I want to make a film and beautiful photo book which focuses on the lives of single women in Russia. Having been a single mother for most of my adult years I can certainly understand the strife and struggles associated only with that.
According to some websites: There are three women for every man in Russia. As it has been put to me "The men are spoiled and the women are desperate." Divorced women with children stand almost no chance of remarriage. However, according to the CIA fact site, it is in fact pretty even keel until you get over the age of 40, the ratio begins to go up.
(Please note that life in the big cities is a stark contrast to life in the small towns. Many of the problems which exist in rural towns do not exist in big cities like Moscow and St Petersburg.)
What is life like for these women? What problems come with being single in the cities? Divorced in the villages? How many of these women find American or European guys just to have a chance at something more? How many turn to prostitution? What factors force a woman to move from her values down a path such as this? How many women live in the lap of luxury? How many women achieve success simply on their own?
Women's rights seem to be an ongoing battle here in the US, but what is it like for our "dark twins"? What are their particular woes? Can women rise up and speak their minds?
My plan is to interview 10-20 women living in Moscow, St Petersburg and as many far out villages. To spend some time with each of these women and get to know their daily lives, their struggles, their values..
This book and documentary which will be the end product will stand to educate the average American on a brief history (Women's Battalion of Death-What??!) and current perspective on the rights of women in Russia. My interviews will cover daily battles and the photos will depict every thing from working to living to recreation. The book, prints, and documentary should bring to light our sisters on the other side of the world. Our sisters who have fought battles that we cannot imagine and women who have it better than most of us can imagine. Do these girls deal with things that never cross our paths? Or do we all just deal with same struggles here, just a different story? Who are they and what can we learn from them?
The funding will cover my travel to and throughout Russia for a month as well as print and production costs. And since I already have a place to stay, most of the costs will be for transportation, food, and print costs.
The end goal is to hang these in a life-sized format in a gallery or maybe on the street so that that cannot be ignored. The viewer is forced into a relationship and an understanding with the women and the pieces.
A book should also accompany this project. I intend to publish a limited number of copies of this book detailing and chronicling my experiences. The book will be published via blurb.com in three sizes. 8x10, 13x11, and 12 x 12.
40X60 enlargements cost over $110 per print, this does not include framing. With matte board around $200 per piece.
The books themselves will cost $60+ EACH to produce. I would like to produce at least 50 books. I have not yet decided who all should get them, but I am looking for an organization that might be able to use them as tools. And also to each woman in the book. That's $3000 right there, though I'm fairly certain there is a discount with higher volumes.
The film will cost almost nothing other than my time and DVD's to produce. I have a friend who is opening an Anime dub studio who has gifted me time in her studio to edit, produce and develop the film.There will be some print costs associated with this. This film is meant to be educational and cultural, I would like to distribute copies to high schools and libraries, anywhere public I can put them, I will.
It will cost an average of $30-50 per day to travel through the cities. I have factored in further away travel to small and remote villages.(That's about 1200-1500 just to get to the villages)
The visa, ticket, and food are coming out of my pocket. I am not even asking for one dime for my time, though I do feel my time is valuable, it's not as important as a life that can be improved or a mind that can be changed. Revolutions of the mind do not happen overnight, but holding a piece of one in your hand might help you along the way. :)
- (30 days)