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A journey to investigate life, and the survival of every day people from small, industrial towns in the wake of the Soviet Union.
A journey to investigate life, and the survival of every day people from small, industrial towns in the wake of the Soviet Union.
89 backers pledged $7,512 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$7,512

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*Please remember, if we do not meet the set goal of donations we do not get any funding at all. So tell friends, family, and strangers on the street about this exciting project.*

A solid foundation, warm walls, and protective roof. Крыша (pronounced Kree-sha), the Russians say. Shelter. Hope. Protection.

One year ago I went journey to Russia. As with all good journeys, which are by nature transformational, this one changed me and set in motion a string of thoughts that would continue to grow. Life is complex and beautiful. Along with all the joys and meaningful moments come disillusioned dreams, sorrow, and loss. Yet, on the whole people I encounter smile, love, help, and inspire. So, when an entire town's livelihood is upset or lost, what happens?

We are going to find out. Now in 2011, a good friend of mine and I are setting out on a journey to understand the economic collapse and survival of people. Christine and Tree, trying to understand how everyday people make the best of life. We will be riding trains, taking buses, and hitchhiking across Russia to visit single-industry towns, called monogorod, hit hardest by the economic shifts in the wake of the Soviet collapse only 20 years ago.

We want to learn about life, and little places in Russia. Please read the first entry on halfdayaround.com, titled “Remembering The Beginning”, to learn more.

Why?

Many reasons exist. For a start, this is a story that very few are familiar with and has never been told. Yet, at the same time it is universal. The Soviet Union could possibly be one of the largest scale embodiments of the absolute, widespread collapse of an entire nation's dreams. Such an upset does not settle in two decades. In the United States, for reference, think or read about psychological impacts the Great Depression had on people for generations afterwords.

It is further universal in the way populations were situated. In the United States we had isolated and single-company controlled mining towns, for one example. The entire population of such mining towns was dependent on and subject to the successes or failures of a higher entity largely out of their control. Employees often lived in company owned housing, shopped solely at company stores, and were sometimes paid only in company money. Failure of the company or depletion of a mine's value meant unemployment of an entire community, already poor and without options.

In Russia, it is estimated that well more than 1,500 similarly situated settlements existed when the Soviets' central economy ceased to exist in 1991.

So why Kickstarter?

Christine and I are already on this journey. I started planning this trip immediately after returning from a 2010 visit to one such town. We have combined all of our resources to purchase equipment, visas, tickets, and everything else required for a two person documentary expedition. Unfortunately, as familiar people know, this is quite an expensive process and post production is still to come. So we are asking for help in keeping the momentum free from a financial wall.

Money received through this campaign will be used, in short, for post production.

More specifically, it will be used for advertisement and general promotion of the project, the essential cost of producing a first run of DVD's and photo-books, gallery space for showings and some minimal assistance in editing. It will be a long but exciting process once we get back, and we would love to have your help.

Please keep in mind two pieces of information.

    1) If we do not meet the set goal of donations, we do not get anything funding at all.

    2) This is a minimum goal. We promise that anything in excess will be put to good use in furthering the project and adding to the quality of the end result.

Thank you so much for you time!

*Photo Credit: Garrett Martin and Tree Gore (from 2010 visit)

*Music Credit: The Woodlands – Until The Day Dims (Instrumental)

*Video editing by Tree Gore. All footage original and shot by Tree Gore and Christine Armbruster.

**(Note - kickstarter does not give us any information about backers until the project ends, so in order for us to send postcards while we are still in Russia, we will need you to message us a receiving address of some sort)**

****As shipping large matted prints in a manner that will get them to you unmarred is quite expensive, if you do not live in the state of Utah or we cannot otherwise hand deliver, please add 10% to the donation for shipping at the $75 to $150 levels. International donations for anything other than postcards, please contact us for shipping. All other shipping is included.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    $1 or more will receive Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film and gallery credits.

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    4 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    $5 will receive:

    (1) an AWESOME Personalized Limited-Edition Postcard of a picture we have taken, of course, and a hand-written message JUST FOR YOU from us somewhere along the trip. Trust us, these are cool and every picture has a great story to go with it;

    (2) a Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits 
    **(Note - kickstarter does not give us any information about backers until the project ends, so in order for us to send postcards while we are still in Russia, we will need you to message us a receiving address of some sort)**

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    9 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    $10 will receive:

    (1) THREE awesome Personalized Limited-Edition Postcards, each a picture we have taken, of course, and a hand-written message JUST FOR YOU from us somewhere along the trip. Trust us, these are cool and every picture has a great story to go with it;

    (2) Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits

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    13 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    $20 will receive:

    (1) an HD Digital Download copy of the film;

    (2) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;

    (3) a Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits 

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    19 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    $35 will receive:

    (1) a Special Edition DVD;

    (2) a 5x7 (unmatted) Signed Souvenir Print;

    (3) an HD Digital Download copy of the film; 

    (4) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;

    (5) a Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits 

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    16 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    $75 will receive:

    (1) an 8x10 (matted) Signed Fine Art Print from the trip;

    (2) a Special Edition DVD;

    (3) an HD Digital Download copy of the film;

    (4) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;

    (5) a Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits 
    ****please check shipping notice at bottom of description for this level of donation

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    5 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    $100 will receive:

    (1) an 11x14 (matted) Signed Fine Art Print from the trip;

    (2) a Special Edition DVD;

    (3) an HD Digital Download copy of the film;

    (4) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;

    (5) a Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits 
    ****please check shipping notice at bottom of description for this level of donation

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    6 backers
    $
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    $150 will receive:

    (1) a large 16x20 (matted) Signed Fine Art Print from the trip;

    (2) a Special Edition DVD;

    (3) an HD Digital Download copy of the film;

    (4) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;

    (5) a Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits 

    ****please check shipping notice at bottom of description for this level of donation

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    2 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    $250 will receive:

    (1) a large, signed Coffee Table Book filled with photos and great stories from the trip. Many of them will not have been on the blog nor be in the movie. So this book will be your exclusive chance at short anecdotes about life and travel in Russia, 5 line thoughts, raw journal entries, and stories all paired with great photographs. If you enjoy our blog, you will love this book.

    (2) a Special Edition DVD;

    (3) an HD Digital Download copy of the film;

    (4) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;

    (5) a Special Thanks, backed by our sincere gratitude and love, on the website and in the film credits

    ****please check shipping notice at bottom of description for this level of donation

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    4 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Well... along with these physical gifts, we will both be so grateful. A giant hug is certainly available if wanted. Also you would receive

    (1) VIP tickets to the premiere;

    (2) a Special Producer Thanks on the website, in the film, and at the premiere along with our deepest gratitude. Truly;

    (3) a large, signed Coffee Table Book filled with photos and great stories from the trip. Many of them will not have been on the blog nor be in the movie. So this book will be your exclusive chance at short anecdotes about life and travel in Russia, 5 line thoughts, raw journal entries, and stories all paired with great photographs. If you enjoy our blog, you will love this book;

    (4) a large 16x20 (matted) Signed Fine Art Print from the trip

    (5) a Special Edition DVD;

    (6) an HD Digital Download copy of the film;

    (7) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;

    ****please check shipping notice at bottom of description for this level of donation

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    1 backer
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    (1) Undying gratitude for understanding, and supporting our passion in this project.

    (2) Also, a personal screening next time one or both of us is in your area, with extra comments and stories if wanted. We will even bring snacks!

    (3) And of course VIP tickets to the premiere;

    (4) a Special Producer Thanks on the website, in the film, and at the premiere along with our deepest gratitude. Truly;

    (5) a large 16x20 (matted) Signed Fine Art Print from the trip;

    (6) a large, signed Coffee Table Book of photos and stories from the trip as previously described;

    (7) a Special Edition DVD;

    (8) an HD Digital Download copy of the film;

    (9) an AWESOME Personalized Postcard with hand-written message as previously described;
    ****please check shipping notice at bottom of description for this level of donation

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    3 backers
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Funding period

- (60 days)