» Paul Wolansky
Associate Professor

Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Paul Wolansky
Office Location:
DeMille Hall 150D
Phone:
(714) 744-7647
Email:
Education
Columbia University in the City of New York, Bachelor of Arts
Columbia University in the City of New York, Master of Fine Arts in Directing
Biography
Seeing Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai marked a turning point in Paul Wolansky's life.  He was fascinated by an experience he found "as vivid as my dreams," captivated by the power of film to express universal truths.

The son of Ukrainian immigrants, Wolansky's family spoke Ukrainian at home and lived on the grounds of a mental hospital, where his father was the administrator.

Separated from the life his American friends lived, Wolansky became an observer.

He studied directing and screenwriting at Columbia University under Milos Forman and Frank Daniel, who later offered him a job teaching at USC.  It was as a teacher that Wolansky found a career he loved.

"In the business, another thousand people are trying to come up with the latest cool idea, but in film school you have the chance to convey your deep emotional beliefs about life."

"I push my students to dig deep," he says, "to really put out their vision of the truth."  If they do it well, Wolansky maintains, they too will see people be moved by what they have to say, just as he was first moved by Kurosawa, in a way that changed his life.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications
THE GUIDE (POVODYR) (2014) --124:00 CO-WRITER (credited as Paul Volyanskiy) of this harrowing coming-of-age story about an American boy lost in 1930s Soviet Ukraine. After his father is murdered, the boy becomes seeing-eye guide to a traditional Ukrainian blind minstrel, witnesses Stalin’s Terror-Famine of 1932-1933 in which 10 million Ukrainian farmers were intentionally starved to death, and attempts to save the minstrel from Stalin’s massacre of all 300 of Ukraine’s wandering minstrels in 1933. Directed by Oles Sanin. Production Co: Pronto Film. THE GUIDE screened at the Odessa International Film Festival in Ukraine in July 2014, won two awards and received a six-minute standing ovation at its premiere. THE GUIDE is scheduled to be released in 50 theatres in Ukraine on November 14, 2014. Trailer may be viewed on YouTube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAXw24lf-K4. Hollywood Reporter article about THE GUIDE premiering at the Odessa International Film Festival can be read at this link: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/guide-povodyr-odessa-review-724141
SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON II (2013) HIGH-DEF--115:00—COLOR CO-WRITER of all Ukrainian dialogue of this sequel to the acclaimed 2008 documentary SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON. Director: John Dunham. Producer: Gwendolen Twist. Production Co: Marathon Movie, Inc. Theatrical Release: June 12, 2013, in over 600 theaters nationwide (one night only.) Trailer may be viewed at: www.mararthonmovie.com
POVODYR (THE GUIDE) (2013) --120:00 CO-WRITER (with Ukrainian director Oles Sanin (Mamay (2003)) of this harrowing coming-of-age story about an American boy lost in 1932 Soviet Ukraine. After his father is murdered, the boy becomes seeing-eye guide to a traditional Ukrainian blind minstrel, witnesses Stalin’s Terror-Famine of 1932-1933 in which 10 million Ukrainian farmers were intentionally starved to death, and attempts to save the minstrel from Stalin’s massacre of all 300 of Ukraine’s wandering minstrels in 1933. Principal photography completed January 2014. Production Co: Zakryta Zona (Forbidden Zone) productions. Trailer may be viewed on YouTube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAXw24lf-K4
"Double Blast", an action-comedy for which I co-wrote the story, was released internationally on DVD in Australia and Germany.
"Deadly Obsession", a suspense-thriller which I co-wrote and co-edited, was released internationally on DVD in Argentina, Australia and Germany.