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Alexander Chekmenev




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        At the Old village of the Rokytne district, Rivne province we ended up with the film crew of the Inspiration Films. Movie "At The Swamps" was shot during the year of 2003, director Maxim Surkov. During August-September season villagers pack week worth of provisions and move to live on the swamps in the forest. Every home bakes homemade bread, backpacks get packed with grain and canned food, lots of drinking water. Early in the morning everyone gets on old Ural motorcycles. The road is long and difficult, going through 60km of woods and swampy land. The camp is set up in the forest, where everyone builds rough huts from available materials, and only the filming crew pitches a camping tent. At dawn stream of people with baskets and bags will head to the swamps. They have to walk up to 10 kilometers in search of the sacred spot. Cranberry harvest is not the easiest occupation bent in half, standing on their knees this is how harvesters spend their day. In the evening, forming the same line and keeping in step, like ants coming back to the anthill, they hurry back to the camp to sort the cranberries and cook dinner. At night, its talks and songs by the fire. Early next morning everything repeats again, where nearly a hundred of people leave the camp in the matter of 10 or 15 minutes. A whole week passes like this, until a new shift arrives. Connection with the mainland is maintained by a few brave souls on motorcycles. A trip back to the village takes them half a day. There they can refill food provisions. But if the water runs out, its taken from a spring or at the swamp on location. The moss is simply dug out to get to the drinking water.
        At home the berry is laid out in basements and taken care of as if was small child, since its the main income for many locals. In the winter some lucky entrepreneurs sell the berry wholesale to different restaurants, but most sell it at subway metro stations by small portions of little jars or cups.

Alexander Chekmenev