Journeys Beyond the Cosmodrome

Jeanne C. Finley

2019 | 00:53:25 | Kazakhstan / United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Activism, Documentary, Social Justice, Youth/Childhood

On the vast Kazakhstan Steppes, nine 16-year-olds prepare to graduate from the Akkol orphanage. Rockets launched overhead from the nearby Cosmodrome inspire their dreams as they write about and perform their imagined future-selves. Guided by the nomadic spirit and natural beauty of the Steppes, the teens explore questions of time and truth in relation to the challenging reality of their lives. Traditional Kazakh culture, global iconography, and space travel are infused throughout their performances and imaginatively used as protective talismans on their journey into an uncertain adulthood.

Journeys Beyond the Cosmodrome is an expanded film project including photographs, video, and stories created with teenagers aging out of Kazakhstan’s Akkol Bolshoi orphanage into challenging futures. Over two summers, sixteen teenagers participated in writing, video and photographic workshops led by Lydia Matthews, Lyazzat Khanim and Jeanne C. Finley. After viewing scientific and fictional films on space travel, the students playfully performed their own versions of these stories with simple objects found at the orphanage.

Directed by Jeanne C. Finley in collaboration with Lyazzat Khanim. Music composed and performed by Kri Schlafer, Sound Design: Jim Mckee, On-line editor: Paul Hill.

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Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Berkeley, CA