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Oksana Chefranova

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Associate Research Scholar

Oksana Chefranova is an Associate Research Scholar in Film and Media Studies. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Her dissertation on Evgenii Bauer, one of the most imaginative, prolific, and aesthetically-innovative director of early cinema, was awarded the Jay Leyda Prize for excellence and originality of research. Before joining the Yale faculty, she taught classes at NYU on American avant-garde film, Surrealism, international silent cinema, and academic research & writing. At Yale, she teaches a core curriculum seminar Close Analysis of Film among other courses.

Currently, Oksana is working on her first book, From Garden to Kino: Evgenii Bauer and the Expanded Environment of Early Cinema. Offering a promenade through gardens, artificial ruins, fairgrounds, exhibition pavilions, theater stages, and film settings, the book examines a rich history of built environments in Late Imperial Russia through the prism of artistic output of Evgenii Bauer, whose movement across different media reveals a vital context surrounding the arrival of cinema. Grounded in rigorous archival research, the book redraws the map of early cinema as it analyzes the practices of designing milieu and image-making between 1878 and 1917, while arguing that the built environment traverses boundaries between the world of nature and culture, encapsulates philosophical and narrative systems, and serves as an epistemic tool for understanding paradoxes of modernity at the crisscross of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The research for this project was supported by the Andrew Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) of Social Science Research Council, the Torch Fellowship (NYU), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship (announcement).

Recently, Oksana contributed a chapter “On Genealogy of Translucent Screen and Rehabilitation of the Ephemeral” to the volume Apparitions: The (Im)materiality of Modern Surface (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and a chapter “Breathing Faces, Twinkling Eyes: On Cinematic Visage in Russian Films of the 1910s” to Corporeality and Early Cinema: Viscera, Skin, and Physical Form (Indiana University Press, 2018). Her other projects and research interests focus on history and theory of camera movement, experimental film and art practice, landscape across media, cinema & contemporary visual arts, and new approaches to film style and aesthetics. Oksana is a guest editor for special issue of peer-reviewed journal Apparatus: Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, “The Haunted Medium: Moving Image in the Russian Empire,” Spring 2022 (coedits with Rachel Morley and Natascha Drubek).

Complementing her academic work, Oksana has also been a curator in theater and multimedia in the  Museum of Malyi Theater (Moscow, Russia) and a film curator in Moscow, New York, and Yale University. Embracing in her curatorial work both historical figures and recent tendencies, she looks at the present state of cinema as expanded and reshaped by diverse forms and contexts of new media environment and, through this expansion, addresses the dynamism and complexity of contemporary cinema. One of her continuous scholarly and curatorial interests is international women filmmakers, specifically the global explosion of films by female directors over the past decade.

Research Interests

Silent cinema & visual culture circa 1900; built environments and atmosphere; history and theory of camera movement; media archaeology; experimental film; cinema in the gallery; new media art; contemporary world cinema.

Education History

Ph.D., Cinema Studies, New York University,  Awarded Distinction 

M.A., Cinema Studies, New York University

B.A. and M.A., History of Art, Moscow State University

Film and Media Studies