JELENA STUPLJANIN

Biography

Jelena was born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia (then part of Yugoslavia). While she was in high school, Jelena ended up in drama studio, where she was trained by the late legendary acting professor Milenko Maricic. It was then that she discovered acting would be something she would want to do for the rest of her life. A year later she was accepted at the prestigious National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Serbia in the class of the professor Gordana Maric from where she holds a Bachelor’s degree.

Her first role in theater was the title role in the musical Front Page Doll (‘Lutka sa Naslovne strane’), which earned her the best actress award of Theater Terazije. Next year she became a permanent member of one of the leading theater companies in the Balkan region – Atelje 212. In the meantime she also performed on the stages of Yugoslav Drama Theater, National Theater of Serbia, BITEF theater etc) and altogether she performed in more than 30 mainstream productions (including Bash by Neil LaBute, Wild Honey by Michael Frayne, First Love by Samuel Beckett Miracle in Shargan by Ljubomir Simovic, Alice by Biljana Srbljanovic etc) and toured on stages of many European theaters. At the same time, she became one of the household names in Serbia with her role in a TV series Foxes.

In 2005 with the support of HRH Princess Elizabeth Karageorgevic of Serbia and Ms Eileen Murray, Jelena got scholarship to attend the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in New York City.

Since 2010 she’s a permanent member of New York Innovative Theater Award winning theater company Rising Phoenix Repertory and was part of numerous theater productions with them.

Her film work includes a role of Azra in Cirkus Columbia, directed by the Bosnian Oscar Winner Danis Tanovic. The film was a Bosnian contender for Oscar nominations in 2011 and it was in the selection for the European Film Awards. It was released by Strand Releasing in the USA. Jelena won the Best Actress award for her role in it at the Alexandria Film Festival 2011.

In 2014, together with German-Turkish actress Demet Guel and Swiss- Mexican filmmaker Mauro Mueller, Jelena produced a feature omnibus film ‘A Quintet’ that gathered young up-and-coming filmmakers from all over the world who all met at the Berlin Film Festival two years prior. ‘A Quintet’ consists of 5 short films shot in Sarajevo, Berlin, Aosta, Istanbul and New York City shot by 5 different filmmakers who all embarked on a journey of searching for identity on the modern world and by overcoming prejudices and breaking ‘walls’ between people.

Currently Jelena is based in New York and works both in Europe and the US on both the east and the west coast.