The Ballad of Bering Strait (2003)
Movie InfoDirected by Nina Gilden Seavey, The Ballad of Bering Strait is a documentary about a group of Russian teenagers who move to Nashville to make it big as country stars. The band Bering Strait started in Obninsk, Russia, after a music teacher had introduced his students to bluegrass. In 1992, the lead guitarist, Ilya Toshinsky, visited the Tennessee Banjo Institute, and a year later the band moved to Oak Ridge, TN, on an exchange program. In 1999, they signed with Arista records and began recording an album with producer Brent Maher and manager Mike Kinnamon. In the film, the six-piece band wades through the music-industry hassles of switching labels, losing contracts, and major debt as well as the immigration problems of language barriers, visa restrictions, and homesickness. Eventually they end up signing with a different label, recording an album, and going on tour. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Ballad of Bering Strait
It isn't wildly imaginative, but its subjects are novel enough in their own right.
The documentary never gets more than skin deep.
It's a coming-out party of a project that is never less than engaging.
While the film frequently concentrates on the wrong story, the humanity of the musicians comes through in their own words and actions.
What makes the story worthwhile is the candor and personality of the band members.
This competently made picture seems a rehash, and not a terribly interesting one.
As one listener who calls in after a radio test play hilariously puts it, 'They sound like Yankees.' Of course, looked at another way, could the end of the Cold War have resulted in anything more cross-culturally beguiling?
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