- Visual Arts
A few years ago I came upon a small news item in a paper. The article reported on the worlds longest trolley bus line in operation today, the #52 bus in the Ukrainian Crimea. I clipped the article and, as time passed, my mind regularly returned to this far flung destination on the famed russian Black Sea. In 2011, dreams met reality and I decided to go investigate for myself.
With the support of the Ukrainian Film Comission I found a local Producer and secured the enthusiastic support of the Krymm-Trolleybus institution to do a documentary film.
What I found was a anachronistic institution that somehow managed to survive the vast political and social currents of the regions last 50 years. Although underfunded and working with long since outdated equipment, the dedicated employees of Krymtrolleybus department have managed to keep the buses running.
I interviewed employees young and old, spent time in the various departments, observed, listened and tried to understand the colorful history and intricate mechanics of a complex operation on the brink of extinction.
What emereged was the fascinating, moving and historically significant portrait of an institution built in the mold of the original socialist spirit. A massive public works project of giant proportions built for the people by the people.
All of the people I interviewed, humble and slightly surprised at my interest, invited me into their homes or workplaces, shared their stories and generously answered my questions accompanied by thoughtfull sighs, sad smiles and sometimes roaring laughter.
In the spirit of the great collector of oral histories Stud Terkle, I saw the unique chance to record the personal histories of mostly common people, who lived and worked through one of the most tumultous periods of modern time. Some of the subjects interviewed have been with the bus company since it started operation in 1961. They are well into their 80's and with them, their stories will dissapear.
On my initial trip I spent 2 weeks in the Crimea. With the help of your donation I will spend an additional 3-4 weeks in the Ukraine and finish principal photography on the project. A crew of two people (additional camera, sound/DIT) will travel from the states. On location I will hire my trusted local producer Leonid and translator Olina. I will also travel to the film archives of Kiev and Moskau to obtain relevant news reel material. Any funds aquired above my minimal goal will be allocated toward initiating post production.
Please visit http://www.52thetrolleybus.com for the complete trailer, credits, location photos and more.