The end of July is the time when brown bears start hunting fish in the Kurile lake and because of the abundance of food it is safe to get really close to them. The Kurile lake has the highest red salmon population in Asia.
This time the Japanese crew wanted to film an episode for their TV show on Nippon TV with the very popular Japanese actress Imoto Ayako who was facing her fears. So we first flew to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy from Moscow and then took a helicopter to the wildlife reserve flying over mountains and volcanos.
There is a house and tourist tents and people book space in this reserve almost a year in advance so we were really lucky that the administration agreed to squeeze our crew into their schedule.
To get closer to the area with bears, we went by speed boat accompanied with an armed and very serious inspector. We had to move slowly and not get separated from the group, the wild bears are still wild bears after all 🙂
It is really hard to express what you feel when you see a wild brown bear only in 10 meters away from you, such a mixture of danger and delight that you can only freeze and stare at the them for hours. But we had to get back to the helicopter and fly back to the city for other adventures.
We met with a Koryak family who keep up old traditions but only on arrival we found that the place was created for tourists, and in order to find the real ones who live according to their old traditions we had to travel further to the North. This is sometimes the issue when working on a show without scouting the locations before the shoot.
Back in Moscow the host learned some booty dancing and tried the traditional Russian meal “beef stroganoff” in black bread. We also brought a very unusual hairdresser from Tyumen who cuts hair with an axe and makes an unforgettable show. After he demonstrated his skill on a young woman with long hair, the Japanese cameraman (who has quite long hair) was chosen by the crew to experience an axe hair cut. Accidentally he was really pleased with the result 🙂In Saint-Petersburg we met with two guys who help to overcome fears. Their team came up with using sharp knives, bed of nails, broken glass and a technique to overcome the fear of height.
We also took a roof tour and observed the city from high which is a very unusual experience in St. Petersburg, a cite with very few tall buildings. If you are ever in Saint-Petersburg in summer time it is absolutely recommended as the views are spectacular.
Here is a backstage video about this filming trip. We want to thank everyone who helped us to organise it.