Sherwin Akbarzadeh has been practicing as a cinematographer and director since 2008, having worked on music videos, short and feature narrative films, documentaries and commercials.

He also writes and directs his own films, and his work has screened at a number of Australian and international film festivals. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Cinematography from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Sherwin was presented with the opportunity to undertake an art residency at the National Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA) in St. Petersburg. The residency meant immersing himself in a new cultural milieu and dedicating time to creating a site-specific work, as well as providing Sherwin with opportunities to collaborate with other artists-in-residence as well as the wider community of St. Petersburg.

A Cultural Trust grant also enabled Sherwin to attend the the Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, as well as the Cameraimage Festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland, the world's leading film festival dedicated to the art of cinematography.

The art residency allowed Sherwin to immerse himself in his craft and to create a short film that told a story specific to the Russian setting. The experience of directing a film overseas was highly valuable, albeit challenging, and benefited Sherwin by testing his strength as an artist and as a leader.

“The film that I was able to make in St Petersburg exceeded my expectations. Though I am still in the process of editing, the fact that I was able to assemble a cast and crew in a foreign country and shoot the film within three weeks is an achievement that I am proud of.”

Attending the Cameraimage festival in Poland was also important for Sherwin’s professional development. Apart from the educational value of attending seminars and workshops held by some of the world's leading cinematographers, the festival was also a chance to network with other filmmakers, and Sherwin made some valuable connections.

Since returning to Australia, Sherwin has continued to work as a cinematographer on commercials, films and music videos, and has completed editing the short he filmed in Russia, titled Camboy.