Synopsis by Andrea LeVasseur
Directed 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.
country-music, music-industry, Russian [nationality], teenagers, immigrant