On the 14-16 December Moscow welcomed the very best ice climbers across the lead and speed disciplines in 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Combined Championship.
The competition took place within the Luzhniki stadium area, the home of the opening and closing matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
A crew from Quebec (Canada) came to film the last episode of their show “The Unknown Champions 2” for Channel 5 which show their audience the most fascinating world championships from all around the world. Our Producer/fixer Alyona Pimanova spent time with the crew to coordinate the shooting, translate interviews and arrange transportation.
During these 3 days we were following the Canadian athlete who was one of the competitors. We also got to know a Russian champion athlete from Tymen – Nikolay Kuzhovlev who won this competition.
In spite of really chilly whether it is a fascinating sport which demands a huge amount of strength and total focus and the cold didn’t diminish the pleasure of meeting so many great sportspeople and see them compete.
On a Sunday morning (perfect time without traffic and relaxed policemen) we grabbed some beauty shots of Moscow. We were really lucky to get some drone shots of the city and the river. Without a permit it’s not possible but sometimes you get 10-15 minutes before the security guys suddenly appear from nowhere and asks you to stop. Something we don’t advise but if the crew really want to give it a go then they can.
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.
In April a crew from Saudi Arabia came to Moscow to film Youtube videos about their journey building up to the FIFA World Cup in order to give their audience a taste of the city, visiting museums, restaurants and places of interest.
We started preparing months before their arrival. The hosts wanted to drive an old American car in the streets of Moscow so we needed to find such an unusual and very rare type of old car in Russia. We tried different options and after a while the choice was made on a 1989 Ford Crown Victoria that we had painted green and added vinyl graphics in Arabic for the show.
The result was amazing and the car attracted lots of attention on the streets of Moscow and people could not avoid taking pictures of it. It became one of the heroes of the show in its own right.
During the first week of filming we filmed in the museum of surreal art and cosmonaut museum at VDNHa as well as saw a very unusual cat performance in the famous Cat’s theatre and got to see military tanks and jet fighters in Victory park.
We also had some staged scenes and hired a number of extras to play different characters. Alyona, our fixer/producer, played a referee during a football scene when the Arab hosts had a match with Russian footballers. Pavel, our assistant producer and our “baby driver” played a brilliant role of a gangster. All our extras quickly got their nick names among the crew, such as “old babushka” and “an envelope guy” and became a real asset to this production.
We want to thank our very favourite producer from Lebanon, Mohammad, who is always pleasure to work with.
We also recorded a podcast with him about filmmaking and production in Russia and other countries. You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/user-139007163/ep-1-mohammad-saad
The second filming with the same crew from Saudi Arabia and 4 brilliant hosts (Instagram influencers) happened during the World Cup in June where they visited some games and soaked up the atmosphere of Russia during this event.
September and October we worked on a project for Lenovo. We filmed two videos for YouTube to promote their new #Goodweird products.
One video was a music clip for EeOneguy – Russian vlogger with over 4 million subscribers to his channel. Having a dream to make a really cool music video, he wrote the lyrics to the music composed by our American colleagues.
It was decided that it will be represented in the style of a K-pop music video, so we used lots of cool and weird costumes and make up with the help of our costumer and make-up stylist. We also found a great choreographer and dancers to help bring the video to life.
We filmed in some really exciting locations for the various scenes in the clip: in a sauna and the famous Bunker 42 at Taganskaya. The Bunker is now a museum of the cold war which is 65 meters deep underground.
The second video was an international video of a “dance off” between 3 vloggers and was shoot in America, India and Russia. In Russia we filmed the dancing scene on the Central square of VDNH – The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy. It is one of the most popular public places in the Russian capital and represents many different elements of Russia with its famous buildings.
The dance was a mixture of 3 different cultures, so we had the Russian gymnasts and guys in bear outfits as well as big Russian beardy men in American cheerleading costumes and our dancers in Indian sarees. Although it was snowing a lot on the day we shot at VDNH, it was really fun and our Green Truck was a busy but warm place to escape the cold.
There was a lot of equipment and crew involved in the filming of these two clips which we supplied, including: cameras, Steadicam, crane, lighting and sound. Editing was made in California by our American colleagues.
On the 22nd of June 2015 we launched our short film “A City Like This”. We have always been motivated to show Russia as the modern and creative country it is and its people are as the diverse, complicated and joyful as you would find anywhere.
We first got involved with Dance Walking as participants when it first found its way to Russia via Alexander Girshon, a psychologist and dance therapist, and from the very beginning we realised that there is a great film to be made.
A very nice film to watch and story to hear, with a certain amount of pleasure in seeing Russians in a way we do not often get to see in the West.
Short of the Week
In 2012 Ben Aaron, a reporter from New York City brought Dance Walking to a wider audience when he spotted a guy on 5th avenue with headphones dancing on his own and joined him. He discovered that this form of dance walking combines three of his favorite things: Interacting with people, seeing the city and dancing.
Very quickly the idea spread to other countries as the world’s newest fitness craze and in 2014 it reached Moscow as well as the other cities of Russia.
2014 was full of complicated events in Russia and in all corners of the world, and many people seemed to be looking for something positive, something inspiring that could be a distraction if just for a short time.
So when Alexander Girshon announced Dance Walking on social media, it was the perfect time for people to go out into the streets, get involved and share something new. He didn’t expect so many people would come straight away and that it would grow into what it has now become. People of different backgrounds and ages all united by their passion for dance.
Filming Dance Walking Moscow
Our Producer Alyona Pimanova attended the very first Dance Walking in Moscow as she has her own love of dance. She shot some beautiful footage on her phone and when we saw it in the office, we all agreed straight away that this would make a lovely short film.
We met with Alexander Girshon and made preparations to shoot the next Dance Walking. We shot it with 3 cameras and all of the team had the same music play list in their headphones as the dancers had.
For me this was very important to the shoot, this almost Gonzo treatment would mean the camera team would capture the joy of the dancing with the subjects they were filming.
Dan Smith, Creative Director
As music is such an important part of this film and for copyright reasons we couldn’t use music from the original playlist, we called upon a good friend of ours Alex Beharrell and his wonderful band The Reckostacks. They kindly agreed to let us use their music and it became apparent in post-production that their music gave the film the perfect emotion to accompany the footage.
So we want to say a huge thank you to The Reckostacks. Go buy their music, it is truly moving and beautiful – www.thereckostacks.com
We shared ‘A City Like This’ on social media with the Dance Walking Moscow group as well as Ben Aaron and other people and have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback.
So why not find a Dance Walking event near where you live, join in this wonderful experience as it will truly inspire, you will meet a lot of great people and it will open your eyes to the place you live.