We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Staroselets and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Since I was a kid, there was not a single day without making up a new story. I always had a feeling that beneath the boring routine, there had to be some magical mechanism that sets our world into action. And I always felt the urge to discover this mechanism. Or to create one of my own. That’s the main reason why I became a Producer/Director. I believe that an artist has to be this weird mix of a scientist, a philosopher, and a magician at once. There are many great examples of creativity and art being the engine for progress. Remember Tsiolkovsky’s ideas of future space facilities? Or Jules Verne’s books on underwater travel? After all, it was their visualization of the future that became the basis for scientific developments. Isn’t it exciting, building the future with the power of your imagination?
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a multidisciplinary creator. For me, each new project needs a perfect medium to express the idea of the artist fully. That’s why I’m not sticking with just with film or just theater. For the past 15 years, I’ve been working as a Creative Producer and a Director, combining various forms of performance arts and film, including immersive experiences, circus, and multimedia exhibitions, creating bespoke forms of entertainment experiences. My latest project is about the Los Angeles Metro. Its historical and spiritual connection to the waterway of the Los Angeles River. Public transportation is full of symbolism. The mobility of the crowds, loneliness, and silence of people commuting every day from point A to point B. The city itself can become a great medium for storytelling. And it’s so important to know the habitat we are living in. History of the cities, our neighborhoods, languages that people speak, their culture. Also, I have to admit, that during the pandemic my attention as a storyteller has shifted towards ecology, and mindful production. I’m learning more about ecological rationality, reusing the resources, reducing the amount of water and power. It’s been such a tough year for humanity, and probably the hardest year of my career. I think now is the best time to learn, rearrange the mindset, and grow not only as an artist but also as a human being.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would start with the Hollyhock House, built by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s such a beautiful landmark, with unique architecture. I’m a docent at the house, so I would invite my friends for a tour and show them around. It is my happy place in the city. I’m an architecture geek in general, and I assure you, there is a lot to see around the Los Angeles area. The wonderful Craftsman cottages of Green brothers, Angeleno heights Victorian houses, the movie theatres built in the twenties, and so on. Another great area to explore is Arroyo Seco. It’s huge, with several beautiful parks and hiking trails, the lovely flea market at the Rose Bowl, houses of the 19th-century artists, the Heritage Museum, Jet Propulsion Lab, and many many other cool spots. Also, it’s believed to be one of the main spiritual locations of the city.
When it comes to the food, I’m a great fan of the Vietnamese pho! And my favorite spot is “It’s Pho!” on Cahuenga boulevard.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout to a close friend of mine, filmmaker Katya Gimro! She is an amazing human being, with a deep understanding of people’s emotions, and a sharp eye of a documentary researcher. A couple of years ago, she started filming the everyday lives of people around the world. Big cities and obscure villages, different cultures, religious traditions. It’s mesmerizing to watch. Humans can be so beautiful in their everyday life.
Alexandra Romanova Shevskaya Alexey Staroselets