In October we had a pleasure of working with a Japanese crew and 4 Japanese comedians who came to film an episode of their famous show “Let’s challenge the world” in Russia. This is a very popular travel show broadcasted by NTV Japan for 10 years reaching a viewing audience of 20 million people per episode.
The Japanese celebrities usually find for their show some really interesting and unusual activities that they can do in each country.
In Moscow they experienced Russian traditional dancing with Beryozka dance team and tried speed climbing with the Russian Olympic champion Anna Tsyganova.
They also wanted to meet with special people from the country who have unusual talents. So we brought to Moscow from his home by the Black Sea the shawarma chef who mixes martial arts with the preparation of shawarma in a show of knifes and a blur of actions as he moves so fast. We found and took over for a morning a great little café location for filming him.
We also contacted Sadvakasovs family and brought 10 year old speed boxer Evnika with her father to Moscow so we could film a part of the show about Evnika’s unique boxing skill. It was really lovely to meet this young lady and to see her in action is incredible.
For the final day of filming we organised a photoshoot with Stepan, a Russian bear who is known as a very friendly and gentle bear which is very hard to believe when you first see this huge frightening animal. We found a great forest location on the outskirts of Moscow which was perfect for the shoot.
We were all so excited to meet this lovely bear that after the filming was wrapped we all took selfies with him.
You can watch behind the scenes video HERE
This shoot was hard work but also great fun and we love challenges like these, working under pressure when you need to find a solution whatever the cost.
We can now reveal more details about the Russian episode of Laish La. We didn’t quite put a man on the moon but we did put one into space. The 4 hosts came wanting to explore the possibility of getting closer to the stars and Russia having a great heritage of space travel, it was the perfect place to do this.
Moayed got the chance to fly in a MIG-29 twenty two km above sea level where he witnessed the curvature of the earth.
The very first man in space Yuri Gagarin said when he returned that earth was a wonderful place and we all must unite to take care of it. We believe that this is the essence of Laish La that if we all unite anything is possible.
In each episode of Laish La the 4 hosts stop people in the street to ask “What do you want to do before you die?” They then decide to help one of these people fulfil their dream. For the Russian episode the team decide that the person they would surprise would be none other than our very own Alyona Pimanova. When she was young she used to ice skate to a high level and dreamed of making it her career. As she got older, for different reasons she had to put skating aside to focus on other areas in her life, so her dream was to ice skate again as she had when she was young.
As she was part of the production team this meant a lot of white lies and misinformation to keep her from finding out what we were planning. This was made easier when she accompanied most of the team to Nizhny Novgorod for the MIG flight.
Back in Moscow the rest of the team were hard at work setting up the surprise. We visited nearly every ice rink in Moscow and we found one that would allow us to have it empty and all to ourselves on the Saturday evening.
We also spoke to a large number of agents of professional ice skaters to find an Olympic champion to give her a figure skating master class. Through a contact at the Moscow Sports University we managed to get a brilliant up and coming young skater who was happy to come and be part of the show.
We also tracked down Alyona’s ice skating teacher Tatiana Vitalievna she had not seen since she was very young.
The last part of the puzzle was to get her to the right place at the right time. We told her that the 4 hosts wanted her to show them how to skate and invited her to the rink. At this point she still had no idea what was about to happen and was thinking she would just help them to get skates and it would be the sign off.
She arrived helped them all hire ice skates and took them out on to the rink, then they told her that it was actually not about them, but was all for her. They emptied the rink and introduced the star who gave her some skating tips, then presenting her with a new ice skating outfit, let her have the whole rink to herself to remember how she used to skate which was her dream.
Last surprise was presenting her with flowers and the finally of reuniting her with Tatiana. They danced the same routine as they used to nearly 15 years ago.
We are pleased to say that she has since continued to skate and this show has relighted the love she once had for ice skating. Dreams do come true it seems with a lot of work and the single minded ambition to make someone else life better is a great motivator.
This production will be one of the most interesting and fun shows we have worked on and we will remember that week for a long time to come. We are also pleased to have gained some wonderful friends among the team.
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.