Cut off by Mountains, Connected by Rivers| 39mins
Director: Tamara Sushko, Rod Morris | Producer: Tamara Sushko, Rod Morris
Focus Years: 2014 | Country: Sweden
Modern life is full of contradictions. Most of us want to live in the modern world with all its technological benefits, but we also want to feel that we are in touch with the planet and our place within it.
However, for most of us, this remains a dream. Unable to make the choices needed to live in harmony with our environment, we walk the same path as everyone else, trying to cope with life's everyday problems.
There is a place that exists where people still appear to have that harmony. I discovered it 30 years ago and have never forgotten it. It's in my dreams but it is a reality.
It's called Tofalaria. It's hard to get to.300 km from the nearest city, it is separated by mountains and the wild forest and surrounded by rivers full of raging rapids.
In the summer, it can only be reached by helicopter, provided the weather is good.
In winter, you can only get there by driving up the frozen river that leads there, but the temperature can reach -45 degrees Celsius, so if your vehicle breaks down, you are in trouble.
It's not on the map, and it's very remote, but this remoteness protects it from the stresses of modern life. It's cut off by the mountains of southern Siberia, not far from the Mongolian people. Tofa is the smallest nation in Russia, with only 500 people, the descendants of Genghis Khan.
The film follows three characters from the same family who are who are living this simple life in extreme conditions:
Marina Chogdu - a tofa, and single mother, born in Tofalaria. She has two jobs, a tiny ancient house and a secret. She is lonely and dreams of having a new house and someone to share it with.
Kolya Chogdu & her son, who is studying in the local city and is torn between Tofa and modern life.
Gena Chogdu & cousin to Kolya, a hunter who has chosen to live in harmony with the simple beauty of life in his motherland. He has also made a choice to be without his family, who also lives in Tofalaria.
The film explores the choices that these people have made to live in Tofalaria, in the extremes of summer and winter, with all the unique problems that this isolation brings.