by Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev
United Kingdom, 2022, 25’
Wednesday, Oct. 05, Zenith Cinema, Via Benedetto Bonfigli 5, 4:30 p.m.
Directors and Producers: Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev
Photography: Maxim Arbugaev and Evgenia Arbugaeva
Editors: Evgenia Arbugaeva and Joshua Chadwick
Sound design and Sound Mix: Anastasia Dushina
Foley Artist: Ivan Saveliev
On a remote coast of the Siberian Arctic, in a wind-battered hut, a lonely man waits to witness an ancient gathering. But warming seas and rising temperatures bring an unexpected change, and he soon finds himself overwhelmed.
As a photographer and a filmmaker native to the Siberian Arctic, we have been covering stories in the region for more than a decade. However, we never felt the climate emergency in such a visceral way as during the shooting of this film.
The story is simple in its form: an observation of a three-month-long field season of the Russian marine biologist Maxim Chakilev on a remote coast of the Arctic Ocean in Chukotka.
At the beginning of the film, Maxim is a mysterious figure. It is unclear what he is doing in this harsh and isolated place until the reason for his presence is revealed in a shocking overnight haul out of ca. 100 000 walruses, the biggest on the planet. The capacity of this gathering is a result of the diminishing sea ice. In the past, walruses would rest on the floating ice during their migration and come out on land in much smaller numbers, but in 2020 the Chukchi Sea was completely iceless.
The audience is literally placed in the middle of the climate crisis. The claustrophobic and crumbling hut feels unsafe and fragile, just like the animals surrounding it and the human being inside.
This film is a report on the consequences of global warming in the Arctic and, at the same time, a tribute to the stubborn dedication of scientists who work in these lands with a great personal commitment.
Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaeva
Evgenia Arbugaeva, b.1985 and Maxim Arbugaeva, b.1991 are sister and brother, both born in the town of Tiksi, located on the shore of the Laptev Sea in the Republic of Yakutia. Their work often analyses their homeland — the Arctic, while discovering and capturing the remote worlds and people who inhabit them.
Maxim Arbugaeva is a director, cinematographer, producer and winner of various international film festival awards, including the Sundance Film Festival 2018 where he received a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography for the film Genesis 2.0, which he co-directed with Christian Frei.
The Hunters (2015)
Genesis 2.0 (co-director Christian Frei) (2018)