Великий Северный путь

Best documentary at Arctic Open 2019 film festival to be screened nationwide

The Great Northern Route, a reenactment of Semyon Dezhnev's voyage from Arkhangelsk to Chukotka in the 17th century and the discovery of the strait between Asia and America, will be released on February 28. In over four months of shooting, the film crew covered a distance of 10,000 km across eight Arctic regions of Russia.

The director, Leonid Kruglov, is a traveler, photographer and ethnographer, and a member of the Russian Geographical Society. Traveler Fyodor Konyukhov and polar guide Viktor Simonov took part in his expedition, accompanied by guides from Russia's polar regions.

Parts of the documentary were filmed in Naukan, the easternmost village in Russia, and at the Oymyakon Pole of Cold at a temperature below 50 degrees Celsius, where camera batteries fully discharge in 10-15 minutes.

"This northern footage certainly came at a price. Even Yakuts were surprised that we were able to do it," Kruglov told Arctic.ru. He added that a special insulated drone model was developed for the filming, and the connecting wires were sealed with a special gel.

Kruglov also said that after the film previews in different cities in Russia, people from the tundra and residents of the north began to write letters of thanks to him.

"They write, thank you for finally paying attention to us and telling others about how we live, what is happening to us, and about our difficult history," the director said. He also noted that a lot of things had to be left out. Perhaps, an expanded version of the film will be made for one of the social networks, to show the whole story of Semyon Dezhnev.

Regarding his plans for the future, Kruglov mentioned another major Arctic project now in the pipeline called Novaya Zemlya. It will be the story of the Russian Arctic islands from Novaya Zemlya to Wrangel Island: the wildlife, nature, people, discoveries, and expedition parties that went missing and the search missions that looked under the ground, under the water, from the air, etc. "So this is our next big project for at least four years; we will begin this spring," said the director.

The film will run from February 28, 2019 and will premiere at the Oktyabr movie theater in Moscow on February 23, and at St. Petersburg's Warsaw Express on February 24.