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DOP work

In November 2018 I travelled from wintery Moscow to summerish Lisbon to freezing Thunder Bay (Canada) in 36 hours, to finish the shoot we started in the summer for the Federal Government of Canada. That's how I found myself in the glorious -24C in a fly-in indigenous community of Neskantaga, working as a camerawoman. It was a tough shoot, but our wonderful hosts and numerous dogs on the rez made the experience worthwhile. The film on the wellbeing in Indigenous Communities is almost ready for distribution.

#travel #camrawoman #uniqueperspective

Past July I have been hired as a camera woman for a documentary on wellbeing - a joint effort of the Federal Government of Canada and First Nations. It is a pilot project implemented in remote fly-in only Indigenous communities in far Ontario North. It's goal is to test a new model for community development and to improve health and wellbeing of its members. Director PJ Marcellino (When they awake) set out to film the results of this program a year later.

It was an absolute privilege to visit Anishinaabe communities of Webequie and Marten Falls. It was also heartbreaking to learn that there are severe housing issues and an absence of drinking water. Amazingly, the hearts of the people we encountered there were full of kindness. Our small crew went to the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies and on a forest journey with the medicine woman Elizabeth Achneepineskum. In return we held a few film screenings and taught some youth the filmmaking process.

One day I was wondering around, filming b-roll and stumbled upon these three best friends. Few minutes later a powerful dust storm came out of nowhere. Everyone flee as I got to witness it's majestic force, barely holding my own ground. The skies lit up in the sunset glow, letting the armies of annoying horse flies go. A fresh reminder of our human fragility.

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Imagine trying to bring someone from a small Indigenous Peruvian village to the noisy New York city. Why? Because you believe in the importance of cultural exchange and the voices of small communities, and Pablo's - is such a voice in your film. But, you need visas, translators and much much more. So after 2 months of hassle, here is what it came down to. Sunday - I drive from the shoot of my new film from Montreal to Toronto through a snowstorm. A world apart, Pablo flies from the hot and humid village of Santo Tomas to Lima. Monday - he goes to the US embassy. Tuesday - I fly to New York, anxiously waiting for his results. I did my best in coaching him, because as a Russian I know how tough it could get. Wednesday - I go to my first ever photography portfolio review organized by Blink and get praise by Time Magazine and others. Pablo sends me a text that he got his entry visa. In a dream-like state, I buy him a ticket with my shaking hands. This wouldn't been possible without the Canada Arts Council's Travel grant. Thursday - he travels for the first time in his life outside of his country, to New York city. His first words? "Wow, there are gringos everywhere!" Saturday - our world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival! On a one a year anniversary of my trip to his village. His strongest impressions - the hight of the buildings, the sadness of the trees on the streets of New York and a loud under-earth dragon that eats humans and disappears in the dark.

Among other highlights, we agreed that Pablo Taricuarima Pinedo will taste new food every day - for better and for worse. He loved the idea of recycling and the work of the local artisans. The escalators he found challenging, but enjoyed visiting the UN building and Central Park, where trees were much happier. Pablo made a myriad of new friends and gifted Kukama-made bracelets to his favourite ones. We gave an on-air live interview to the biggest US Spanish-speaking TV-channel Telemundo with another filmmaker Natalia Garcia Agraz, and our screenings were 2 out of 4 sold out. Did I mention that my Spanish isn't that great? Yes somehow we understood each other. I also got to meet the one and only Bobby De Niro and inherited a family of Tribeca filmmakers from around the world. Until today we watch with amazement how our films still travel across the globe and sometimes play at the same festivals.

#filmfestivals #kukama #travel #usa #lifetimeofmemories #peru #uniqueperspective

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