Living in Russia has given me the opportunity to begin exploring its hinterlands, and allowed me to independently begin shooting documentary footage about subjects that interest me while also spending time back in the USA. As part of my East-West filmmaking passion, in 2011 I met the California people who are behind the American non-profit group, the Fort Ross Conservancy, Inc. (FRC).
FRC exists, among other reasons, to promote for the benefit of the public the interpretive and educational activities of Fort Ross State Historic Park. Fort Ross, founded in 1812, was a Russian outpost before California became part of the USA. Fort Ross today has also become a platform for US-Russia citizen diplomacy, and FRC promotes projects that celebrates the US-Russia relationship, past and present.
The year 2012 marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of Fort Ross, and a donor made it possible for the well-known Russian wooden architect and builder, Alexander Popov, to create a wooden windmill like the one that used to exist at Fort Ross during the early 19th century. The plan was for Popov to build the windmill at his building compound in the northern Russian town of Kirilov, and then break it down and ship it to Fort Ross in time for a series of events marking the bicentennial celebration.