It's been a while since Katya and I did any documentary work, though we are looking to focus more on that aspect of Doroga Media in the coming months. Since the move to Maine a year and a half ago, we have focused mainly (Maine-ly, ha ha) on wedding videos, which we also love to shoot and edit, since we are located in one of the top five wedding destinations in the United States.
So instead of introducing new material, I wanted to highlight some of our older stuff, which I still like and think is an interesting showcase of the time period. Some of it is perhaps even relevant in the current political context given the rise of Trump and the many connections between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin (photo).
Katya and I started shooting together during the rising public protests against Putin. We cut our teeth in visual storytelling by capturing the unbelievable: thousands crowded the streets calling Putin a thief, portraying him as a cartoon of corruption with a crooked crown atop his head.
Protests largely began in December 2010 (video) and continued through 2011. The period saw the release of free-spirited expression and witnessed its repercussions under Putin, who cracked down (video) on political activity by issuing a set of laws limiting speech and public assembly through severe fines and jail time.
Gay rights activists (video) held actions of their own and participated in larger, citywide parades. There was an unbelievable reaction – the right wing was powerfully unleashed in the form of religious extremism. We focused one piece on LGBT activists' participation in an annual march to commemorate people killed and jailed for political reasons.
We also focused on environmental issues surrounding the industrialization of the Arctic (video) given the new access to its resources created by the thawing ice, itself a consequence of industrialization.
We also shot themes around everyday life – for example, a babushka (pronounced BA-boosh-ka), or elderly lady, performing on the street (video) with the traditional string instrument, the domra.
And the amazing tradition of bathing on the Epiphany (video) in sub zero temperatures. It attracts not only the religious, though its meaning is rooted in Orthodox Christianity: dunking yourself completely under water three times - once for the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost - to reenact the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. It is a cleansing ritual, a refresh, a restart.
These are some video highlights of the work we did, and we hope to expand on this humble foundation to tell stories of lives here in Maine.
Maine is a fiercely raw and down-to-earth place with brilliant natural beauty. People here often make a unique way for themselves that is frequently connected in some way with nature. We hope to explore this theme in future work.