Mariya Nikiforova was born in 1986 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She received a BFA in Visual & Media Arts from the Honors Program at Emerson College in 2009 and has worked as a curator of the Boston-based series Balagan Films since 2011.

She is currently pursuing a master's degree in cinema studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III) while continuing to work on 16mm films as a member of the independent film labs L'Etna and L'Abominable.