Centre for Doctoral Training in Russian, Slavonic & East European languages and culture


State Film Archive of the Russian Federation

Location and Contact Details

Address: Moskovskaia oblastʹ, g. Domodedovo, mkr-r. Belye Stolby See below for travel details.
Web: www.gosfilmofond.ru

To enter the archive e-mail or phone Oleg Mikhailovich Bochkov (Nachalʹnik mezhdunarodnykh sviazei) using the contact details below. Contact Mr. Bochkov at least two months before your trip.

Email: gff@t50.ru
Phone: (495)276-33-88 or (495)996-05-20
Archive director: Nikolai Mikhailovich Borodachev

Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday: 0900-1730
Friday: 0900-the time a phone call is made to inform staff that they may depart. This call may be received as early as 1pm. 

Travelling to the Archive from the City Centre

First, find out when your desired elektrichka train departs by consulting the timetable for travel from Moskva Paveletskaia to Belye stolby: http://www.tutu.ru/station.php?nnst=85011.

Your journey will start at Paveletskii vokzal, the train station near metro stop Paveletskaia. Find the Prigorodnaia kassa where tickets for your journey can be bought from a counter or from the ticket machines. (Hint: go for the latter option. While the machines do not accept student discount cards, queues for counter service will steal up to an hour of your life that can never be reclaimed). Buy a one-way ticket to Belye stolby. Leave the kassa, go past the security guards with the Alsatians, and head to the appropriate platform; a departures board with all the necessary information should be hanging behind the ticket readers that grant access to the platforms. When boarding the elektrichka, choose one of the middle carriages, as the platform at Belye Stolby is shorter than the length of the train. From Paveletskii vokzal you will take a train to either Ozherelʹe or Mikhnevo, depending on the time you are travelling; Belye stolby is one of the stops on the way to these destinations. The journey should take about an hour, but can be delayed.

After arriving at Belye stolby

 Exit the station down steps by the main kassa building (take care: the steps and the handrail are broken and in winter the construction strongly resembles a ski-run). At the bottom of the steps you will find a group of Lada taxi drivers who will take you to 'sam Gosfilʹmofond' for no more than 100 roubles. Confirm the cost of the journey before getting into the car, and make sure you have change. Alternatively, walking to the archive takes around twenty-five minutes (snow permitting). Once you have come down the steps from the elektrichka platform, walk straight across the road using the zebra crossing: you will see a shop and a small kiosk in front of you. Keeping the shop and the kiosk on your left, walk straight ahead and use the next zebra crossing (about ten metres down the road) to cross over to the right hand side of the road (the footpath shortly runs out on the left). Walk down this road for its entire length: on your journey you will see a pylon on your left and a gated area with lots of bricks on your right (Belye stolby's cultural highlights), until you arrive at a small car park on a bend in the road with lots of trees straight ahead. To the left of these trees is a path, the left hand side of which is also lined with a single row of trees. Go up this path (it is slightly uphill), and follow it until the very end: you will pass a produkty store, a children's playground, a government building and, finally, a large field with goal posts and outdoor sports equipment. The road has now come to an end. Turn right and a large metal sign overhead will reveal the magic word 'Gosfilʹmofond'. Walk to the end of this road and enter the wooden hut, where a lovely lady with glasses and a solid bun will be waiting to meet you. This walk is, in reality, very straightforward. Do not, however, try to use Google street view to find Gosfilʹmofond. At the time of writing the photographs were extremely inaccurate.

Returning to Moscow from Belye stolby

If you decide to return to Belye stolby's elektrichka station by taxi, either confirm a return journey with your driver in the morning, or ask one of the ladies who works in the reading room for a local taxi number. Book a taxi at least one hour in advance of your desired departure time. Alternatively, a staff bus takes Gosfilʹmofond's employees to Domodedovo station at the end of each day; ask if you can go with them and be dropped off at Belye stolby station. Do not travel all the way to Domodedovo! The centre of Domodedovo is a very long way away from both the airport and the metro stop Domodedovskaia. At the elektrichka station at Belye stolby ask for one ticket to Moskva Paveletskaia. Cross the bridge; trains to Moscow go from either one of these two platforms. If you want to shave about fifteen minutes of your train journey, save yourself thirty roubles, and demonstrate your bravery, you can travel to Belye stolby from the elektrichka station Kolomenskoe, near metro station Varshavskaia (NOT metro station Kolomenskaia as you might expect). This route also avoids the rush hour crush on the circle line.

How to Order Material

Before visiting Gosfilʹmofond, e-mail Mr Bochkov a comprehensive list of all the films that you would like to research, including their basic credits (name, release date, director's name, and, ideally, studio). The archive holds a file for each film and, if you send this list in advance, a pile of materials should, in theory, be awaiting you upon arrival. The content of these files varies greatly, containing anything, everything, and, on occasion, absolutely nothing related to the film in question. Documents that you might expect to find in these files include press reviews, advertising materials, montazhnye listy, musical scores, production stills, intertitle lists, librettos, etc. No limit is imposed on the number of files you can consult at any one time, although building yourself a fort to hide behind when research gets tough is frowned upon. When consulting these files you will be working at a desk in the Arkhiv otdel khraneniia with three ladies who take their chaepitie, enjoyed promptly at 1000 and 1600 every day, very seriously. It is worth taking something to contribute to this ritual: biscuits, zefiry, and dried fruits, ideally presented in a pretty basket, all go down well. Afternoon chaepitie often lasts for the rest of the working day, so, if you're feeling foolhardy and wish to work for the final hour, ask to enjoy your tea at your desk. This request will not be tolerated in the morning. Avoid requesting new files within half an hour of chaepitie, lunch, or the end of the day; you will be told to relax and ignored. If you want to view films in Gosfilʹmofond, either as well as or instead of paper documents, e-mail Mr Bochkov a detailed list at least a month before your arrival. If you wish to alter your order once you have started work in the archive, allow two days for these changes to be implemented. To watch films you will be taken to one of several small rooms containing a montazhnyi stol, where a lady called Olʹia will show you how the equipment works. Once you have mastered the table, reel changing, and the sometimes surprisingly difficult task of opening the film canisters, you will be left alone to view the material at your own pace. Take care not to snap the film, but, if you do, inform Olʹia immediately. Water can be taken into the viewing rooms, but do not leave the bottle on or near any of the equipment or film reels. Using the montazhnyi stol and a laptop simultaneously is tricky, so we recommend taking notes the old-fashioned way.

Reading Room Practices, General Hints and Tips

At the time of writing Belye stolby does not have a place to top-up your phone or Wi-Fi. Gosfilʹmofond has recently installed a bankomat, but it is frequently out of order, charges a hefty fee, and often rejects foreign cards for no apparent reason. All payments at Gosfilʹmofond are made in roubles, although fees will always be quoted in euros and/or US dollars. Make sure that you are completely prepared financially before travelling. If you do not want to commute to and from Moscow every day, you can arrange to stay in Gosfilʹmofond's very own pansionat, where you will receive a twin-room with an en-suite, a fridge, and a kettle. You are charged for the room on a nightly basis, but will only be presented with the bill on the final morning of your stay. Confirm the cost of the room with Mr Bochkov before travelling, as this price fluctuates wildly and payment is cash only. Do not stay in Belye Stolby at weekends when the archive is closed; we weren't joking about the pylon and the pile of bricks. While Gosfilʹmofond does not charge researchers to consult paper-based sources, a day on the viewing table costs, at the time of writing, $US 100 (to be paid in roubles. Bear the early Friday closing time in mind when booking a day on the montazhnyi stol. Both paper documents and any length of film-reels (from stills to the film in its entirety) can be copied, but this process is incredibly slow and expensive. The Arkhiv Otdel khraneniia can be an incredibly noisy place to work; headphones to drown out conversations about marital issues and dinner plans are essential for most. In winter it is a good idea to bring a change of shoes for indoors. Laptops are welcome and the reading room has a power socket. Occasionally, however, when the archive is trying to economise, you will not be allowed to plug your laptop in. The room closes for lunch between 1300-1400. You are expected to pack up fifteen minutes earlier and return to work fifteen minutes later than these times. The archive has an excellent and very cheap stolovaia and bufet, with the latter boasting a television set that nearly exclusively plays Kanikuly v Meksike. Hint: when telling Muscovites that you are visiting Belye Stolby, clarify that you are heading to the film archive. In Moscow, this mikroraion is known only for its psychiatric facilities and, if not informed otherwise, your non-film-scholar friends will reward your Belye stolby travel plans with either extreme concern or uncontrollable laughter.

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