*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.
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.
- (60 days)