Nikolay Velikanov is a filmmaker, athlete, and hospitality and tourism graduate from Moscow. Nikolay has had a passion for filmmaking since he was ten years old, watching Hollywood movies from the greatest artists such as Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Joel Schumacher, all of which were a big influence on Nikolay’s decision to become a filmmaker. He began his career as an actor in Russia where he appeared in a national commercial and TV show called The Soldiers starring Boris Sherbakov, a famous soviet actor. Nikolay’s passion for American filmmaking brought him to Los Angeles in 2009, where he started pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts degree in acting and filmmaking. Since then, Nikolay has produced over 20 films, both scripted and non-scripted, including commercials and music videos. He worked with stars such as Allan R.J. Joseph, Shaquille O’Neal, Jonathan Jackson, the rapper RZA, Lebron James, and Ilia Volok.
Calm Commercial featuring Lebron James
His film Through the Indian Eyes had a successful festival run and brought him numerous awards, including the Best Short Documentary Award at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood. The film became part of the educational program at the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks, CA where the film was shot. It became very successful among the visitors, many of whom purchased copies to share with their families and friends. It also attracted other film productions to work at the property, which significantly helped develop the museum even more.
Nikolay Velikanov (right) with the actor Val Kilmer (Batman Forever, The Heat)
Nikolay’s projects are always very educational and deal with some sort of scientific exploration. For example, the movie Mission Control starring Ilia Volok (a well-known Hollywood actor) and Brian Bedell (a former NASA engineer), is about a space mission to a large Earth-like planet called Kepler 22b, a mission that has united countries from around the world. This science-based dramatic film not only entertains audiences but also educates people about space exploration and technology. The film premiered at Warner Brothers’ Studios and went to online distribution after the festival run.
Another magnificent movie that not only has cinematic beauty but also an educational storyline is Mission Control: A Point of No Return. It tells the true story of the astronauts onboard Space Shuttle mission STS-117 and the challenges they faced during their mission to the International Space Station. The project features John “Danny” Olivas, who was one of the astronauts on the shuttle. The film became very popular among engineers and the younger audience since it shows what astronauts go through and how calmly and professionally they can use their skills to overcome challenges.
Working on a commercial for Calm
Stay Healthy is an ongoing docu-series about different ways to exercise with or without equipment, and how to combine fitness with a performance. Nikolay documented a pole dancing competition featuring and run by Oksana Grishina, who throughout her career won four consecutive Ms. Fitness Olympia titles and ten consecutive Arnold Classic competitions.
Switching gears dramatically, Nikolay made a documentary action film: No Turning Back: the Russian Heat of West Sacramento. The story centers on a group of Slavic police officers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and features Tom McDonald, their police chief (who also happened to play a police officer in Terminator 2: Judgement Day starring Arnold Schwarzenegger). They demonstrate new and unique ways of developing good and positive relationships with their community and how the community responds to this positive outreach. The group of officers is presented to us as modern heroes that can make a difference in the interactions between the public and the police. This film shows great examples of using effective people skills and training police officers in a way to make them successful. It became very popular and appreciated among the police departments and the community. The city of West Sacramento spoke highly with respect regarding this project. Russian Heat went through a successful festival run and won multiple awards.
Nikolay Velikanov (right) with the actor Ilia Volok (Mission Control, Gemini Man, MInx, Shameless, NCIS)
Nikolay is currently working on his next project, the documentary Through the Indian Eyes Part 2. He is co-producing alongside the American Indian producer and director Allan R.J. Joseph.