ABOUT THE FEATURE FILM
SOVIETOPIA is a feature length documentary film – still in production – pursuing leads to a Utopia in the hinterlands of the former Soviet Union.
We journey on a quest to forgotten places scattered across remote regions of ex-USSR countries, tempting their rediscovery before nature takes them back into its womb. Framed by imaginary architecture – ranging from avant-garde Constructivism to neo-classical Socialist Realism to futuristic Soviet Brutalism – all carry the reflections of a deserted ideal. The adventure will escort to the end of the roads and further – to secret loopholes of time, far beyond the present we inhabit.
"Every profit is made by the expense of a loss, as every end bears a new beginning – thus the world remains a perpetual state of re-invention."
Through memories of individuals, closely attached to the locations captured, we delve into abandoned dreams of the future and reflect on the past – with the aim of cherishing the effects of hope and conviction, generating a vigorous force and implementing grand visions, ideas and fantasies that have moved mankind forward – but also to observe the consequences of delusion, mistaken evaluations of what is achievable and the post-apocalyptic traces that overly ambitious projects left behind. These socio-political phenomena are etched deeply into historic cycles of humanity.
"The most powerful spheres of our life are fictional constructs but since we believe in them collectively they become a reality."
The poetic images are underlined by a dynamic soundtrack created by the Russian band MEGAPOLIS – ironically, their album из жизни планет is based on scores of Soviet films that were never realised.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Over the past years we have undertaken several scouting & shooting trips – to the region of Murmansk in the north of Russia, to Lake Baikal in Siberia, to Abkhazia, a partially recognised state on Georgia's territory, as well as to Ukraine. We are in the process of fund raising in order to continue the project. (So far the Austrian Film Institute has been so generous to grant us a script & a project development fund.)
SOVIETOPIA is produced by kurt mayer film
ABOUT THE VIRTUAL REALITY SHORT
BRIDGE TO SOVIETOPIA teleports to collapsing temples of progress, ruins of scientific triumph and fading Soviet grandeur – and lets the audience immerse in a lost Utopia. Former creators, inhabiters and believers lead the way, while sharing astonishing memories and offering insights into peculiar retro-futuristic schemes.
"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past – for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results." (MACHIAVELLI)
VR’s playful dimension allows the spectator to explore another time-space and navigate inside history. The vivid experience of vanishing places and memory provokes an emphatic reaction towards heritage and identity. The VR footage is marked by a constant flow of movement and has a strong sense of dynamic. Atmospheric soundscapes – composed of field-recordings and electronic surfaces – increase the immersion of the overall experience.
"We can learn from history, but we can also deceive ourselves when we selectively take evidence from the past to justify our made up minds." (MARGARET MACMILLAN)
The forgotten yet monumental symbolic remains are filmed all over UKRAINE in 360°, during a time when its people and places were still able to peacefully contemplate the past and dream of the future. We have therefore captured a gone present and a valuable time capsule of Ukraine's former relationship to its Soviet heritage. Regardless, the film's objective is non-political whatsoever.
+++ WORLD PREMIERE on November 20th 2020 at IDFA // DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling +++
+++ AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE August 2021 at MIFF // Official Selection +++
+++ GERMAN PREMIERE November 2021 at KFFK // Official Selection +++
FILM CREDITS (BRIDGE TO SOVIETOPIA)
GEORGIY VIKTOROVICH LISACHUK (Professor of Radiophysics)
SERGEY TEMCHENKO (Steel-Worker)
STANISLAV BOGDANOVICH PETROV (Theatre Director)
Director: Marie Alice Wolfszahn
Producer: Kurt Mayer
Cinematography: Gabriel Krajanek & Tobias Götz
Sound Design: Fabian Fenk
Narrator: Julia Govor
Technical Artist & Colour Grading: Dario Birindelli
Supervising Technical Artist: Tobias Götz
Developer & Compositing: Manuel Biedermann
Spatial Sound: Volker Pannes
1st Assistant Director: Serhiy Morgunov
Production Manager: Darya Bassel
Additional Writing: Derek Hardman
BRIDGE TO SOVIETOPIA is produced by kurt mayer film