Seven-year-old Zakhar lives in the remote north of Siberia. This year, a teacher is moving in with his family to homeschool him. An observational film against a backdrop of the vast, snow covered tundra.

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 the backdrop of the vast, snow-covered tundra and observations of the Dolgans’ everyday activities—herding reindeer and fishing are their principal livelihoods.

Feature Documentary / Human Interest
Length 72’/52’ HD
Film by Ksenia Elyan
Co-production Black and White Cinema with Marx Film and Current Time TV, 2018
Original Title How Big Is the Galaxy

Festivals and awards
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Netherlands 2018
DocPoint Tallinn, Estonia 2019
Millennium Festival, Belgium 2019
goEast – Festival of Central- and Eastern European Film, Germany 2019
Moscow International Documentary Film Festival DOKer, Russian Federation 2019 (Best Feature Documentary)
TRT Documentary Awards, Turkey 2019
DOK.fest Munich, Germany 2019
Zlin Film Festival – International Film Festival for Children and Youth, Czech Republic 2019 (Winner: Competition of European Documentary Films for Children and Youth)
Documentarist Istanbul Film Festival, Turkey 2019
Pärnu Film Festival, Estonia 2019 (Best Documentary on the Survival of Indigenous People)
Ice Docs, Iceland 2019
Flahertiana International Documentary Festival, Russian Federation 2019 (Grand Prix for the Best Film of the Festival)
Barents Ecology Film Festival, Russia / Finland (2019) (Best Debut)
Message to Man International Film Festival, Russia 2019 (Best National Documentary and Alexander Rastorguev Special Award)
DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, South Korea (2019)
Nordkapp Filmfestival, Norway 2019
Verzio Documentary Film Festival, Hungary 2019
Regards de Russe: Semaine du cinema Russe, France 2019
Festival du cinema Russe, France 2019
Fiorenzo Serra Film Festival, Italy 2019
CineMaTerre, France 2019 (Best Debut)
Sputnik Over Poland Film Festival, Poland 2019
European Children’s Film Association (EFCA) Awards 2020 – EFCA’S Best European Documentary
Yakutsk International Film Festival 2020, Russia 2020
Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Taiwan 2020