IDA Member Spotlight: Polina Herman
Polina Herman is a Ukranian Producer based in Los Angeles. In 2022, her film Price of Conflict was nominated for the 38th Documentary Awards, ABC News VideoSource category. She is an alumnus of the 2023 UCLA Professional Program in Producing, a member of the Producers Guild of America, European and Ukrainian Cinema Academies, and the National Union of Cinematographers of Ukraine, amongst other organizations.
In 2016, Herman founded her company, UP UA STUDIO, which is engaged in film production, development, and advancement of Ukrainian cinema in Ukraine and abroad.
In 2022, she organized and participated in Before the War: A Celebration of Ukrainian Cinema with the support of the American Cinematheque. Now, she is also a producer of a Dovzhenko League – the largest Ukrainian film community in the US- which helps Ukrainians integrate into the American film industry and promotes Ukrainian cinema.
IDA: Please tell us a little about yourself and your profession or passion.
Since 2012, I've immersed myself in the world of cinema, wearing various hats, from costume designer to site administrator. However, as I approached the age of 26, I found myself contemplating the future and pondering my true passion and purpose. It was then that I had an epiphany—I realized that the role of a producer resonated with me, and I aspired to become one. My goal is to leverage the power of filmmaking to effect positive change in the world. This realization ignited a new sense of purpose, propelling me towards a career where I can use my skills and creativity to make a meaningful impact through the medium of film.
Since 2016, when I established my own filmmaking company, I’ve been working as a general producer on various projects. So far, we have released 11 films that have been recognized both in Ukraine and abroad.
IDA: When did you first start working in the documentary field?
In 2014, the first documentary I worked on as an executive producer was released. It is Our Hope by Volodymyr Tykhyy. 2 years later, Mantas Kvedaravicius finished his documentary Mariupolis, in which I also worked as an executive producer. From that time on, I have produced three more documentary features: Mountains and Heaven in Between (2022), The Price of Conflict (2022), and King Lear: How We Looked for love during the War (2023).
IDA: Congratulations on being a 2022 International Documentary Awards nominee. Tell us about that film and the nomination.
I was the producer for the film The Price of Conflict, which was nominated for the ABC News VideoSource Award. The film was directed by Volodymyr Sydko. The Price of Conflict tells the story of one of the Ukrainian regions, Donbas, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014. Donbas is an important industrial and port region with large coal deposits. In this film, we tell the story of its occupation and the economic effects of the occupation.
IDA: Do you have any advice for young filmmakers and professionals in the field?
Never give up. Keep believing in yourself and your projects, and work with pleasure! When you love what you do and derive pleasure from it, money comes to you naturally
IDA: What are you working on right now?
Since 2022, I have been living in the USA, where I continue to work in the film industry and develop a new network of connections for future projects. Currently, I have six projects in international co-production, including three feature-length documentaries, Divia, Women from Ukraine, and Journey to the Ends of the Earth: Vernadsky Antarctic Station.