or iMovie--I don’t remember very well, but basically, he taught me how to edit, and that was my first introduction into directing/production. After that, I started to study and develop my direction, and started shooting my first works in high school on a Canon--like short films, YouTube videos, and music videos.

3) What is your most recent project?

Commercial wise, my last project was for Sprite. It was a big campaign, and we made this crazy set. I am really proud of that commercial. For music videos, my last was Joji’s “Run” that we shot in LA. The concept was to shoot Joji trying to escape from an endless limo.

4) What is the best part of being a director? 

The best part of being a director is being able to express yourself absolutely free from any restrictions, no boundaries for imagination. That’s where I can be most myself.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 

Probably nothing. There is no worst part of being a director. The only thing is that you need to compromise in some situations, but it’s part of your job, so I don’t think directing has any critically worst part… Maybe budgets, probably? Because you want to express yourself, and you can’t count how much money you need. You just want to build whatever you want. You want to shoot whatever you want. You want to use any camera, any people, any crew, and sometimes you can’t do it only because you have limits in the budget, but it is what it is.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre--comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 

My current career focus is to make my own movie. I’m currently writing a script, and I think you will see this film a lot next year in film festivals. I believe in that. I want to shoot films about Central Asia, to make Central Asian films be recognizable in the world. In the cinema world especially. That is my aim for the next probably 10 years, but we will see. Every year, I’m changing my direction.

7) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you? 

I didn’t have a mentor really, but I can highlight my teacher in university, Paul Warner. He was my directing teacher, and he was absolutely amazing. He taught me a lot of things. I think the only mentor that I can mention is him, as a professional from this industry.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? 

This is a really tricky question because it’s changing basically every three months. For example, when I was in high school, my favorite director was David Fincher. And another one was Wes Anderson. Then it’s changed a lot. Probably right now, my favorite director who is inspiring me is Akira Kurosawa.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 

My favorite movie… I can’t say—it’s impossible. I just love cinema in general. I’m buying a lot of Blu-ray discs—like every week—because I keep discovering and exploring films. I’m not big fan of TV shows, but I can highlight Atlanta by Hiro Murai and Donald Glover. My favorite commercial or branded content is also a really hard question, but I was a big fan of all Nike and Jordan commercials. When I was in school, I was really inspired by them. I’m a big fan of animation, so I can highlight all Genndy Tartakovsky work, like Samurai Jack. I used to grow up on those kinds of shows when I was little. I’m more into cartoons than TV shows, to be honest.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 

I grew up in Central Asia, Kazakhstan. My hometown is Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Before I got to the US, I used to direct commercials and music videos in Moscow, Russia. It’s been pretty fun. I got into the industry really young when I was like, probably 19 years old. I got into music videos, and my 2017-2018 years were super fun and very exciting. When you’re a teenage kid getting into this big celebrity industry, it just absolutely blows your mind.

11) How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?

I can’t say that it was hard for me, because I was locked here in Kazakhstan, so I spent time with my family and friends. It was probably the first time in the last four years since I was home in Kazakhstan for six months. And it was absolutely amazing because I started to discover some local art. I started to read more. I started to be more interested in Kazakh history, and I really feel like I’ve developed in a good way. Because I was locked here, I had time to finalize my script—And right now, my aim is to shoot a movie.


For Commercials: 
Contact Lisa Tauscher, Managing Director/Executive Producer, Partizan via email 
For Music Videos:
Contact Sara Nix, Executive Producer, Music Videos, Partizan via email

For Commercials/Music Videos: Contact Ilya Dzhincharadze, HYPE Production via email