A Russian Fairytale

The harsh realities of growing up homeless in Siberia

A Russian Fairytale Following the break up of the Soviet union, a gang of children from broken homes made a new life together inside the derelict buildings of a once secret weapons manufacturing city. In their childhood innocence, they thought they were living a fairytale dream of freedom, but with starvation and sub zero temperatures crippling their health, reality soon hit home. Despite their efforts to care for one another, three members of their group died. For the survivors: they must try against hopeless odds to turn their lives around.


The Producers

Jake Mobbs was born in 1983 in Colchester, England. He graduated with a Film and TV degree from Bournemouth University, with a exchange program at Ryerson Film School in Toronto. He has been editing and occasionally directing brand-funded content, music videos and documentaries ever since. With a keen interest in social stories and a lucky introduction into the dark underworld of Russian street kids, “A Russian Fairytale” became his feature documentary debut.

Originally from Munich, Germany Nicolas Doldinger is a New York based Director and Cinematographer. He graduated from Bournemouth University, UK as well as Ryerson University, Toronto with first-class honours and has since specialised in creating high-end documentary, branded-content and commercials. His previous work includes "Chasing Madoff", "We Are Together" and "The Billion Dollar Car", with "A Russian Fairytale" being his documentary-feature directing debut.

Making The Film

A Russian Fairytale was filmed in Perm, a city of approximately 1 million people, situated on the border of Siberia in the Urals. It follows the extraordinary lives of homeless teenagers who came together as children after running away from their homes during and after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Their stories are harrowing but their outlook on life is largely positive.

The actual making of the film was extremely difficult. Jake Mobbs took Russian lessons to get a head start and that was the easy bit. Fundraising was difficult, as first time filmmakers with no guarantee of coming back with any usable footage. The subject matter was extremely unpredictable - street children, with no reliable communication, and no permanent address. It was picked up and dropped by a number of producers. It was too much of a gamble whether we get anything at all. Determination saw us through and Jake Mobbs and Nicolas Doldinger flew out to Russia with their fingers crossed.

Upon arriving, the temperatures dropped to -36°c. The equipment quickly shut down as the batteries couldn’t cope. The police were a constant threat so we kept things low-key but this didn’t stop us getting our footage confiscated at one point. Also, the conditions of the kids living, the drug use and contagious diseases like tuberculosis added an extra level of concern.

After pulling off 30 days of filming in the winter and another month in the summer, we had 40 hours of footage in Russian to translate. It was spoken in a street language with a strong mix of slang which made it much harder to work with. It took a long time to find someone to sit down and get through it all. Upon completion it won numerous festival awards but went through a number of edits before being ready for the public to see. The film is dedicated to all the lives lived and lost on the streets of Russia - hopefully never forgotten.

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