Ismail Safarali was born in April 1978 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Educated at Baku School for Political Sciences (BA Diplomacy) and Duke University (Durham, NC) (MA Economics), Ismail had a successful career in banking before changing his trade for filmmaking in September 2013. Ismail has graduated in September 2015 with a Master’s degree in Filmmaking from the Moscow School of New Cinema (MSNC), laboratory of Dmitry Mamulia. He has written and directed several short films. His debut feature script, Night Tide, won the pitching competition at Russia's "Kinotavr" film festival.