For the 2019 edition of ETC’s CUE conference, students and young lighting designers / programmers were able to apply for sponsorships to attend. This year, Anastasia Krikunova from Moscow, Russia was selected to attend the professional development conference held at ETC’s headquarters in Middleton.
ETC spoke with Anastasia about her background and her experience at the 2019 CUE conference.
How long have you been working with light?
I first started working with professional lighting at the State Academic Bolshoi Theater of Russia whilst studying in college at age 17. I have a degree in Lighting Engineering from the Theatre and Art College in Moscow and a Bachelor’s degree in Radio Engineering from St. Petersburg’s Institute of Cinema and Television.
Currently, I work at the Big Moscow Circus where I began as a lighting technician in 2009 but now work as deputy head of the creative and technical department. Our department looks after all the necessary areas required to create a show – lighting, sound, video design, and special effects.
Have you worked with lighting in other areas or venues apart from the circus?
I have experience in theatres (drama, opera, ballet, and musicals) and I have also worked with lighting at various city festivals, open air venues, and in clubs. In general where lighting is involved I am always ready to work. The circus works slightly differently with light – there is no “stage mirror” like in a theatre, and our artists work like light, at 360˚. Each circus genre has its own lighting features which must be taken into account when creating a show.
Have you worked on any interesting projects that were particularly memorable?
Each project at the Big Moscow Circus is unique in both direction and special technical solutions. The annual festival of the circus “IDOL” is especially well known on an international scale and welcomes artists from all over the world under the dome of the circus.
This year you participated in the CUE 2019 conference. Why did you decide to apply for the sponsorship to attend?
It was spontaneous! I saw the conference advertisement on the internet, clicked on the link, and was immediately interested in attending. It looked like a fantastic opportunity so I studied the website and found an application for sponsorship and thought, “Why not?” Three months later, I received a letter that said I was selected out of 100 people! I simply couldn’t refuse such a great offer.
Was this your first experience at an international conference?
Yes, this was my first experience attending an international conference. At home in Moscow, I try to attend as many exhibitions or training sessions related to lighting, but due to a busy schedule it’s not always possible.
What stood out to you the most?
As this was my first international conference and trip to America it will certainly be a trip to remember. What impressed me most was ETC’s head office in Middleton, Wisconsin where the lighting equipment factory is located. Each product specialist does a thorough job of assembling, adjusting, and painting equipment. I would describe the place as a modern art object because it combines both modern technologies with traditional and each employee expresses their own individuality, which is reflected in the design and atmosphere throughout the entire building.
Have you learned anything new about ETC and High End Systems products?
I try to keep updated with the news and latest products by both companies and the lighting industry as a whole but it was particularly interesting to see High End Systems’ TurboRay. It is a stylish retro spotlight that immediately grabs your attention.
In your opinion, will the acquired knowledge be useful to you in your future work?
Absolutely! As I work with High End Systems’ Hog family consoles, I will definitely use the skills I acquired at CUE 2019 in the future.
What advice would you give to people that are wondering whether or not to attend the CUE conference?
You should definitely go! The conference is an excellent opportunity to meet and chat with many specialists in our industry. They are all from different countries and bring interesting, fresh ideas. The speakers and instructors are friendly, very attentive, and always ready to answer questions. The organization of the entire event was particularly commendable – even in an emergency situation (a fire at the city power station cut all electricity in the city for a day), the ETC staff quickly found a solution to the problem!
Thanks to Anastasia for the interview! We look forward to seeing her at other events and welcoming new applicants to the next CUE conference.