Ilya Khrzhanovskiy was born in Moscow in 1975. He studied at the Bonn Academy of Fine Art and graduated from the Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in 1998.
In 2005, his debut feature film "4" earned him multiple awards including a Golden Cactus and Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. It was screened in more than 50 international film festivals and distributed in the UK, Italy, Netherlands, USA, Scandinavia and South Asia.
DAU is Khrzhanovskiy’s second production and has been in the making since 2006. It is a multidisciplinary project at the intersection of cinema, art, and anthropology. In the process of filming, over 700 hours of material were captured.
Selected material from the project including sound and art installations and narrative works in chapters premiered in Paris in early 2019, with the support of the City Hall of Paris. The immersion into the world of DAU took place in two Parisian theatres, Théâtre du Châtelet and Théâtre de la Ville. Moreover, the atmosphere of the DAU Institute was recreated at the Pompidou Centre with an installation featuring various characters from the project, who lived within the artwork, 24 hours a day.
Ilya Khrzhanovskiy’s is a member of both the European Film Academy and the Guild of Film Directors of Russia.
Jekaterina Oertel was born in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) in 1966, before moving to the GDR in 1970. In 1987 she graduated from the Moscow Film and Theatre School. The same year, Oertel began her career as a make-up artist, working as an assistant at the Defa-Studio in the GDR.
From 1990, Oertel headed up Make-up and Hair departments on more than 50 national and international film and television productions. She has worked with directors such as Tom Tykwer, Bille August, Matthias Glasner, and Roland Emmerich. In 2013, she received an Emmy nomination for her work on the TV series The Borgias.
Jekaterina Oertel has been working on DAU since 2008. During filming, she was the Head of Make-up and Hair Design, pivoting to an editing and co-direction role during the post-production. She has co-directed 7 films and 2 series from the DAU universe.
Since 2015, Oertel has led the development and artistic direction at the DAU SFX workshop, creating life-size silicone figures of all the DAU participants.
Ilya Permyakov is a Russian director of audio-visual arts. He began his career as a scholar of Philosophy, completing his PhD on philosophy of Martin Heidegger and poetry of Paul Celan and Ossip Mandelstam in 2003.
In 2008 Permyakov won the Grand Prix of the IX Media Forum at the 30th Moscow International Film Festival, for his video art piece Gazing. His works have been exhibited in museums and art galleries, including MMOMA (Moscow) and Tate Modern (London). Between 2008-2012 Permyakov co-wrote and edited Nazidanie (directed by Boris Yukhananov); the film premiered at Locarno Film Festival (2017).
Ilya Permyakov joined DAU in 2012, becoming a co-director, co-writer and editor. He also took a role of the Head of DAU Academic Research and Creative Director of DAU Symposia leading a number of academic conferences. Subjects have included Protagonists of Political Mythology: How Do Individuals and Collectives Become History? and Encounters with the Extreme: Faith, Violence and the Search for Liberation and have taken place at the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Cambridge University, Oxford University, the Royal Society, and London School of Economics in the UK, and the Théâtre du Châtelet and Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, France.
Ilya Permyakov is now co-writing, together with a historian Alexander Etkind, a book under the provisional title Pharaohs of Modernity: An Intellectual History of Crypto-Communes. The first interpretative academic study of DAU, this book depicts the DAU project as an experiment which summarised the crucial scientific-political experiences of the past and warned about the imminent dangers of the future.