The script was written in just a few days by Evgeny Ryabchikov, one of the first Norilsk journalists. Engineer Igor Morel provided administrative and technical functions, journalist Alexey Garry and photographer Victor Glass helped him. The film expedition was surrounded by care and attention, even lighting lamps were made on the spot to replace those that had broken on the road.
The leadership of the Novosibirsk studio was going to make a film about hunters, reindeer herders and polar explorers. The Far North seemed to them a place of wintering geologists and polar stations. But a completely different picture met the guests.
They tried to do the maximum: a mine, a metallurgical plant, a thermal power plant, the House of Engineering and Technical Workers – the famous DITR, a stadium, a scientific library, a printing house, a kindergarten, a state farm… Even the planes that exported the combine’s products. There was not enough film for all applications.
The most difficult thing, as Evgeny Ryabchikov recalled, was to shoot something that was abundant in Norilsk – an ordinary snowstorm:
“The first attempt to shoot a real blizzard was unsuccessful. Snow covered the lens, nothing could be seen behind a thick snow curtain. I had to create an artificial blizzard. A light-winged aircraft PO-2 flew to the city lake. With the help of horses, it was towed to the city center. To do this, roads had to be cleared, railings of bridges – removed.
As soon as the wind died down and the sun came out, we started shooting. The mechanics started the engine, and swift currents of air rushed from the aircraft’s tail. The whirlwinds lifted clouds of snow, rocked the skinny larches and forced people to bend over as if in a blizzard and almost crawl along the crust.
The Norilsk people, accustomed to the polar night, to severe blizzards, watched with displeasure our experiments with the “aircraft blizzard”. To the old polar explorers, it seemed blasphemy. The film workers caricatures, who ‘did not have enough blizzards in the Arctic’ appeared in the newspapers”.
Filming was completed by May 1, 1945, and by the summer the 20-minute film Giant of the Arctic appeared. The first show in Norilsk took place on June 23, on the day of the combine’s tenth anniversary, in the DITR – with a full hall. The picture was shown several times. After that the rest of the country saw Norilsk – a village not yet marked on the map.
In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that the Norilsk people began to monitor the local weather when there was no city yet.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive