‘A fantastic editor with flare and integrity, whose dedication to finding solutions is exemplary’

  • Assistant editor
  • Documentary editor/director

Ira Putilova was accepted to the London Film School in 2016 – but the journey there was anything but simple.

The non-binary Russian refugee had been part of several art-activist groups in their native country, directing films that condemned state crimes, police brutality and violence against queer people. Forced to flee persecution by the authorities, they claimed political asylum in the UK in 2013, and would later supplement their film school placement with a food-delivery job.

Putilova’s early work in the UK centred on the transgender and non-binary squatting community in London, highlighting life on the margins of both society and gender.

This drew the attention of the Grierson Trust, which selected Putilova for the Grierson/Netflix DocLab in Focus: Editing scheme, leading to assistant editor roles on high-profile productions including Channel 4 blue-light series Emergency, BBC/Netflix feature doc co-pro The Anthrax Attacks and Sky/HBO Bafta winner Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes.

The latter’s editor, Rupert Houseman, describes Putilova as “a fantastic editor with flare and integrity, whose dedication to finding solutions is exemplary”.

Putilova is assistant editor on an Insight Films documentary for a major streamer and is also developing a short doc, Bender Defenders, about a queer Muay Thai club in East London, which is shortlisted for the 2023 Iris Prize Fund.

They are also directing and editing their debut feature doc, following an 18-year-old from St Petersburg who was forced to leave Russia with her parents due to their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.