Ivory. Cryme Story. | Official Movie Website - The crew

the crew

Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
General Producer, Director

Former diplomat, politician, Boris Yeltsin’s spokesman, aide to Vladimir Putin and Special Presidential Envoy to the EU. Currently documentary filmmaker, journalist, photographer, traveler. For the past ten years, Sergey has dedicated his life to his passion for documentary photography and filmmaking, mainly throughout the African continent but also in other far flung corners of the globe. Out of this passion he made the international TV series dedicated to native African peoples, BEYOND THE PASSAGE OF TIME in 2011 and his first feature length documentary: AFRICA, BLOOD & BEAUTY which had it’s world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2011 and for which he won the “Golden Eagle” Russian Cinema National Prize for Best Documentary 2013.

His documentary work has led him to make films defending peoples, animals and traditions threatened by the modern world, including shamans in northern Siberia or the practice of Voodoo across Africa. Of all the causes for which he has fought, the illegal ivory trade and the massacres that ravage the elephant population is perhaps his deepest concern. He feels it is his duty to urgently bring to public light this global scale scandal before it is too late.

Anastasia Yastrzhembskaya
Creative Producer, director of the Holistic Travel agency

Studied in Florence, specializing in art and architecture.

Since 2006, worked on the project of alternative medicine Holistic Travel. The project was successfully launched in 2012.

Organizes healing tours and seminars on alternative medicine, as well as charitable gala events in Monaco and Russia.
From 2009 to present co-author of Sergey Yastrzhembskiy's documentary films in the Yastrebfilm studio.

Chris Bolzli
General Producer

Since 2003 Chris Bolzli has collaborated with Claudie Ossard, a relationship that has led to films by some of the world’s biggest talent, whether Wim Wenders, François Ozon or Alfonso Cuaron. Together they are producing films of international scope loved by critics and audiences alike.

In the 1990s, his passion for cinema and Russia led him to produce films by pioneers of the Russian new wave, making films by Sergei Bodrov, Andreï Konchalovsky, Karen Shakhnazarov and the polish director Andrzej Zulawski. From here, he went on to produce a dozen European films, specializing in international coproduction. His relationship with the director/producer Sergey Yastrzhembskiy deepened his interest in and love of the African continent. Together they made the documentary Africa and now hope to reach audiences the world over with IVORY.

Olga Vershinina
Executive Producer

Historian by education. Former political journalist. Winner of Russian national PR «Silver Archer» award. President Vladimir Putin personally expressed twice his gratitude to Olga.

Olga works in Documentary Film Production Studio "YastrebFilm" since 2009, when it was founded.  She serves as executive producer, scriptwriter and film director.

Anna Arsenyeva
Production Manager

Graduated with honors from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the MFA of Russia, School of International Journalism, and Department of Public Relations. From 2010 till present Anna has been working for the Yastrebfilm Documentary Production Studio as Project Manager and Executive Producer. During the years of work in documentaries she learned all about the filmmaking process, some episodes of the film IVORY. A crime story were shot under her own direction.  Anna is trying to lead a more ecologically sustainable lifestyle and does what she can to help save our environment. Since 2008 Anna has found a new hobby in volunteering; in 2014 she worked for the Sochi Olympics as a volunteer of the French National Olympic Committee. 

Azat Grigoryan
Editing Director

Before working at the film "Ivory. A Crime Story", he has edited dozens of documentaries for the Russian television, festival works, music videos, TV serials. In 2014, he served both as the second director and as the editor for the full-length feature film, released to the public in Russia and the CIS.

In 2012, he graduated from the Humanitarian Institute of Television and Radio broadcasting with a degree in Directing.

Has few own directing works. 

Temu Anna-Maria Teresa
Production Manager

Born in tanzanian-belarusian family, I’ve always felt that I want to do something for Africa and its wildlife.  My African Odyssey began back in 2006 when I started doing African studies in Moscow State University. I studied history, politics and African languages. I knew that African animals are the uncounted victims of Africa’s conflicts, victims of poverty and corruption. In 2013 I joined the YastrebFilm crew to take part in this breathtaking journey called to save the African elephants which is called “Ivory. A Crime Story”. 

Samuel Leshan Lebasha
Associated Producer

Was born in a small village called Porro Maralal, Samburu County.

Leshan studied tour guiding in East African Tourism College in Nairobi, Kenya. He later proceeded to study a course in Ornithology at the museum of Kenya. In 2004-2006 he went overseas in Spain to study Tourism and Marketing.

In 2008, he came back to Kenya and established his own company called “Gaig & Leshan Safaris LTD”. It is during his tour operations that he met Sergey Yastrzhembskiy. They have since worked together in the production of African tribes documentary, featuring the Elmolo and the Maasai communities among others, building a professional and personal relationship based on trust.

In October 2008 Leshan Lebasha founded the Leshan Educational Foundation (www.leshanfoundation.org) to collaborate with the only one primary school in Loiyangalani town with 500 children. The foundation provides school supplies (uniforms, books, pens, food, etc..) to the poor, orphaned children, and children from single parents.

Marina Makarova

Hello! My name is Marina Makarova. I am composer. I made my first sound of the piano when I had just learned how to sit. Since childhood, I could meditate at the piano for hours, and soon my mother realized that I would be a musician! I always liked to create new music, and often participated in the composers’ competitions and won! I obtained higher education in the legendary Gnesin Russian Academy of Music. Aleksey Muravlev was my professor; he is a wonderful composer and a great man! I started working in cinematography in 2004. For more than 10 years, I learned to work in all genres of cinematography and television. I like to write music for films because through it I create their own musical history, influence on the film as well as a director does, completes his thoughts and enhance viewers’ feelings. It is always interesting and exciting! The main aim of my work in cinematography is to help people to live and fill their souls with light, compassion, love and easiness.

Elisbar Karavaev
Director of Photography

Legendary Soviet and Russian cameraman. Graduated from cinematography faculty of the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography. He made the extremely popular Soviet films included in the golden fund of world cinematography. He was awarded the RSFSR State Prize for taking part in the film "Soldier came from the front" as a cameraman. Since 1993, he has been working with the famous Russian film director, Oscar prize winner Nikita Mikhalkov. Since 2008, Elisbar serves as a director of photography for documentaries of Sergey Yastrzhembskiy.

Sergey Vasilyev

Russian cameraman, IMDB participant. Sergey originally hails from the ancient Russian town Saratov. In 1991, he moved to the United States of America with his family. From 1991 to 1995, he worked in his specialty for the Action Video Production Company in Anchorage, Alaska. From 1995 to 1997, he worked as a cameraman on the KIMO 13 NEWS ABC Сhannel in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1997-1998, he worked as a photography director for the V-Cinema Company in Seattle, Washington.

In 1999, he returned to Russia. He worked as a photography director at the editors office of the popular-science films on the Channel 1 Russia in Moscow. At this moment, he is a freelancer collaborating with various companies as a photography director.

Sergey’s portfolio contains more than 100 documentaries, more than 200 advertising and corporate projects and 5 fiction films.

Since 1999, he began actively developing the digital cinema and became one of the new technologies pioneers in collaboration with the world's leading manufacturers of digital cinematograph engineering.

He has won numerous film festivals awards and has received the international diplomas as cameraman and co-author.

Nikolay Tarkhanov

Director, producer, cinematographer, photographer. Nikolay originally hails from Siberia. He took part in the project «Ivory. A Crime Story» as a cameraman. He is a member of the Documentary Film and Television Guild, a member of the Union of Art Photographers in Russia. Nikolay became writer, director and cameraman for the documentary films «Olkhon-island of contrasts», «Without sky», «Life lessons», «Three rounds of war», «Broken doll». Since 2010, he has been collaborating with the studio «YastrebFilm». Nikolay mainly devotes his work to Siberia by making the documental films about the Siberian peoples. Completely special place in his works occupies Lake Baikal.

Dmitry Geller
Director of animated films, Artist, Animator

He started his career as an independent artist. The exhibitions of his works took place in St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Washington, Sofia, Moscow, and Yekaterinburg. As a filmmaker, he has made 10 animated films, which awarded prizes at the animation festivals.

He created the full motion videos to animated films and documentaries. Invited by the Chinese animation institute in 2011-2013, he created together with the students two animated films, one of which won the Chinese national award for the best short film in 2012, the Grand Prix of the festival in Hiroshima and came into the long list of American "Oscar".

 Geller’s movies are participants of the musical performances in France, Holland. The film "The Boy" took part in the jubilee presentations in connection with the 60th anniversary of John Zorn in Paris and on his jubilee concert in Mexico City.

 Retrospectives of his films took part at film festivals in Moscow, in Amsterdam on the ship «Ship of fools», in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Poznan, Nicosia, and the selected films were shown in the сinematheque in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the films are stored in the museum’s collection of the festival in Hiroshima.

Christian Fleury
Location Manager

For many years Christian Fleury has been travelling around the world to learn more about peoples of all origins and discover nature he is deeply in love with. For almost 10 years he lived in the South Pacific and travelled to all continents organizing shootings of documentaries about relationship between Man and nature.

That was in the middle of a Cameroonian forest that Christian met Sergey Yastrzhembskiy for the first time back in 2009 for a shooting of a documentary on the Baka Pygmies lifestyle. For Christian this meeting was a beginning of a great adventure, which resulted in filmings in Africa, Asia, and Oceania about endangered ethnic groups taken aback by globalization. Those documentaries represent evidence that will show to future generations the richness of the traditions of those peoples living in symbiosis with nature and being its best protectors. 

Christian has been very enthusiastic about working on the new Sergey’s project to show to the world the extreme danger of the extinction of elephants because of ivory trade. What seemed to be a difficult challenge due to the complexity of the subject, to geographical dispersion, and dangerous people involved, turned into the film “IVORY. A crime story”. It is a resounding event. Let’s hope that its impact will help elephants to finally live in peace.    

Zarina Kopyrina

Zarina is a magic wood nymph with the versatile talent, primitive spirit of the nature, wisdom and insight that fill her magnificent soul. Beautiful, elegant, gentle and sensual like a black swan. Her unsurpassed perfect vocal takes away to the subsoil of wild forests, dips into the unknown attracting world of an intact nature, and takes into a mystery of its laws. Besides Russian cities, Zarina gave the solo concerts in Paris, Brittany, Nym, Strasbourg, Lynnville and Warsaw. She participated in the documentary film "The Shamans of the World". In addition, Zarina won a grand prize "For the safeguarding of the Epos Olonkho - the masterpiece of oral and intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO" and released an album "Sakha music in Yura Mountain" with the French record label. She is a participant of American Fiancé TV reality show (Miami) and X-Factor show (Poland), a resident of Buddha Bar (St.-Petersburg). Currently she works at OLOX projects with Roland, sound engineer and owner of MyNoise app for IOS (Belgium).

Frederic Belge

French journalist based in Bangkok since 2003, Frederic Belge is covering news for major French media outlets in South East Asia as a correspondent.

Frederic is working for radio, newspapers, magazines, websites and TVs. 
Writer, photographer and cameraman he likes to capture the good and bad sides of the world we are living in and focus on a continent not always well known by westerners. It was his pleasure to work with Yastrebfilm production for such a big project covering the danger elephants are facing in Africa and in Asia.

Jeff Koinange

Jeff Koinange, one of Africa’s most well-known and experienced television journalists, is known to viewers across Africa from his days as CNN’s Senior Africa Correspondent, a post he held for six turbulent years from 2001-7.

Jeff won plaudits for his reporting of major events from all across the African continent. These have included the violent civil war that led to the overthrow of Charles Taylor in Liberia- where he secured an exclusive interview with the outgoing president- to the subsequent inauguration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia as Africa’s first female-elected president, and the arrest and deportation of Charles Taylor. 

 He reported from Sudan on the crisis in Darfur and from Uganda on the refugees who have fled Sudan’s Lord’s Resistance Army. Based in Lagos, he covered Nigeria extensively, its politics, its economy and its people and traveled extensively to numerous other African countries reflecting life on the continent to CNN’s global audience.

 Although Jeff was CNN’s Africa Correspondent, his journalistic talents meant he frequently reported from outside the continent. In 2005, he was part of CNN’s Peabody Award winning team that covered the devastation wreaked on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. He also reported from Baghdad on the post-war insurgency, reconstruction and the historic elections in Iraq in 2005.

 Other significant events Jeff covered during his time with CNN included the US President, George W Bush’s Africa tour, the first by a sitting US Republican President;

In 2005 Jeff won a Television EMMY (the only Kenyan Journalist to have ever won one) for coverage of the devastating famine in the West African nation of Niger. Other awards included the George Foster PEABODY award for his coverage of the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2006, the Vernon Jarrett Bronze Medal in both 2006 and 2007 for ?Best Feature’ on ?Mass Rapes in the Congo’ and ?Famine in Malawi’ respectively.

In 2006, Jeff was awarded the Prix Bayeaux for War Correspondents for his reporting on the civil war in the Congo.

He is currently Host of the twice-weekly popular and controversial Talk Show, Jeff Koinange LIVE #JKL broadcast on Kenya’s Television Network, KTN.

Jeff holds a Bachelor’s Degree from New York University (Class of ’91).

Aleksandr Voloshin

He worked in advertising before starting his television and cinematography career. Apparently, it was a foregone conclusion since childhood, when Aleksandr chose the study of art in the Museum of Oriental Art and the Museum of Fine Arts instead of playing football and pickup games. Passion for fine art, photography, game of camera angles led him to the film photography. He worked on Channel 1 Russia (ORT). Then there were various TV and film projects, advertising and music videos shooting. “Traveling a lot helps to expand a worldview, to notice cultural and moral patterns. I was in such places that I would hardly visit for no special reason. But shooting of documentaries allows us to see the real, "undressed" and seamy life.” He took part in the shooting of films about the life of the reindeer herders in Chukotka, the Christians in Turkey, the African weddings.

Yuri Efremov

In high school, he became interested in photography and on graduation from school, he entered the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), faculty of cameraman, workshop of V.I. Yusov. 

In the second year, he did practical training under the supervision of Elisbar Karavaev. Working under his leadership in large measure determined the further creative career. He wanted to explore different genres: fiction films, TV series, reports, music videos, commercials.

In 2008, Elisbar Karavaev invited Yuri to take part in the documental films of Sergey Yastrzhembskiy. His ideas turned out to be were very congenial and interesting for Yuri. Since the foundation of the studio «YastrebFilm», Yuri participated in the shooting of 37 films in different parts of the planet.