Hi, I'm Dmitry Chaplin, and I'm excited to share with you my passion project, "Starburst."

As an Emmy Nominated choreographer known for my work on "So You Think You Can Dance" and as a former star professional on "Dancing With The Stars", I am thrilled to embark on this filmmaking journey with "Starburst." Dance has always held a special place in my heart, and I grew up inspired by iconic dance movies like "Dirty Dancing," "Grease," "Strictly Ballroom," and "Saturday Night Fever." Now, as a filmmaker, I aim to resurrect the art of dance in cinematography and bring forth a substantial dance film that resonates with audiences.

"Starburst" holds significant importance in today's world. In our fast-paced and materialistic society, it is crucial to remember the true essence of life and the value of nurturing relationships, appreciating genuine beauty, and acknowledging the worth of each individual. The film encapsulates the drama, romance, inspiration, and life-changing triumphs that exist within the dance world, a world that I intimately understand as a professional dancer and choreographer.

One of the key reasons why "Starburst" holds relevance today is its focus on raising awareness and question prevalent misconceptions surrounding disabilities, with a particular focus on blindness. Through my interactions with people from the blind community and my deep appreciation for their strength and resilience, I realized that they often face inaccurate portrayals in society. Common stereotypes perpetuate misunderstandings and discrimination. By shining a spotlight on this subject and showcasing the diverse experiences and abilities of blind individuals, we aim to break free from these limitations and contribute to a more inclusive and understanding world of cinematography.

"Starburst" also tackles other significant themes, such as breaking the stereotype of immigrants, shedding light on the negative effects of celebrity culture, exploring the concept of breaking free from control, and addressing the topic of self-sabotage. Through our narrative, we hope to challenge preconceived notions, provoke introspection, and encourage audiences to question societal norms and expectations.

In today's modern world of filmmaking, it is our responsibility to give these important topics our full attention and commitment. By doing so, we can break free from common stereotypes, promote diversity and inclusivity, and foster a more compassionate and accepting society. "Starburst" aims to be a catalyst for change, not only in the realm of dance but also in our perceptions and understanding of the world around us. Together, let us embark on this transformative journey and create a cinematic experience that resonates deeply with viewers, inspiring them to embrace authenticity, celebrate differences, and cherish the true beauty that lies within us all.

In the intense world of competitive ballroom dancing, Alex, a talented Ukrainian immigrant with a hidden injury, forms an unexpected connection with Rachel, a blind girl. As they navigate their personal struggles and confront the corrupting influences of fame and materialism, they discover the transformative power of love and authentic human connection, ultimately creating a mesmerizing dance performance that defies expectations and touches the hearts of all who witness it.

"STARBURST" is a 15 minute Romantic Drama and is intended for all audiences.


Exploring the contrast between societal standards of beauty and the inherent qualities of human beings, emphasizing the significance of inner beauty.

Examining the allure of fame, status, and material wealth, juxtaposed with the importance of self-love and cultivating meaningful relationships.

Empowering individuals to break free from the suffocating grip of external control and find their authentic selves.

Highlighting the universal blindness we all possess, urging us to look deeper and perceive the world with greater empathy and understanding.

Addressing the internal barriers that hinder personal growth and achievement, emphasizing the journey of overcoming self-sabotage to reach one's full potential.
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
In the heartfelt film "Starburst," the story follows Alex, a skilled ballroom dancer from Ukraine, as he hides a past injury from his partner Vivian during the "Rising Star" dance competition. Tensions rise as they reach the final round, leading to Vivian's growing frustration over a minor mishap.

The narrative unfolds through a series of flashbacks, revealing Alex's initial meeting with Vivian and her charismatic father, Narek. Alex's encounter with Rachel, a spirited blind classmate, who plays a pivotal role in helping him confront repressed emotions.

As the plot evolves, Alex and Vivian's relationship deteriorates to a heated dressing room argument. Seeking solace, Alex turns to Rachel, leading her to the dance floor for a captivating performance. However, their triumph sours as Alex is disqualified for rule violations.

Unfazed, Alex and Rachel leave the stage amid thunderous applause. A tender balcony moment seals their first kiss, representing hope and connection.


Alex (16), is a phenomenal young ballroom dancer from Ukraine, who carries a secret shame from his past. After a devastating explosion in Ukraine, his mother made the difficult decision to bring him to the United States for a chance at a safer life. The explosion left him with a traumatic leg injury, but thanks to the skilled doctors, his leg was saved, allowing him to continue pursuing his passion for dance. However, the scars from his past have left him emotionally numb, making it challenging for him to express his true feelings.

When he partners with Vivian, he gets swept up in the world of stardom and materialistic values, that begins to shape his identity. However, the cost of compromising his authenticity weighs heavily on him.

Alex's life takes a profound turn when he encounters Rachel, a blind ESL tutor. Through their unexpected connection, Rachel becomes a catalyst for Alex's emotional awakening. As he spends time with Rachel, learning to communicate and connect with her on a deeper level, Alex begins to rediscover his ability to feel and express his emotions. Rachel's unique perspective and unwavering spirit inspire Alex to break free from the emotional shackles of his past and embrace the true meaning of success.

The film explores themes of identity, resilience, and the pursuit of genuine fulfillment in a world that often prioritizes surface-level achievements.

Rachel (17) is a resilient young woman who has faced significant challenges in her life. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at a young age, she gradually lost her vision due to the condition. Despite the obstacles she has faced, Rachel embodies a rebellious and independent spirit that refuses to be defined by her disability.

Rachel possesses a strong, outspoken nature that contrasts with her visual impairment. Her trust issues have made it difficult for her to let others get close to her, but underneath the tough exterior lies a deep well of empathy and compassion. Recognizing Alex's emotional struggles, Rachel forms a unique bond with him, making a pact to exchange dance moves for words that convey the emotions evoked by the movements. This exchange becomes a gateway for them to understand and connect with one another on a profound level.

Through her friendship with Alex, Rachel embarks on a transformative journey of self-discovery and healing. As she encourages Alex to embrace his emotions, she also learns to trust and open up about her own past. Rachel harbors deep resentment towards her father, who abandoned her and her mother in their time of need. Financial difficulties, coupled with the progression of her condition, left her feeling like a burden. At her lowest point, she attempted suicide, but the presence of her mother at her bedside became a beacon of hope.

Vivian (15) has grown accustomed to being the center of attention in her family, particularly from her father, Narek. As the only daughter, she has become accustomed to receiving special treatment and expects the world to revolve around her. However, beneath her self-centered exterior, Vivian possesses a complex and ironic personality that adds depth to her character.

Vivian is unapologetically self-centered, willing to manipulate and deceive others to fulfill her desires. Her likable qualities emerge through her ironic nature, which occasionally surprises those around her. Representing the influence of media and societal pressures on today's youth, Vivian embodies materialistic values and believes that success and winning will bring her happiness. Unconsciously, she becomes a reflection of the impressionable nature of the younger generation, easily swayed by billboards, magazine commercials, and social media influences.

Vivian's relationship with her father, Narek, plays a crucial role in shaping her character. Although she craves his approval and validation, Narek unwittingly exerts control and manipulation over her, placing immense pressure on her to succeed. This dynamic adds complexity to Vivian's actions, as she oscillates between seeking her father's approval and rebelling against his influence.

When Vivian is paired with Alex as her dance partner, her excitement arises from the notion of being associated with a skilled dancer. However, as they progress to the final round of the competition, the mounting pressure from her father and her own insecurities lead Vivian to engage in self-sabotaging behavior. Tantrums and unrealistic expectations of perfection strain her relationship with Alex, causing the situation to spiral out of control.

Narek (50s) is a charismatic and successful businessman who thrives on being the center of attention. With an outgoing personality, he possesses a natural talent for motivation and persuasion. Narek's desire to be in the spotlight and take credit for his actions is a defining aspect of his character. He revels in the limelight and seeks to be recognized for his achievements and associations.

Narek's love for the spotlight leads him to take advantage of situations and present himself as the driving force behind the success of those around him. When Vivian is partnered with Alex, Narek seizes the opportunity to showcase his association with a talented dancer. He doesn't hesitate to claim credit for Alex's well-being, even if it isn't entirely accurate. Narek's aspirations revolve around being seen as a savior figure, particularly in relation to his support of a refugee boy from Ukraine and his efforts to empower talent to achieve greatness. However, he remains unaware of the unintentional burden his larger-than-life personality places on his daughter, Vivian.

Narek's overpowering presence and desire to be seen alongside champions and successful individuals creates an immense pressure on Vivian to meet his standards. She feels compelled to live up to his expectations and constantly seeks his approval. However, Narek's unawareness of the weight he places on Vivian's shoulders adds a layer of complexity to their relationship.

Katherine (50s) is a devoted and fiercely protective single mother to Rachel. She carries the weight of responsibility on her shoulders, being the sole caretaker for her blind daughter with Retinitis Pigmentosa. After her husband left them, Katherine was struggling financially and had to work two jobs to pay for her daughter's medical treatment, eventually leading to the loss of their family home. Despite these challenges, Katherine's unwavering love and support for Rachel knows no bounds.

However, as Rachel grows older and begins to assert her independence, Katherine finds it difficult to let go. She struggles to accept the fact that her daughter is coming of age and yearns to protect her from the world. Katherine's overprotectiveness stems from a place of deep love and fear of the unknown. She's torn between being a caring mother and allowing Rachel the space to explore her own path.

Irina (35) is an elegant and nurturing Ukrainian ballroom teacher and dancer. She owned a beloved ballroom dance studio in Ukraine, where she not only taught the art of dance but instilled in her students valuable life values and a deep appreciation for music and movement. The studio was a place of inspiration and creativity for her son, Alex, who developed his passion for dance under Irina's guidance.

However, their lives were forever changed when the war erupted and the studio was tragically destroyed. In a selfless act of love and protection, Irina made the difficult decision to send Alex to seek refuge in the United States. It was there that he received the necessary medical care to save his leg from a severe injury, allowing him to pursue his dreams of a dance career.

While Alex continued his journey in the United States, Irina remained in Ukraine, faced with the challenges and hardships of living in a war-torn country. Although physically separated from her son, her spirit and guidance continue to shape Alex's journey as a dancer and as a person.
The film is set in the present day, and takes place at a stunning ballroom competition, where the passion and skill of the dancers take center stage. Through a series of expertly crafted flashbacks, the tone of the film evolves, transporting viewers through a range of emotions.

It navigates from the dark and heartbreaking moments of Alex's past in Ukraine, evoking a sense of raw vulnerability, to the heartwarming and dreamy tone of his high school days, filled with hope and youthful exuberance. The dance studio scenes pulsate with passion and energy, capturing the transformative power of movement and self-expression. Additionally, the film explores the artificial world of stardom and fame through visually striking sequences in a photoshoot studio, where dazzling lights and staged perfection reflect the allure and superficiality of that realm.

These contrasting tones and settings serve to enhance the storytelling, immersing the audience in a rich tapestry of emotions, from heartache to inspiration, as the characters navigate their personal journeys within the competitive and dazzling world of ballroom dance.

Photo by Jacob
Photo by Kolya
Photo by Oliver
Photo by Leo
Photo by Paul
Photo by Lea
Photo by Fabrice
Photo by Alex
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Kolya
Photo by Oliver
Photo by Leo
Photo by Paul
Photo by Lea
Photo by Fabrice
Photo by Alex
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Kolya
Photo by Oliver
Photo by Leo
Photo by Paul
Photo by Lea
Photo by Fabrice
Photo by Alex
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Kolya
Photo by Oliver
Photo by Leo
Photo by Paul
Photo by Lea
Photo by Fabrice
Photo by Alex
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Kolya
Photo by Oliver
Photo by Leo
Photo by Paul
Photo by Lea
Photo by Fabrice
Photo by Alex
Photo by Alex
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Fabrice
Photo by Oliver
Photo by Leo
Photo by Lea
Photo by Paul
Photo by Kolya
STARBURST is fiscally sponsored by Creative Visions, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports creative activists, those that use the arts and media to ignite social change.

By contributing to our fundraising campaign, you can help us bring this compelling short film to life and make a positive impact on the blind and visually impaired community. A percentage of the funds raised will be donated to the "IN-SIGHT OUTREACH" Foundation. To learn more about their mission, please visit: https://in-sightoutreach.org

*Donations to STARBURST are eligible for tax deductions within the allowable limits.

Our ideal goal is to raise $50,000 for the Production of the Film. Below is how the funding is going to be distributed.
  • 20%
  • 41%
  • 17%
  • 15%
  • 7%

    Dmitry is one of the most distinguished Ballroom Dancers and Choreographers in The United States and around the World. A Star Professional on “Dancing With The Stars,” an EMMY Nominated Choreographer for his work on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and is one of America’s favorite dancers.

    Dmitry has worked with legendary musical artists such as Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Gypsy Kings, Taylor Swift, Enrique Iglesias, Carlos Santana, BeeGees, One Republic, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, and many others.

    Dmitry is presently enrolled in the UCLA's Directing Program and he's focusing on completing his thesis film, "STARBURST." Once finished, Dmitry has set his sights on submitting the project to leading film festivals worldwide.


    An award-winning writer, director and producer, Brown has worked on over one hundred projects in film and television, including The X-Files, Quantum Leap, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek Voyager, Enterprise, and Disney’s movie Camp Rock.

    He received the “Edgar Award” from the Mystery Writers of America for “Best TV Drama” and the “Genesis Award” for “Best Drama for Animal Rights.” He also received nominations for Three EMMY awards and Three GOLDEN GLOBE awards.

    A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Brown earned a master’s degree in English Literature from Oxford University.

    Since attending U.C. Berkeley and graduating Magna Cum Laude from UCLA Film School, Jeffrey C. Sherman has written the features "The Soldier" and "Up the Creek." He wrote the features "Vine Street" and "Revenge of the Nerds III" for Interscope, "Summer Job" for Universal, "Teen Tour" for Paramount, "Respectable" for Norman Lear and Disney, "Rest Stop" for Hollywood Pictures, "The Late Robert Hampton" for Fildebroc (Paris), "Hot Deliveries" for ABC Motion Pictures, "Film School" for Rastar and many others.

    In television, Jeff created, produced and wrote one of the first Disney Channel series, "The Enchanted Musical Playhouse" which featured songs by his father and uncle, the Sherman Brothers. Jeff has produced and written several network television series including ABC/Touchstone's "Boy Meets World" and "You Wish," UPN/Jim Henson's "Family Rules" and Buena Vista Partners' "Stick With Me, Kid." Jeff's television pilots include "Turner & Hooch," "The Secret Life of Girls," "Post Game," "Virtual Dad," "Family Tree," "Hillers" and the independently produced comedy "Katie Sullivan" starring Larisa Oleynik, Will Friedle, Alex Desert and Orson Bean.

    Jeff wrote the longform "The Spike Girls" for the Disney Channel and his ABC Family film trilogy "Au Pair," "Au Pair II" and "Au Pair III" are among the highest rated programs to ever air on the network.

    With his cousin, Jeff directed and produced the 2009 Walt Disney Pictures feature documentary, "the boys: the sherman brothers' story."

    In 2011, Jeff produced with John Landis Traveling Light Partners' original hour comedy special "Wendy Liebman: Taller on TV" which was licensed by Showtime and distributed worldwide by Image/RSL Entertainment.

    Jeff has composed songs and music for television and film projects including "Boy Meets World," "The Enchanted Musical Playhouse" and the 2019 family feature film "3 Bears Christmas." Most recently he has collaborated on the script and song scores for two animated feature musicals, "Dogs of New York" (with Chely Wright and Kristin Chenoweth) and "Three Dog Knights" (with his sons Alex and Ryan Sherman).

    In March 2021, Jeff released an album of original musical compositions entitled "Begin Again" and is finalizing his follow-up collection, "Afterglow."

    Jeff is completing the book and song score for an original stage musical as well as a collection of autobiographical short stories.


    Jon Philion, an acclaimed filmmaker, approaches filmmaking with a holistic blend of artistic vision and technical expertise. As an artist with an eye and heart for storytelling, Jon aspires to visually capture the essence of narratives. His journey includes serving on the camera teams of renowned cinematographers such as Janusz Kaminski, Allen Daviau, and Seamus McGarvey, providing a unique vantage point to refine his own distinctive repertoire of lighting and working styles.

    In the ever-evolving landscape of film technology, Jon acknowledges the allure of new tools promising greatness. However, he firmly believes that true artistic expression lies in the hands of the creators, not the tools. Recognizing a growing impersonality in filmmaking, Jon sees an opportunity to counterbalance it by forging a personal connection with the audience.

    In addition to his rich experiences, Jon Philion's accolades include winning a Cinematography Award at a New Orleans Film Festival in 2017. Furthermore, he earned a nomination for the Jury Award at a Queens World Film Festival, marking significant milestones in his career.

    Dedicated to serving visionary directors, Jon's passion lies in faithfully realizing their unique visions. He aims to create works that not only inform and inspire but also deeply resonate with audiences. For Jon Philion, this personal connection is not just a goal; it's the essence of where his heart resides, marking the true beginning of his artistic endeavors.

    Gustav A. Lindquist is a passionate and skilled storyteller with a keen eye for cinematic artistry. As a versatile Editor and Assistant Editor, Gustav's talent shines through his work in the film and animation industry.

    With a solid background in film and economics from The College of William and Mary, Gustav's journey in the world of storytelling began. His creativity and attention to detail landed him notable positions in various prestigious studios and production houses.

    At Amazon, Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Netflix Animation, and BaseFX, Gustav honed his craft as an Assistant Editor, contributing to the success of major projects such as "Dead Boy Detectives," "Secret Headquarters," and "The SeaBeast."

    As an Editor at Volition Media Partners, Gustav demonstrated his storytelling prowess with the feature film "An Enemy Within," where his talent shone under the direction of John Kennedy.

    Jayde Siwy is a creative professional with a decade of entertainment experience including Executive Producing, script development, writing, on-set creative producing, and line producing, distribution and marketing. She has a dual Bachelor of Arts in Film & Media Studies and Political Science from University of California, Berkeley.

    Jayde has developed, produced and/or sold over thirty films for international sale and acquisition by US networks. She Executive Produced her last ten films for the largest TV film production company in North America. She is also script development consultant and has worked on over 60 projects in various formats and genres ranging from murder mysteries, drama, thriller, romcom, action, and many more. She has comprehensive development experience from sourcing writers from managers/agents, developing projects from loglines into screenplays to addressing both studio and production notes. She has significant post-production experience with extensive editing for the producer’s cut, working with composers, coordinating and final approval of color grading, VFX and sound mix.

    Jayde’s strength as a producer is a passion for the creative process and balancing logistics. She understands her financial and fiduciary responsibility to the investors. Her ability to work with high level talent, executives and crew allow for a positive and efficient workflow.

    Emmy-nominated composer Jared Michael Fry recently composed the music for Director David Ayer's global phenomenon, "The Beekeeper", starring Jason Statham. His diverse credits include blockbusters like "The Flash" and "Red Notice", action thrillers like "Thirteen Lives" and "The Invisible Man", the horror sequel "It Chapter 2" and many more.

    Following his Emmy-nominated work at Hans Zimmer's Bleeding Fingers, Jared has collaborated with renowned composers like Benjamin Wallfisch, Steve Jablonsky, Joseph Trapanese and electronic artist Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun.


    Ethan Beigel was born on 15 December 1977. He is a producer and cinematographer, known for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), The Black Dahlia (2006) and Liberal Arts (2012).

    Jaimee is a California native from Santa Monica where she spent her youth playing a variety of team sports. She began her journey in movement training by attending Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where she studied classical modern dance, ballet, jazz and improvisational techniques. She pursued higher education in dance performance, completing her Bachelors in Fine Arts degree at California State University, Long Beach.

    After being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she pivoted her focus from dance performance to kinesiology and functional movement training. She earned certifications in Pilates and personal training. She spent three years as a personal and group fitness instructor with adult clients, then switched her focus to youth, teaching creative movement to children ages two to ten. With a passion to deepen her knowledge of supporting young children through movement, she expanded her education, earning an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. This advanced her ability to work with preschool children and she moved her passion for movement education into the classroom.

    While developing her skills and tools as a classroom teacher, she recognized there was a demand for movement-based education. Jaimee is particularly passionate about empowering the visually impaired and blind community through her work. She founded her non-profit organization, In-Sight Outreach, to address the dire need for movement literacy resources in young children experiencing a visual impairment or blindness. Understanding the mental and physical challenges of what it means to be visually impaired has allowed Jaimee to bring understanding and encouragement to others to continue their journeys alongside her own.


    Jeff Thacker, one of British Television’s foremost Entertainment Producers and former Head of Music Programming on ITV, has recently joined the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance Board of Councilors. Thacker’s impressive background as a dancer, choreographer and producer has led to collaborations with some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industries.

    Throughout Thacker’s career, his own programs have won numerous prestigious awards. These include a BAFTA, an Emmy, the Bronze Rose at Montreux, two Television Press Awards and a ‘Mention Speciale,’ also at the television festival in Montreux. He had the great honor of serving as Associate Producer and Producer on eight Royal Variety Performances for the late Queen Elizabeth II.

    Thacker has produced TV shows with major artists such as Sir Elton John, Pavarotti, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Britney Spears, Diana Ross, Enrique Iglesias, Sting, Celine Dion, among others. He was also instrumental in presenting the first major TV appearances for Michael Bublé, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. His choreography on Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” music video remains iconic.

    In 2005, Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller invited Thacker to be Senior Producer of So You Think You Can Dance. He served as one of the three original judges on Season 1 and is now Executive Producer of the show. For this show, Thacker received five consecutive Emmy nominations from 2011 to 2015. He continues to fly around the world producing and guest judging on various countries’ versions of the show.
    Thacker produced and directed the hugely successful American National Tours of So You Think You Can Dance. With the cast of the show, he also produced three top-selling fitness DVDs. Today, So You Think You Can Dance is seen in over 70 countries and has won 17 Emmys with over 70 nominations.
Please contact us if you have any collaboration-related inquiries or questions.
Phone: +1 310 993 4332
Email: info@starburst.movie

© Starburst. All rights reserved.