*we will be updating this area with more information as the project further develops *
GENERAL INFORMATIONPopulation: 5.4 million
Area: 199,900 km2 or 77,181 sq mi (about the size of South Dakota)
Land: High Steepe and Mountains (94% of the country is mountains!)
Lowest and highest points: Kara-Daryya 132 m and Pik Pobedy 7,439 m
Neighbors: Kazakastan, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Languages: Kyrgyz and Russian
Ethnicities: over 40 different groups including 68.9% Kyrgyz, 14.4% Uzbek, 9.1% Russian
Religion: Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
Kyrgyzstan is a country that is 95% mountainous, and has more than a dozen existing ski resorts, but ski tourism has not taken full effect yet. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kyrgyz people have found themselves in a very tough economic situation. Being that Kyrgyzstan is almost all mountainous, many people believe that developing a ski tourism industry is a key ingredient for the future of the Kyrgyz economy.
Another important issue facing Kyrgyzstan is the protection of the worlds largest walnut forest. This forest is their most valuable resource and it is disappearing rapidly due to various factors such as overgrazing and logging. This forest is a haven of biodiversity on the edge of the Ferghana Valley, and home to a variety of endangered animals and flora. Under the Soviet Union the forest was protected, but after the collapse it has become a free for all.
Hayat Tarikov is a local Kyrgyz man who lives at the edge of this forest in the town of Arslanbob. He used to work as a forester under the Soviet Union, but resigned over ten years ago due to his opposition to the Kyrgyz state management policies. He is now head of Community Based Tourism in Kyrgyzstan, and has remained at the forefront of both these issues: the ski industry and the protection of the walnut forest. In his town of Arslanbob he a has started a ski touring program and has also taken it upon himself to teach the local Kyrgyz children how to ski so that they can grow up with a skill that will give them a better future.
The focus this documentary is Hayat and his developments and aspirations for his country. The months of December and January will be spent getting all the necessary equipment together, writing grants to try to help with funding, doing research, and setting up a blog to post updates throughout the project. End of January we will head over to Kyrgyzstan for 2-3 months to film the documentary. We will mainly be focused on Hayat and the area of Arslanbob, but we will also travel to some of the existing ski resorts and local villages to try to get interviews with people there as well.
Upon return in April we will start on post production work. Nayla will be using her final quarter at UCLA to finish this film, and will have the help of her documentary film teacher to piece it all together as well as others involved in the project. Pending the final product, we are in talks to have it distributed via The Ski Channel. We are also hoping to show it in a variety of venues including but not limited to ski/snowboard clubs, mountain sports shops, theaters, schools, and any place that shows interest in this film. We also hope to enter it in various film festivals and academic programs nationwide.
If you are interested in donating any ski/snowboard gear and/or avalanche safety equipment, please contact either Nayla or Jeslen. We are gathering gear to bring to Hayat. Children's gear is most needed, as well as avalanche safety equipment. There is a good possibility that an American avalanche safety instructor might be joining the project to volunteer his time and train Hayat and other local guides. So any gear would be greatly appreciated!
- (45 days)