About this project
ABOUT THE FILM
Crimea Sich is a documentary about patriotic and spiritual upbringing of future soldiers in the Crimean Peninsula and its consequences. Each August, children aged 7 to 16 attended military bootcamp training there. Their instructors were Ukrainian and Russian Cossacks with the real life war experience. The training included target practice with real weapons, live ammunition and instilling Christian values into the young Cossacks.
I discovered the camp in 2010. And for 2 years in a row I kept going back there each summer as a photographer to complete a photo project about it. The camp itself captured my attention. My goal was to understand why at such tender age children needed to be taught how to deal with real weapons in time of peace, and what the camp was all about.
Who are Cossacks: Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic-speaking people who became known as members of democratic, self-governing, semi-military communities, predominantly located in Ukraine and in Russia. They played an important role in the historical and cultural development of both Ukraine and Russia.
What is Sich: It is the administrative and military center for Cossacks. It comes from the Ukrainian word siktý which means "to chop," or clear a forest for an encampment. Thus indicates that the first settlements of the Cossacks were placed on the forested islands.
I was surprised that most of the people in Ukraine never had been aware of the existence of the camp, at the same time the organizers didn’t hide their activities. The more time I spent there, the more I realized that a documentary film could tell the whole story more deeply. So in August 2013 I spent the remainder of my limited funds to buy the basic equipment necessary for filming, and returned to the camp, this time with my brother, to start shooting the documentary.
We were in the camp not just like a cameramen, we plunged into the atmosphere of it. We lived in the same conditions with the campers, ate from the same pot, played cards, went with them to the trainings and made video shooting in the same time. Cossacks didn’t perceive us as strangers. We were a part of them.
It turned out that we captured the very last year of camp's existence in its original form. When children from Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Belarus were training there together. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, which led to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and war in Donbass.
The film asks the following questions:
- Why would adults, former military officers, want to teach combat to children? Do children, at such a young age, realize what they are being taught and why, and is this type of the imposed ideological stance healthy or even ethical for the young impressionable minds?
- I also noticed that religion plays a vital role in this training. But what was its true purpose?
- What thoughts and ideas could influence those who consider themselves brotherly nations to make them choose different sides of the conflict?
For the last few months I have been going through the entire footage from the camp, over and over again. I have a script and put together a capable team of professionals who will be working with me on the production.
FUNDRAISING GOALS & WHERE THE MONEY WILL GO
The film has already been shot, so most of the usual production expenses have already been taken care of. But we still need your help to finish it. So, here are our goals:
Our minimum revenue goal for this documentary is $18,888. This sum includes:
- Color correction
- Original soundtrack
- Sound editing and mixing
- Graphic design
- Translations and subtitling
- Kickstarter & Payment processing fees
- Rewards. Part of the total amount will go to funding the rewards we will have ready for you.
If we exceed that minimum, and raise $28,888, than we will be able to pay for DCP Production (is a format all films need these days in order to be played in most theatrical settings), and to submit the film to international film festivals, which is one of the most expensive aspects of Independent filmmaking.
We wholeheartedly believe that this story deserves to be heard. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, that is why we have two fundraising goals. First allows us at least to finish the film with all post-production. The second one, allows us to show it to the whole world, by submitting to the film festivals.
If we do not reach our goal, we cannot make this film. Your support, in any amount, is critical!
SCHEDULE: With your help we are going to finish the documentary in May 2017.
Irina Dondyuk (Executive Producer) received master's degree in Philology. Has experience working at Newsfront, one of Ukraine’s largest PR agencies. Since 2014 works as a studio manager and arts administrator at Maxim Dondyuk Studio.
Maxim Dondyuk, maximdondyuk.com (Director, Director of photography, Producer, 1st camera) is a photographer, visual artist and filmmaker based in Ukraine. Maxim is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including Finalist of the Prix Pictet Photography Prize, International Photographer of the Year in Lucie Awards, Winner of the Prix Photo La Quatrieme Image, Winner of the Ville de Perpignan Remi Ochlik Award, Magnum Photos competition ‘30 under 30’ for emerging documentary photographers etc. His photos were exhibited in solo and group exhibitions around the world: Musée d’Art Moderne (Paris), Somerset House (London), MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts (Rome), Cultural Center of Ukraine (Paris), Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II (Kyiv), Voices Off Festival (Arles), Visa pour l’Image (Perpignan) etc. He was published in Rolling Stone, TIME, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, STERN, Paris Match, Le Monde, PDN, Bloomberg Businessweek, Polka etc.
Nikolay Dondyuk (Co-director, 2d camera) has experience working on a large variety of projects, that includes documentary, stage short films, social trailers, work on TV. He has won numerous awards at Ukrainian film festivals as a director and cameraman. Now Nikolay is developing several documentary projects focusing on various social aspects of Ukrainian reality. He was a participant of the Docudaуs UA 2016, with the documentary short film «All Goes As Planned».
Mykola Bazarkin (Film Editor) is an experienced editor in cinema, TV since 2007. Mykola edited the award-winning feature film It’s me, feature short “Trash”, "Exarh", “Mandragora” etc.
Viacheslav Polyakov (Graphic Designer) is an experienced motion designer. He received Master of Fine Arts in Kherson State University, Ukraine, was a participant of training in motion design at WDRB Fox41 TV Channel, USA and in visual arts at Jan Długosz University in Poland. There is also non-commercial part of his life at the intersection of art and documentary photography. He explores local understanding of aesthetics in age of globalization, postcolonial culture, naive and unconscious creativity.
Yuri Samson (Composer, Sound designer) is a founder, lead singer, author of music and texts of the Ukrainian psych band Biblioteka Prospero. The band delights in acoustic and electronic noise experiments, using rare and unusual instruments, computer, field recordings. Lyrics are of great importance as well. It is an open project, every new work of which presumes involving various musicians. Yuri also composed music for a Ukrainian film Svitlyachku (Lightning bug).
Viktoriya Gryb (Translator) a graduate of the prestigious Ukrainian university "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" with a bachelor's degree in culture studies and linguistics. Has had an extensive creative writing and translating experience in various subject fields. Presently a freelance reporter for Bird In Flight, an online magazine devoted to photography and visual culture. Viktoriya is also a flight attendant for a major U.S. airline and a light sport aircraft pilot.
Photos from the project were published in Newsweek Magazine / Japan, CIVILIZATION Magazine / China, Superinteressante Magazine / Brazil, VSD Magazine / France, Russian Reporter / Russia etc.
- PDN: Publication
- Business Insider: Publication
- Slate: Publication
- It's Nice That: Publication
- MUD-MAGAZINE: Publication
- Rivista Studio: Publication
- 6Mois: Publication
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- BACK THE PROJECT. Check out our rewards and pledge whatever you can. Any large or small contribution brings us one step closer to reaching our goal and giving a voice to these stories.
- SPREAD THE WORD! Please share our Kickstarter page on Twitter and Facebook and tell your friends and family about the project. Follow us and Like on Facebook. We are sincerely grateful for your support.
SOME OF OUR REWARDS
With your generous support we will be able to tell the world this unique story that already became a part of the history. We truly hope you’ll be able to join us.
We appreciate you watching and sharing this video. Your support means a lot to us. THANK YOU!
Risks and challenges
The greatest challenge for us will be raising the funds to create the film. As without your help it will be very difficult to finish this film. If this Kickstarter is not funded, the release of our film will be delayed.
I have all the footage and team of professionals. All of the money raised will go towards making CRIMEA SICH the best as possible. We promise to keep you, our faithful funder, updated throughout the post-production process!
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