“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

The popularity of film tourism – traveling to filming locations – is gaining momentum. Many decorations are no longer dismantled as before, but are “preserved” and opened to visitors. To see popular movies from the other side of the screen and get a new viewing experience, you can add one of these locations to your travels.

“Slave”, Pskov region

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

The film about the re-education of the major Grisha has held the status of the highest-grossing Russian film for three years now. The main character is deceived and allegedly sent into the past, where he turns into a powerless peasant surviving on a manorial estate. In fact, the 19th century village is a dummy, everyday objects are props, and Grisha is surrounded by actors.

The filmmakers were unable to find a suitable authentic character, so they decided to use the set of the Gogol project, which is located in the wilderness, where there is not even a cellular connection. The area of ​​the existing scenery had to be doubled, including the construction of a spectacular mill on the banks of Soroti, where the headquarters for monitoring the main character was located.

How to get there: by train or regular bus to Pskov, then by bus or car to the village of Pushkinskie Gory, and from there by car or taxi to the village Posadnikovo. From it there are still about 2.5 kilometers to the Loskovsky tract. It is better to travel by car in dry weather: the road to Posadnikovo is full of potholes, and the last section is a path in the forest. 

Where to stay: Hotel “Pokrovsky” – the cost of accommodation for the night starts from 5,500 rubles*.

“Vampires of the middle zone”, Smolensk

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

The series about an ancient vampire family that has to adapt to life in the 21st century was warmly received by the public. A significant part of the success is the vivid images of the main characters living in Smolensk.

The creators of the series chose this city not by chance. Over the centuries, it has repeatedly served as Russia’s “shield” in historical battles. Due to this, flashbacks to the characters’ past look organic. For example, the filming of the episode of the wounding of the vampire investigator Anna during a street battle during the Great Patriotic War took place in the Ofitserskaya Sloboda. The area with old wooden barracks is located between the fortress wall and the Devil’s Ravine in the city center.

In general plans and panoramas taken from a bird’s eye view, many recognizable objects of Smolensk are visible: the Assumption Cathedral, towers and walls of the Kremlin, a church, central streets with historical buildings.

How to get: to Smolensk by night train or “Swallow”, which takes only 4 hours. The main attractions of the city can be explored on foot along a circular route. 

Where to stay: Bridge Hotel, prices for one night start from 2,700 rubles*.

“Zuleikha opens her eyes”, Tatarstan

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

The film adaptation of Guzel Yakhina’s bestselling book was remembered by many viewers for its panoramic shots of the water surface and dense wild forests. According to the plot, the repressed intelligentsia and dispossessed peasants were exiled to the wild shores of the Siberian Angara. At the cost of many lives, they managed to improve their lives and build the working village of Semruk.

The main set especially for filming the film was built on the site of an old quarry on the banks of the Kama River at its confluence with the Volga. The widest section of the river is captured in the frame, so in bad weather it looks endless and harsh.

The cinema village consists of several wooden buildings covered with propaganda posters and signs; today they are locked. The most recognizable object is the entrance gate with a red star and the inscription “Semruk”. To create the effect of several streets, the cameramen “multiplied” the buildings, filming them from different angles, and installed facades made of plywood panels along the forest.

A walk around the site will take only 15 minutes, but in good weather it’s worth stopping here to look at the majestic Kama from the cliff and take a swim.

How to get there: by plane or train to Kazan, and from there by car to the Semruk facility, focusing on the city of Laishevo.

Where to stay: apart-hotel “Berison Mayakovsky”, nightly rates start from 4,000 rubles*.

“Topi”, Brest

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

Five Muscovites try to escape from their problems to a forgotten village, but find themselves in a strange place in which there is no clear boundary between sleep and reality. Getting out of there is not an easy task. According to the plot, this mysterious territory is located in the Arkhangelsk region, but the filmmakers found the atmosphere of the Russian north in Belarus. The Spas-Prognanye Monastery, one of the key locations of the series, was filmed on the territory of the Fifth Fort of the Brest Fortress. The fortification was built in the 1880s and played an important role in the hostilities in 1941.

The interiors of the temple were filmed on the ground floor and in the underground casemates of the fortification, and the bell tower was added using special effects. These locations were so consistent with the image of a deserted and abandoned monastery that the decorators almost didn’t have to change or add to them.

However, these places have a different mood today. Already during filming, restoration of the fortress began. After its completion, a museum was opened in the fort premises.

How to get there: by plane to Minsk, and from there by train, bus or car to Brest. On the territory of the Brest Fortress, follow the sign for the Fifth Fort, it is located approximately 3.5 km from the core of the memorial complex.

Where to stay: Hampton by Hilton Brest hotel, the cost of overnight accommodation is 4,100 rubles*.

“Leviathan”, Murmansk region

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

After the release of the film “Leviathan,” tourist interest in the village of Teriberka on the shores of the Barents Sea grew so much that restaurants, hotels and campsites were opened in the previously remote village. Every year, about 40 thousand travelers come here, who strive to see not only the aurora and northern nature, but also the filming locations of the film, which received international awards and was included in the rating of the best films of the decade according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The man-made scenery has not been preserved, with the exception of the metal skeleton of a whale – one of the recognizable images of the film. After filming was completed, it was kept by an unnamed businessman and recently returned to Teriberka. Other attractions include the Batarei Falls cascading into the Barents Sea, Dragon Beach with its perfectly polished stones, and a graveyard of wooden ships.

In July, the village hosts the annual Arctic festival “Teriberka”, in 2022 it was visited by 11 thousand people.

How to get there: by plane to Murmansk, and from there by bus, car or taxi to Teriberka. The last 40 kilometers of the route is a dirt road, so in bad weather conditions it is better to go by SUV or as part of an excursion group.

Where to stay: Teriberka Tour camping, the cost of one night starts from 3,200 rubles*.

“Icebreaker”, Murmansk region

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

There are other film locations on the Kola Peninsula. One of the main attractions of Murmansk – the world’s first nuclear-powered surface vessel “Lenin” – became the set of the disaster film “Icebreaker”. The plot of the film is based on real events. In 1985, the ship Mikhail Somov got stuck in heavy ice near Antarctica. The crew spent about a month in ice captivity, and the ship was rescued only after 133 days. Dramatic twists and colorful characters were added to the film script, and the ship was renamed “Mikhail Gromov”.

Today, the nuclear icebreaker “Lenin” is the only cultural heritage site of federal significance in Murmansk. The Arctic Exhibition Center is organized on board, which can be visited by sessions or by pre-registration for an excursion for groups. Participants can see the cabins, wheelhouse, laboratory, engine room, reactor and other compartments of the ship. The history of scientific and technological progress in ice navigation is presented at the multimedia interactive exhibition “Atom and the Arctic”.

How to get there: by plane to Murmansk, and then by taxi to the icebreaker.

Where to stay: hotel “Azimut Hotel Murmansk”, the cost of daily accommodation is 6,700 rubles*.

“Lighthouse Keeper”, Rostov region

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

Memorable scenes of the series about the work of German spies and Russian counterintelligence in Crimea were actually filmed on the shores of Taganrog Bay in the village of Merzhanovo. The specially built scenery with a functioning plasterboard lighthouse became a popular point on the route around the Rostov region. The design has repeatedly been included in selections of the most beautiful lighthouses in Russia. 

The scenery recently became part of the Oxyland park. On its territory you can wander through the hills and admire the bay while sitting on a swing hovering over the cliff.

How to get there: by train to Taganrog, and then by train, bus or car to the village of Merzhanovo.

Where to stay: mini-hotel “Ida”, the cost of accommodation per night is 3,500 rubles*.

“The geographer drank his globe away,” Perm

“Camera, motor!”: where box-office Russian films and TV series were filmed

The drama with Konstantin Khabensky about the difficult relationship of a school teacher with students, family and his own self takes place in the Urals. To see the same Perm from the film, you just need to leave the center for residential areas. In order for the city to reflect the mood of the main character, the film crew chose locations among the gray “panels” and courtyards of the Starye Vodniki microdistrict. 

In some episodes, a design made of red letters “Happiness is just around the corner” appears on the pier of the River Station. This art object, created by artist Boris Matrosov in 2009, has become a signature landmark of Perm. The pier is currently undergoing reconstruction and will reopen at the end of 2022.

The climactic scenes of the campaign were filmed on the Usva River. The frame included the endless taiga expanses and the recognizable stone massif of the Usva pillars. Today, several travel agencies organize themed rafting trips along film locations.

How to get there: by plane to Perm, and then by bus or taxi to the art object.

Where to stay: Hotel Holiday Inn Perm, nightly rates start from 5,400 rubles*.

*Prices valid at time of publication.

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