Today the film industry still struggles to include female filmmakers and director, but Viktoria I.V. King is determined not to let that keep her from behind the camera, and from seeing her work on screen. The 29-year-old award-winning British-American Director, Producer, Writer and Photographer has a passion for storytelling through filmmaking. She has directed and produced multiple projects for Theatre (plays, musicals, opera), and Film (award-winning feature film & web series, short films, commercials and music videos) both in the UK and the US. Viktoria is also a former dancer and a classically trained singer & actress, which rounds out her versatility in the Arts.
Viktoria’s family heritage spans across the Guianas. The Queens New York native was raised by her French-Guyanese grandmother, but the vast majority of her Guyanese family members were born in British Guyana.
Viktoria is the Creative Director and Executive Producer at CYNE 59 Productions (cyne59.weebly.com). Her work and creative eye are greatly influenced by her international background. As a largely visual director, she creates stories with a focus on displaying themes relating to broken people trying to connect, identity, social & political relevant stories, healing, and self-discovery. She is also the creator of the multi-award-winning comedic series “FML” (F**k MY Life) Series that has distribution with REVRY and Brooklyn on Demand. In addition to filmmaking, Viktoria is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced internationally in the UK and Scotland as well as in both New York and LA. She is also a member of Film Fateles, NYWIFT, NYC Women’s Filmmakers & Film Powered.
Viktoria opens up below about what motivates and drives her artistic talent.
Where did you learn filmmaking?
I received a BA from the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMBA), but I didn’t formally attend film school. I’m self-taught and learned from directing theatre for about a decade both in the UK & the US.
What made you want to pursue a career in the film industry?
I’m a storyteller first and a filmmaker second. There were stories that I felt had to be told and I knew that my medium is through film. I also want to create stories for people who look like or are like me. I’m multi-ethnic. I’m Guyanese, British, Chinese, Indian and Dominican. So representation matters to me the most and I wasn’t going to wait for someone to give me permission to make films and tell stories, I gave myself permission. It’s so empowering watching a film that is 1. saying something and 2. showing a story through the eyes of someone you can relate to.
What would you say most motivates your creativity.
Life is a motivation within itself. But truth be told, I simply have the desire to make stories that matter but also I have urges to really make art; art I’ve never seen before. Art is an expression and thus I get my inspiration from music, paintings, films ( I watch a lot of foreign films more than I watch films in the US) dance, literature and/ or when I see lack of inclusion. I also train myself to learn more and see everything (films) in order to help me grow as an artist.
Viktoria in director mode
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
I suppose it would be the following things: finding my voice as a filmmaker; becoming a member of the internationally renowned Film Fatales and now helping with their Outreach, winning a fellowship to the prominent Rocaberti Writer’s Retreat in France in October of next year, writing 6 feature films in the last month in which 2 are in pre-production “War & Peace” and “A Girl Who Got Shat On”, finishing my short film “Echoes in Silence” that is set to be sent to film festivals internationally, having my films be accepted into 30 film festivals thus far– those are my biggest accomplishments to name a few.
You’ve won a number of awards. Tell us about them.
Yes, my plays have won countless awards; most recently I’ve won “Best Director” and “Best Web Series” for my award-winning series called “FML Series” which has distribution by Revry & Brooklyn on Demand.
What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
Hmm. It was a life goal of mine to be a biomedical engineer. I speak 3 languages ( English, Spanish, French). I love watching international films. I trained and played piano for 8 years. I am a classically trained singer & actress.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Enjoy even when you’re not enjoying. Live and be your truth. Never forget your vision or who you are. Surround yourself with people who are going to bring you forward not keep down to their level. Being alone is not lonely. Your time will come, trust. Let go and Let God.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are?
Yes, they were real people and then celebrities. I had a mentor that has changed the whole course as to how I perceive art, my directing style and a big part of who I am, Handan Ozbligin-Bromley. She’s a prominent Turkish Director who has directed theater internationally and has participated in the Director’s Lab in Lincoln Center. My grandmother also deeply shaped me into the woman I am today. Celebrities wise: America Ferrera ( starred in the first film where I saw myself, “Real Women Have Curves), Kerry Washington (First actress that looked like me that I saw), Christina Vidal (First Latina Actress with her own show, “Taina” on a network) Tupac (the greatest-helped shaped “word play/poetry” for me) , Aaliyah ( super confident in being her true self) Selena( the icon- showed me how you can have success and still be a great human being with morals- You don’t have to compromise yourself, in fact, use your individuality in order to prosper).
Working behind the scenes
Are there any major challenges or obstacles that you’ve overcome?
I have but fortunately, they were not detrimental to my career or hindered me in any way. I think being a woman and then a woman of color, especially at this time right now, you will find hurdles or getting into certain things: programs, festivals but the hurdles won’t be as huge as they might have been before. You also might have to modify where you are looking for acceptance. Now is the time to tap into what makes you different and showcase that more so since we are slowly but surely moving to a more inclusive society.
What advice would you give a young girl/woman who wants to pursue a similar career?
I would say, “Start now, Don’t wait”. We as women wait a lot: wait for permission; wait for things to be perfect or “good enough”, wait for our nerves to pass. I’d say, “If you’re going to be scared; be scared in motion.” Take the time to figure out exactly what it is that you want, create a trajectory and go for it! Life is short and you need to embrace all aspects of it now.
What would you say is the essence of being a woman who rocks?
The essence of being a woman who rocks, is someone who goes out there, gets what she wants and doesn’t compromise who she is. She has a vision and therefore, there is nothing that can suppress and/or hinder it as she knows to surround herself with people who will enhance it. She’s driven, humble and talented.
What’s next for you or what are you most looking forward to?
I’m in post-production for my short film, “Echoes in Silence” and I am in pre-production for a second feature film, “War & Peace”. It’s a Dramatic Thriller film that is about a troubled therapist that is forced to deal with her past as she meets three women from different walks of life and as they delve through their issues, they unintentionally find with healing and sisterhood.
To learn more about Viktoria’s work visit www.viktoriaivking.com