Distant Neighbors

(1988) Two 30-minute documentaries about everyday life in the Soviet Union. Broadcast by Consider the Alternatives and Radio for Peace International.

Claire Schoen: Producer/director, writer, sound recordist/editor
Fine Line Productions: Executive Producer

Program Summary: Distant Neighbors offers a rare glimpse into the lives of Soviet citizens. Andrei is a free-lance journalist and radio D.J. Anya is a psychologist who researches Soviet hippies. Yul is an independent artist who earns his living as a furnace stoker. Traveling as a “citizen diplomat,” journalist Claire Schoen met these and other individuals in Moscow, Leningrad and Tbilisi. Discussions usually took place around a kitchen table and often lasted late into the night. The topic of conversation was everyday life; housing conditions, childcare, availability of goods, access to jobs, hopes for the future. While the superpowers face off in military saber rattling, the people of our two nations can come to know each other not as enemies but as fellow human beings.

photo by Jan Sturmann