SOAS University of London

SOAS World Languages Institute

Wild Honey: A Documentary on Music and Language in Russia


Date: 22 February 2020Time: 6:30 PM

Finishes: 22 February 2020Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Djam Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Film Screening

On Saturday 22nd February, we will be screening Farhad Akhmetov's and Ava Porter's 2019 Film 'Wild Honey' in the Djam Lecture Theatre, from 6.30pm-8.30pm. Doors open at 6pm.

Please sign up via Eventbrite.


Guided by folk music, ‘Wild Honey’ presents a rare view of the ethnic communities of five regions of Russia: the Muslim Bashkirs of the Southern Ural Mountains, the Christian Molokans of the Caucasus, the Orthodox Cossacks of the Southern Steppe, the Jewish Ashkenazim and Krymchaks of the Black Sea, and the Shamanistic Teleuts and Telenguits of Central Siberia.

Each region comprises a chapter which, unadulterated by narration or commentary, offers a taste of authentic daily life. While the presented groups differ in location, religion, history, and language, they share a deep connection to music — for all of them, song is an integral part of everyday life, each note a trace of the ancestral past, each beat a conduit to the future. They represent a small cross-section of modern-day Russia, a vast six-million square mile territory inhabited by over 180 different ethnic groups who strive to maintain their ancient languages, religions, and cultural traditions despite environmental, social, and political challenges.

Music is as ancient and universal as speech. A baby’s first exposure to art is the elemental sound of his mother’s heartbeat and, later, her voice as she sings. In ‘Wild Honey’ the seemingly disparate populations that today share a country hold a key, not only to their specific histories or to Russian history, but also to world history. Thus their valuable traditions, as documented in ‘Wild Honey,’ comprise our collective cultural heritage.

Director Bios

Farhad Akhmetov is an interdisciplinary digital media artist who works primarily in film, video, design, and interactive media. Ava Porter is a cross-disciplinary filmmaker, photographer, and installation artist. Akhmetov and Porter have been collaborating since 2012 and formed Fifth Corner Collective in 2018. They have exhibited work nationally and internationally, and have been the recipients of the Fulbright Documentary Fellowship, the Bruce Gellar Memorial WORD Artist Prize, and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Grant. 'Wild Honey' is their feature film debut.



Organiser: SOAS World Languages Institute (SWLI)

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