Yuri Bykov was born in 1981 to a working-class family in the town of Novomichurinsk. In 2005 he graduated from the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography, where he studied acting. Yuri had a number of jobs prior to graduation, including a loader and an engine driver. He never studied film directing but was close friends with students of famous Russian director Alexey Uchitel, who later became the producer of his films. Yuri began his career by directing and producing Principal, his first short film, and received the main prize at the Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival. His first feature film, To Live, received several prizes at national and international film festivals. The Major, his second feature, premiered during Critic’s Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, received the Grand Prix at the Shanghai IFF, and was shown across international festivals including Karlovy Vary IFF and Toronto IFF. The Fool was awarded three prizes at the 2014 Locarno Film Festival, including Best Actor.