HOW BIG IS THE GALAXY?
RUSSIA 72 MIN, 2018
The Zharkov family—father, mother and two young sons—belong to the Dolgan community, one of the last indigenous peoples pursuing their traditional nomadic life in the extreme north of Siberia. The children used to be sent to boarding school, where they became estranged from their family and culture, but nowadays they can get homeschooling from teachers assigned to them by the Russian authorities.
Seven-year-old Zakhar and his older brother Prokopy are the protagonists in this calm, observational film. Zakhar’s first year of schooling is with Nelly, a young but serious teacher. She tells him about President Putin and the importance of mathematics, and he learns classical poems by heart. Zakhar is an inquisitive and intelligent boy. Each day, he has a hundred new questions about the world, and he's surprised to discover that his teacher doesn’t have all the answers. These scenes take place against a backdrop of the vast, snow-covered tundra and observations of the Dolgans’ everyday activities—herding reindeer and fishing are their principal livelihoods.
Born in Moscow in 1981, Ksenia has been a professional editor of documentaries, TV programs, commercials and other video productions since 2000. She also works as a film director and DoP. In 2010 she graduated from Moscow’s School of Documentary Film and Theater of Marina Razbezhkina and Mikhail Ugarov as a documentary director. Her debut mid-length documentary Uncle Vova premiered at Russia’s most important documentary festival Artdocfest in 2010. As a DoP she also participated in such internationally recognized projects as The Term (2014, premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival; Amnesty International Award at WatchDocs in Warsaw) and My Friend Boris Nemtsov (2016, Best Documentary at the Krakow Film Festival). How Big is the Galaxy? is Ksenia’s full-length documentary debut.
- IDFA 2018
DOKer 2019 — Main Competition