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Bidding farewell to documentary maker Vadim Burtsev – friends and colleagues mourn


“LenDok” has bid farewell to documentary maker Vadim Burtsev. He had worked at the studio for almost half a century.


Graduate of journalism faculty at Leningrad University, Vadim Semyonovich filmed, directed, wrote and produced dozens of films.

Friends of Vadim Burtsev gathered at the grand hall of “LenDok” to mourn the loss. His faces turned towards his photographs, sliding on the screen. Its not just saying farewell to a friend, but also about the sadness for those times – depicted on these shots, compiled into a personal archive, are their lives, work and souls. At least the part of it which united them – people of different creative professions – and was felt here even during bitter moments/

Valeriy Plotnikov, photographer: “We had a fantastic studio, absolutely phenomenal people. Great concentration of them. Unfortunately, many are both passed away and not present here. But many people have come bid farewell to him – meaning he meant a lot to them, as he did to me. I think the memory of him will live. And he will continue living as long as we will remember him”

Vadim Burtsve has filmed several wonderful films at “LenDok”. The most famous – “Coach”, about the great football coach German Zonin. Another one – “Sails take the wind”, filmed in 1982 – telling the story of everyday life of student sailors at “Sedov” ship. Alongside young sailors, the documentary maker climbed atop the mast and filmed the life and the nature, through full panoramas of the horizon line. 

Sergey Gelver, archivist at Leningrad studio of documentary films: “A film always captures more than authors want. Certainly, Vadim Semyonovich had a taste to what was going on in this very minute, which would be gone in a minute – and that’s why it had to stay on film”

Much of what was said here today would seem like the property of the Lenigrad studio of documentary films. The place of legends, fading away fast. For instance – uniting personal and professional qualities into one solid bundle of creativity. The legendary movie cameraman Vadim Yusov used to say that the most important quality in this industry – is being a decent man. Only a decent man is able to film something wonderful.

Ivan Krasko, renowned Russian actor: “The force lies not within pressure or feistiness – it lies within respect towards other people. He loved his craft, been doing it, and was indeed a quiet man. I think that’s where his force and dignity were”.

The light goes down, the camera is switched off, the scene is gone – and those who filmed the shots live forever in them. Those depicting other people. But the life captured there – theirs – stays there too. It simply transcends into memory. And documentary makers have a saying, for a good reason – the more time flies by, the stronger that memory is.