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The Ballad of Bering Strait (2003)

"The Ballad of Bering Strait" is a cinema-verite film following seven Russian teenagers who have come to America to become country music stars. Principle photography began in July 1999 when... See full summary »


Nina Gilden Seavey
1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Alexei Arzamastsev Alexei Arzamastsev ... Bering Strait - Drums (as Alexander Arzamastsev)
Natasha Borzilova Natasha Borzilova ... Bering Strait - Lead Vocals
Andrei Missikhin Andrei Missikhin ... Bering Strait - Bass (as Andrei Misikhin)
Sergei 'Spooky' Olkhovsky Sergei 'Spooky' Olkhovsky ... Bering Strait - Bass
Alexander Ostrovsky Alexander Ostrovsky ... Bering Strait - Steel Guitar (as Alexander 'Sasha' Ostrovsky)
Sergei Pasov Sergei Pasov ... Bering Strait - Fiddle (as Sergei Passov)
Lidia Salnikova Lidia Salnikova ... Bering Strait - Keyboard (as Lydia Salnikova)
Ilya Toshinsky Ilya Toshinsky ... Bering Strait - Banjo
Mike Kinnamon Mike Kinnamon ... Personal Manager
Brent Maher Brent Maher ... Record Producer
Tim DuBois Tim DuBois ... President, Arista-Nashville
Ray Johnson Ray Johnson ... Art Dealer
Valery Salnikov Valery Salnikov ... Lydia's Father
Phil O'Donnell Phil O'Donnell


"The Ballad of Bering Strait" is a cinema-verite film following seven Russian teenagers who have come to America to become country music stars. Principle photography began in July 1999 when the band, Bering Strait, entered the United States and began recording their first album in Nashville. The film documents the band responding to the twists and turns of the recording industry, rehearsing for their tour, preparing for their debut concert at the Grand Ole Opry, charting the course for their career with their managers, and living every-day life on the farm where they reside in rural Tennessee. The crew traveled with the band to their homes in Obninsk, Russia and to their music conservatories in Moscow, documenting how these two girls and five boys became so adept at playing American country music. The film culminates with the band's arrival on the U.S. stage at Wolf Trap National Park. "The Ballad of Bering Strait" is a two and a half year epic that follows Bering Strait's amazing ... Written by Emerging Pictures web-site

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music




Official Sites:

US Distributor's site


USA | Japan



Release Date:

19 February 2003 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Moscow, Russia See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,232, 23 February 2003

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

The "Strait" Stuff
10 January 2008 | by virek213See all my reviews

Most American country music bands and groups find it difficult to break through the glass ceiling that is the Nashville recording industry. But it's infinitely harder for a band that comes from a country where English isn't exactly a prominent language--especially when that country is one that America had missiles pointed at for forty years. This is the saga told here in THE BALLAD OF BERING STRAIT.

The film tells us of the long four-year struggle of Bering Strait, a sextet of young Russian musicians with a passion for American bluegrass and contemporary country music who kept tenaciously struggling to break into the American market. And as talented as all of them were, particularly co-lead vocalist Natasha Borzilova, banjo player Ilya Toshinsky, and steel player Sasha Ostrovsky, the very fact that they were Russian meant that there was no way people weren't going to see them as something of a novelty. But a look into their background, conducted by director Nina Gilden Seavey, and their musicianship showed that they could craft their material into something unique and fresh. At the end, they do indeed make a major-league debut in 2002 at Wolftrap, outside of Washington D.C., as the opening act for Trisha Yearwood.

THE BALLAD OF BERING STRAIT goes into great depth into how the Nashville music and radio machinery operates, and how this band, as talented as they are, can find themselves pushing up against not only a glass ceiling, but really a stone wall. It was a near-impossible thing, with the record companies they were signed to being consolidated, their Nashville apartment going up in flames, and much, much more. But in the end, they persevered, and went on to make two albums as a band. And while they did split up in 2006, they still managed to break through to a dedicated cult following. This film shows how it all happened, and is a marvelous demonstration of tenacious and young country musicians from another part of the world somehow being able to make an impact in America.

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