Ivan has been in the business for 12 years. His father is Vietnamese and his mother is Ukrainian. He finished a 4-year acting program at University of Theater, Film and Television in Kiev, Ukraine in 2007 – the country’s premier theater school. Additionally, right after graduation, he studied on-camera acting techniques from coaches in London and LA. While still in his final year, acclaimed Russian stage director Roman Viktyuk from Moscow cast him as Judge in his interpretation of “Salome” as well as Bernardo in “Venetian woman.” Viktyuk says about Ivan, “Truly talented guy, very rare acting mechanism.” While in Moscow, Ivan started acting in short films as well as playing small roles in feature films and on TV. He went on to star in a short called “Guest” which premiered at All-Russian Short Film Festival ARTKino 2008. He also played the male lead in “The Light of Knowledge,” a dystopian fantasy which premiered at Avantgarde Festival Schiphorst 2008 in Germany. In the indie drama “Open Air” he played unsuccessful singer Seva alongside known Russian actress and filmmaker Valeriya Gay Germanika.
Yet, more and more often Ivan felt that the Russian-speaking world was not his destiny – he had to work internationally. At this time he wrote a webseries entitled “Overturn.” An English-language psychological fantasy. Ivan directed the series and played the lead role of the young American Christopher. Upon its release in 2011, reviewer Jessa Phillips of goodtobeageek.com wrote, “…a fantastic job of creating an intriguing series that draws the audience in..,” and Examiner’s Terra King stated “…jam packed with exquisite style… Overturn looks expensive.” American actor Eric Gilliatt, who played one of the roles, says about Ivan, “Very creative and detail oriented. He has absolute native level in both English and Russian languages.” Czech actor Jan Budar comments, “I’ve only met two linguistic geniuses. One of them is Christoph Waltz, the other one is Ivan.”
Following the success of the web series, the project grew into a feature entitled “Overturn: Awakening of the Warrior.” The film got enriched with action sequences, so Ivan underwent three months of exhausting fighting rehearsals. This is where his lifelong martial arts practice paid off. The film came out in 2013 and got promoted by the American creative platform “Bundles,” which at the time was also promoting Madonna’s documentary “secretprojectrevolution” as well as music projects by Moby and Public Enemy. Film reviewer Kirk Fernwood on Ivan’s performance, “He just has that innate ability to provide a lead character whose real enough to believe the unsettling, then understood, adventure he is on.”
Along the way Ivan has realized that no standardized acting method can ever work for him. His method is unique to him and comes from his instincts, subconsciousness and never-ending self-discovery. Despite his leading man’s looks, Ivan has proven to be a versatile actor. Initially hired to do a voice over for an American character in a high-profile Russian WWII TV mini-series called “The Bomb,” he ended up voicing half of the English-speaking characters, astonishing the crew with his vocal diversity. He left the sound editor struck dumb when he voiced two characters speaking to each other and sounded like two different people. Ironically, the scene depicted an Academy Awards ceremony.
More recently, Ivan has participated in European projects. He played American lawyer Jamison in a ZDF/ARTE picture “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes” which has recently received Special Commendation Award at PRIX EUROPA 2016 as well as the lead role of Tai Chi Master in the German short “Touching Quietude.” On stage he played the lead role of Diego in a 2015 English-language production of “State of Siege” by Camus. Ivan speaks English, German, French, Russian and Ukrainian.