Singapore. TV Channel U broadcasted 45-min documentary Fixer S2线人2 – EP10 we had filmed with Singaporean crew in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
This unusual account of the Dungans’ lifestyle caused curiosity and surprise among TV viewers in Singapore: this ethnic minority of Chinese Muslims settled in the-then Tsarist Russia about 140 years ago and still keep their traditions in the Dungan villages of the Central Asia.
A group of people in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, who speaks the ancient Shaanxi and Gansu dialects, called themselves the Dungan. They have settled down in the foreign land and influenced by the fortright nature of the horse-backed nation. Let’s us take a look at the culture and life of the Dungan.
April 29, 2018. The village of Tokmаk (74 km east of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan) …Our TV crew arrived too late. We missed a vital episode for our TV documentary: the unique traditional preparation for an ancient wedding ceremony was over.
The star attraction of the episode WEDDING DAY ONE was 18-year-old Radziya Umarova proudly wearing her stunningly beautiful red bridal wedding dress. Her carbon black hair decorated with flowers enchanced the high contrast with her pale face. She was just about to cast the last glance at herselself in the mirror, admiring her just finished in an intricate traditional hairstyle ‘lova’ (‘crow’).
My crew entered a separate room for female Dungans crowded with girls and women. Some of them were sitting on a ‘kana’ (a high Dungan couch) watching the bride in admiration. Little girls were running around, making a lot of noise.
I had to use all possible arguments. including financial, to have the bride’s hair done up again for us. Luckily, the bride had a few hours to relax before the next part of the ceremony. So, Radziya sat still once again on the ‘kana’ and waited patiently while Rosa, a hairstylist, carefully disentangled the ‘lova’ and combed Radziya’s thick black hair again. Silence settled over the room. Showtime!
Within the next hour or so a new elaborate ‘lova’ was made and decorated with silver and gold jewelry as well as even more flowers. Now it looked as if a whole cherry ochard covered her head with blooms. Continue reading →
London. December 5-6. The 3rd edition of FOCUS 2017 held at The Business Design Centre has turned out the only European free-to-attend high-level audiovisual trade show which I liked so much. This annual international convention for the global film industry offered very good business opportunities, even better than in 2016. As a result, there were lots of brilliant meetings with old good friends and with many promising contacts. This time I met many more Chinese film-makers and even a few Russian-speaking men and women, from Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania and two London-based Russian ladies, both named Olga… all great fans of the film business.
NETWORKING was really excellent. The trade show provided easy-to-meet contacts with professionals from all sectors of the creative screen industries. Over 170 companies from 61 countries were exhibited at the event: European and international agencies, location and service providers, production technology outfits, film/TV production companies and, of course, film commissions. The Business Design Centre offered many very convenient locations for informal parties or facilitated meetings with a rear atmosphere of festive fun and hospitality.
THE FOCUS PROGRAMME was very informative. It was developed in consultation with BFI, BFC, PACT, APA, PMA, Creative Skillset, Animation UK, Games London, WFTV etc. Variety magazine was present at its own booth as FOCUS media’s partner. Other partners included the Production Guild, BECTU, LMGI, LPG, EUFCN, 1.4, AdGreen, Albert, Dresd and other exhibitors. For obvious reasons I skip mentioning the official sponsor of beer, cheese, ham etc. although I must admit, the quality was great. Continue reading →
At last, I got the trailer (click to screen it) of a finished documentary by Andreas Schnoegl from Eikon Sudwest GMBH from Stuttgart, Germany about people around the world who try to reach immortality at all costs.
The film will be aired on German TV, as well as hopefully worldwide and in Russia soon.
I am glad, Andreas accepted my idea to research and compare the view points of Moscow-based pragmatic-and-commercial Cryonic businessmen (‘there’s no soul, just the body’) with Russian traditional and spiritual faith in immortality of ‘mysterious Russian soul’.
Despite the ups and downs of global politics, Russia seems ready to wrench the door open to new international partners. The West is welcome, and inspired not only by traditional hospitality, but also by a hidden fear (from both sides) for the return to the years of the Iron Curtain.
More and more European and US producers are bringing their projects to Russia to launch international coproductions. Some of them even ask for locations which double for Europe or the USA to minimize the budget and avoid extra travel-and-shoots.
Also, importantly, they are ready to invest more and request less money back from Russian partners / coproducers even despite the fact that the number of Russian currency billionaires has doubled during the recent world crisis.
Indeed, now it’s a lot cheaper for foreign companies in Russia if they’re willing to take the risk. Their interest in coproductions in Russia was sparked by the record high exchange rate of US dollar and the Euro against the Russian ruble. Definitely, it is a positive factor for international productions. However, the main reason is: Russia reveals a new reality.
In fact, this reality is not so long forgotten in Russia. For several generations all Russians have lived according to the motto: “IT’S BETTER TO HAVE A 100 FRIENDS THAN A 100 RUBLES”. In fact, the Soviet people survived after the devastation of WWI, the Civil War and WWII by mainly being patriotic, united (“friendsinneed”), and amazingly creative and not materialistic. And later, before the collapse of the Soviet Union in those romantic times our people were open to give a generous support to each other and, specially, to a western guest.
So, welcome to a new Russian reality…
Eugene Zykov President & Founder Russian Film Commission FilmMedia (Moscow, Russia) Publisher & Editor of ALL THE SHOWCASE+ film magazine
RUSSIAN FILM COMMISSION – FILM-MEDIA (Moscow)
The Moscow-based company renders A to Z production services throughout Russia/ex-USSR. Among the recent highlights were Tony Braxton Brakes Russian Hearts and Meteorite Hunt in Russia (both US), Student # 1, (India), Esterdad (Iran) etc. as well as docume
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