He was born in Leningrad on October 10 1951 in the family of the famous Soviet film director Iosif Kheifits. He first studied as a philologist and for a period of time worked on literary translations, though he soon chose the world of cinema. Already in his graduation year, the 23-year old Dmitry Svetozarov worked at “Lenfilm” Studios as assistant to the director Ilya Averbach in the film “Other People’s Letters”, and then with Iosif Kheifits in the film «Asya».
In 1980 he graduated from the Higher Courses for Directors (in the atelier of Kheifits), after which he continued his work at “Lenfilm” as a director. In 1983 he made his mark in full length feature films. This was with his brilliant debut- the sports drama «Speed», which not only sharply broke loose from the general cinematic trends of the ‘stagnation era cinema’ but also set him apart as a promising young director: Svetozarov was ready to seriously enter the rare field of genre cinema in the Soviet Union. The popular success of «Speed» allowed the director to quickly work on his next project and in 1986 his film «The Breakthrough» came out - the story of a major accident in the Leningrad metro, the second disaster film in the whole history of Russian cinema.
In the years of perestroika, Svetozarov’s ‘genre cinematography’ became more artistic and uncompromising. Something which attracted a negative reaction amongst the cinematic hierarchy. The growing discontent at Svetozarov reached «boiling point» after the screening of his cinematic parable and thriller «Dogs» (1989). The film was revolutionary for its time, for both its form- it was the first thriller in Soviet/Russian cinema, and in terms of its content, studying the dark sides of the human soul. The director entered a territory which up until then was given a wide berth in cinema. The film was accused of being excessively cruel and it was denied a general release.
The beginning of the 1990s was the epoch of the ‘official’ recognition of the director. In 1992 his psychological detective story «The Arithmetics of Murder» (1991) received the Grand Prix at the “Kinoshock” Film Festival in Anapa and the prize for the Best Male Role by Sergei Bekhterev at the Valanciennes International Film Festival and subsequently had a very successful run in the country’s movie theatres. «The Arithmetics of Murder» strengthened Svetozarov’s reputation as a brilliant professional who worked freely within the confines of any genre, as well as a director and auteur with an emerging system of aesthetic values, perspectives and convictions.
In 2002 along with the producer Andre Sigle he created the “ASDS” Film Studio. In the same year he shot a multi-series film «By the Name of Baron» a gangster saga with a profound conception and complexly staged. The film was awarded the 2002 TEFI National Prize in the field of “Best Teleserial”. A particular place in his film oeuvre goes to the adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment”, the premiere of whose multi-series version took place on Russia’s “First Channel”. In 2013 he once again turned to the “big screen” and shot a thriller-based drama “Snow Maiden”.
2016 – Shadow
2015 – Indian Summer (serial)
2013 – The Snow maiden
2012 – Mother and Stepmother (serial)
2007 – Crime and Punishment(serial and feature film)
2003 – By the name of Baron (serial)
2000 – National Security Agent (serial)
1998 – Streets of Broken Lights (serial)