Arnold van Bruggen

The Sochi Project

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In Krasni Vostok, Karachai Cherkessia - on a journalistic trip for The Sochi Project together with photographer Rob Hornstra Arnold van Bruggen

Arnold van Bruggen (1979) is a writer and filmmaker. With his journalistic production agency Prospektor he has written and filmed numerous stories. In 2001 he published his first major reportage in De Volkskrant newspaper about the presidential elections in Iran. In 2004, the film ‘Amsterdam-Kosovo’, broadcast by IKON, about the dilemmas of humanitarian aid was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Over the last few years Arnold has travelled to many corners of the earth, particularly Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. His written and filmed documentaries have been published in a range of newspapers and magazines and shown at festivals and on television. Arnold believes in the power of a well-told story to connect people with worlds they don’t know themselves; from the Mennonite Church in Amsterdam and the uprising of Georgian prisoners of war on the island of Texel to daily life in the small, unknown country of Abkhazia. His articles reflect his personal engagement in and love for the tragic absurdity of the documentary stories he looks for.

In 2014, the Olympic Games will take place in Sochi, Russia. Never before have the Olympic Games been held in a region that contrasts more strongly with the glamour of the Games than Sochi. Just 20 kilometres away is the conflict zone Abkhazia. To the east the Caucasus Mountains stretch into obscure and impoverished breakaway republics such as Cherkessia, North Ossetia and Chechnya. On the coast old Soviet sanatoria stand shoulder to shoulder with the most expensive hotels and clubs of the Russian Riviera.

Between now and 2014 the area around Sochi will change beyond recognition. The extreme makeover is already underway; refugee flats and poverty-stricken resorts are disappearing at high speed from the partly fashionable, partly impoverished seaside resort of Sochi. Thousands of labourers from across Russia and abroad live in prefab accommodation in order to have the stadiums, hotels and modern infrastructure finished on time. Helicopters fly backwards and forwards with building materials. The economic crisis is glossed over as much as possible.

Photographer Rob Hornstra and writer/filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen plan to document the changes in the area around Sochi over the coming five years. The Sochi Project will be a dynamic mix of documentary photography, film and reportage about a world in flux; a world full of different realities within a small but extraordinary geographic area.

The Sochi Project is a unique, in-depth and as such a costly project. Dutch newspapers and magazines are unable to undertake or afford a project of this scale. We think it is important that independent, documentary journalism continues to exist. That’s why we are doing it ourselves. You can make your own contribution, by becoming a donor of The Sochi Project.

Participant:

Contact information

  • Arnold van Bruggen
  • Witte de Withstraat 32-hs
  • 1057xz
  • Amsterdam
  • NL