Iris Svis: “Being a producer can be very rewarding”

Movies and TV are about telling someone’s story and I want to be able to tell as many as I can. Those stories are diverse, human and relate to each and everyone. TV has to reflect the world and that means that I need to wake up everyday fired up with a burning desire to […]

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Movies and TV are about telling someone’s story and I want to be able to tell as many as I can. Those stories are diverse, human and relate to each and everyone. TV has to reflect the world and that means that I need to wake up everyday fired up with a burning desire to tell the untold stories of the voices that have gone unheard for a long time.

As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Iris Svis, a Russian-born actress who found a new home in sunny Los Angeles. Her parents introduced her to the world of art through dance and music education. At the age of fourteen, Iris began a successful modeling career that took her around the world, and allowed her to witness the diversity and richness of many beautiful cultures. Through her travels, she fell in love with the art of storytelling. Listening closely to the unique and universal thread that many cultures share, she realized that developing her craft was essential in portraying different narratives from her own. Most recently, Iris worked on a Steven Soderbergh feature LAUNDROMAT starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas. This experience only served to quicken the fire in her heart for greatness. Iris also had a chance to collaborate with such talented people as Phedon Papamichael, an award-winning cinematographer, James Brolin and Frances Fisher on the film A BEAUTIFUL DAY. Having her hand in many facets of the industry, she naturally began producing. Her attention to detail and organizational skills have allowed her to produce a variety of short films and web series. She currently has a few features in development. Iris is constantly looking for opportunities to challenge herself personally and professionally, by collaborating and creating projects that she believes can make a difference in the world, where culture and film have been intimately intertwined.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Russia and remember how I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come to town. Those days when the snow covered the ground and the street lights made it look magical at night, I would look out of the window and see this beautiful and breathtaking view. It was the best time for a growing kid: a Christmas tree, presents and my entire family — mom, dad and brother Simone — unwrapping the presents. I would give anything to go back in time for just one of those evenings. When I was a kid every small insignificant thing was huge and magical.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

While I love acting, I don’t like the uncertainty in that field. Eventually, I’ve decided to change it. I started producing my own projects; at first small ones, like web series and short films. My recent short THE SHOWDOWN just won its 5th award. And now I am going to take on a bigger project, my first feature film with the working title TREES ARE SILENT. It explores the unique style of a horror genre. I guess I deviated from the question a bit, but to sum it up, I started shifting more into producing, because it gave me the opportunity to not only create jobs for myself, but for others as well.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I constantly think of how things in life happen for a reason. A few years ago I had lunch with a friend and she told me about her short film and how hard it is to make it with a small budget . And I remember saying that I could make it with no budget at all! Guess what, the joke’s on me. In a few days I’ve received a call and it was the same friend who said: “You are hired!” So, I had to figure out how to produce her film on zero budget. All I can say…it was not easy.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I vividly remember producing my very first web series. Literally my first producer experience ever. We had a pre production meeting and we covered all the responsibilities I had, and I got to it right away. I scouted locations, put cast and crew together, and took care of everything you’re supposed to do as a solo producer on a tight budget project. Did I mention I was supposed to be acting on the show as well? So, long story short, on the day of the shoot I showed up as a producer, but when it came to acting I never had a chance to look at my lines….Oh man, needless to say, it was a day of improv for me. I never admitted to my director, that I’ve learned my lines in between takes and during breaks. I saw the director trying to figure out where we were in the script, as I was all over the place. I came home that day and made a big note on my vision board: “I survived today and even had some fun!”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I would like to thank Michael P. Bolus for believing in me and helping me out with my latest project TREES ARE SILENT. The interesting story is that at first he was my teacher, now he is more of a mentor on this project and I am really appreciative of him going with me through this new journey of producing a feature film.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Being a producer can be very rewarding. Watching the projects come to life is just wonderful. It is also one of the positions where you can mostly learn by doing. Yes, you can read about how to be a producer and even sign up for some classes, but the most experience you get by actually being on set. Applying all of what you already have in your tool box to the situations at hand will help you to succeed.

What drives you to get up everyday and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?

Movies and TV are about telling someone’s story and I want to be able to tell as many as I can. Those stories are diverse, human and relate to each and everyone. TV has to reflect the world and that means that I need to wake up everyday fired up with a burning desire to tell the untold stories of the voices that have gone unheard for a long time.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I am very excited to embark on a new journey of producing the feature TREES ARE SILENT. Creating projects and bringing people together has been very rewarding in the past and even more now, as I am working with some of my colleagues — Daria Volynska, Rick Wallace, and Rudolf Ney — and making new connections as well. This project will require hard work and dedication but in the end it’s going to help everyone involved to move to the next level of their careers. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that counts and the connections and friendships you make along the way.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

We are living in a diverse world and it is imperative to represent that world in all its beauty. If we are telling peoples’ stories to the best of our abilities we have to represent all types of characters. Younger generations can learn of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion from watching TV and film only if it represent real people with real stories.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

I don’t have many at this time; trying to keep it very simple. I am a very physical person, so exercise keeps me going. When I don’t have time to go to the gym, I just blast music and dance for 15–20 minutes straight. It gives me energy and makes me happy.

Another thing that is an absolute must for me is spending time with my pets. I have four adorable kitties. It is my therapy, my meditation and relaxation. Lot’s of cuddles and love.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When it comes to producing; learn by doing. You should be able to adapt to any situation on set, because things can and will go wrong. It’s your reaction to them that makes or breaks the cohesiveness and success of the project.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would create a support system for single parents. I think being a parent is tough enough in itself, but being a single parent, I can only imagine! It would include free daycare for those who can’t afford it.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would have to go with Angelina Jolie. Not only is she a great artist, but also a kick ass woman who’s a great humanitarian and mother. I think I could learn a lot from her.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me on:

Fb: Iris Svis

Tw: @IrisSvis

IG: irissvis

YouTube: IRIS SVIS — Actress


This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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