The Delta by Vasiliy Sarana

I am a geographer, and I am lucky to live in such a big country like Russia. In spite of urbanization everywhere in the world, there are still many unexplored places that keep pristine wilderness. In the North you can walk hundreds kilometers through the taiga and meet no human. That is why Russia is a paradise for explorers and for wildlife filmmakers. It is usually no  problem to find an interesting topic for a new film. I had been dreaming to make a film about one of the largest rivers in the world which is not subdued by man, River Lena that flows across Siberia.  Together with my friend and producer Riho Vastrik from Estonia we took journey along Lena. It was impossible to relate everything about this huge river in one film. And we decided to make three films – about the source of Lena (near the Lake Baikal); about the middle reaches  and Lena pillars, a natural rock formation along the banks of the Lena River in far eastern Siberia; and the third film, which is presented at your festival, is about Lena delta, unique ecosystem, the largest river delta in the Arctic Region. We started filming in May. At that time ice melting started in the North and we had a chance to see a unique phenomena – ice drift at Lena river. I had never seen ice drift on such a big river before that. It was really impressive. Looking at it was obvious that man is helpless in front of the power of ice. After ice drift we started travelling in the labyrinth of the delta arms and spent there 4 months. There we met the first problem. Although we had maps and satellite images we managed to lose our way in the delta “web”. The relief of the delta is constantly changing. Some dry sections disappear, new islands and water arms appear. But the most difficult thing was a constant strong wind which even pressed down our tents. It was really exhausting to walk, to cook, to film in such conditions. I’ve made about 30 films. One of my best works, I think, is a film “The Return of the Musk Ox”. It is a story about successful experiment to return musk oxen from Canada to their historical homeland, Taimyr peninsula, in the North of Russia. While shooting the film I and my colleague had to stay alone in tundra, above the Arctic Circle, for 9 months per year. This year I am finishing my new project which I began in 2012. This is a film about Plateau Putorana (designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) and about wild wolves of Siberia. At the moment I am fully occupied by this work. Then I am planning to start a film about the culture of Evenk people, indigenous people of Russia and about the beautiful nature that surrounds their settlements. I have been attended Sondrio three times already. I am very sorry that I cannot come this year. The town is very cozy and the landscape around it is amazing.  Here I always feel myself at home. The organizers create very warm atmosphere for all the guests of the Festival. I’d like to say Hi to the festival team and to wish the festival success.

Camilla Martina