Field Trip Moscow, Krasnogorsk and Karelia, July 2019

Ekaterina Knoblauch

During July and August 2019, I made a trip to Russia to find the materials on amateur filmmaking in the Soviet Union. For this, I spent some time in the Russian State library where I found a lot of books on the topic as well as some official documentation concerning amateur filmmaking production. I also managed to visit Russian State Documentary Film and Photo Archive in Krasnogorsk (Moscow Region). Among official documentary film reels I discovered some examples of amateur films produced by amateur filmmakers at amateur state film studios. Moreover, during my stay in Moscow, I contacted former representatives involved in amateur filmmaking sponsored by the state during the last decades of the Soviet Union. With their help I could access a big repository that kept amateur films produced in different corners of the former Soviet Union such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tomsk, Saratov, Krasnodar, Kharkov, Odessa, Tbilisi, Yerevan, and Tashkent. Searching for amateur filmmakers brought me to the Republic of Karelia. There I met two amateur filmmakers for the interviews.

Boris Fofanov was a former amateur filmmaker. He worked in the administrative centre of Pudozh. Fofanov was head of the amateur film studio located at the orphanage in Pudozh. Together with the orphans, he made films about the village he came from. In Petrozavodsk, I interviewed Boris Boytsov, another amateur filmmaker active in the 70s – 80s. He worked at the studio that belonged to the local institution “Karelgrazhdanproekt”. With the team of other amateur filmmakers and enthusiasts, Boytsov shot films about the national heritage of the Republic of Karelia. Nowadays, Boytsov writes his memoirs, a big part of which will be devoted to his experience of being the amateur filmmaker in the Soviet Union.

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