We ventured 120km from Moscow to Obninsk to investigate what state the Russian collective farms are in now for French-German TV. With stories that a lot of the land is being rented by Chinese farmers who are putting up hundreds of green houses and polytunnel’s to mass produce vegetables for the Russian market.
We had read an article which said that the Chinese farmers are using huge amounts of pesticides and chemical fertilizers to bring on the crop faster and bigger than anything grown naturally. There are stories of them moving to different land each year leaving behind fields poisoned and unable to be farmed anymore, land that even weeds don’t grow on.
We found one of these Chinese run farms and they were very welcoming and showed us around. This group had worked the same plot of land for 5 years so maybe not all the stories we had read were true. We got some great film of their green houses and how they tend to the tomato plants.
Also for this story we looked at the local Russian population, most of them would have been farmers here 10 – 20 years ago, but now the young don’t seem to have the opportunity to work the land, either because there is not enough work or they don’t like the idea of this type of back breaking labour.
In the 3 days of filming we met one young Russian couple who have a small holding and are happy to still be working the land with their collection of young cows, goats and pigs. But this couple seem to be an exception and not typical in this region.
With a few months of pre-production done we had the most amazing week with Sugar Rush Productions from Beirut filming an episode of the reality TV show “Laish La”. This show has a prime time slot and is the number one show in its category on MBC seen right across the Middle East and North Africa. It has some staggering viewing figures as well as huge following on social media and we now know why.
Four very likable guys traveling the world, seeing some wonderful locations and ticking off things from their bucket list. They have slept in an igloo in Sweden, learnt kung fu with the Shao Lin monks in China and spent 3 days with traditional eagle hunters in Mongolia and many other fantastic things.
Not only do they get to do loads of cool stuff and see their own dreams come true, in each episode they change the life of a total stranger making their lifelong ambition come true, which not only makes for brilliant television but exactly the kind of thing we jumped at the chance to do.
We filmed right across Moscow, in Gorky Park, New Arbat and Nikolskaya Street as well as headed to Nizhniy Novgorod for part of this episode. We can’t wait for it to air on the 22nd April 2015 on MBC1 so we can share with you more details of our adventures with this production.
Here we need to thank not only all of the crew from Beirut for such a fantastic week, but those from our team who went above and beyond to get this filmed. From the many project’s we get involved in, this is one we will always remember, and a huge reason for that can only be talked about once it’s has been shown.