The Belarus-born director Darya Zhuk started her career at HBO as a business analyst before obtaining her MFA with honors from Columbia University with a specialty in directing. Her debut feature film, "Crystal Swan," was Belarus' first entry into the Academy Award's Best Foreign Language category in 22 years.
"Crystal Swan" opened the prestigious Karlovy Vary "East of the West" competition and won many prizes, such as the Grand Prix at the Odessa Film Festival, the Grand Prix at the Tbilisi International Film Festival, and the Youth Jury Award at the Cork Film Festival, among others, before premiering in North America at Slamdance FF in 2019.
Short films Darya wrote and directed have been selected for SXSW, Tarkovsky, Atlanta, Palm Springs, Oaxaca, and Santa Fe independent film festivals, to name just a few. She received the Nick Louvel Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and the Best Female Writer-Director Award from New York Women in Film and Television in 2015.