Original in Russian, 1997. Runtime 47 minutes - in English.
For home or academic use:$59.00. For public performace rights: $79.00.



The filmmaker traces events of his own travel in 1996 to the famous Yamal sanctuary, The Seven Tents, at the northern tip of the Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia. The film depicts Nenets nomadic reindeer herders' lives, myths, and rituals. Playing by chance a role of pilgrim, the ethnographer encountered many extraordinary and esoteric things. The figure of the patron-spirit "mistress of the tent", image of the Goddess of Yamal, people (including the author) and reindeer participating in sacrifices and purifications - all of these happened along one and the same road, the sacred path to the Seven Tents. Historically, that was the way by which the Nenets' ancestors came to the northern coastal tundra called Yamal (End of the Land).

Winner of the First Annual Russian Anthropological Film Festival, Salekhard, Russia, 1998; Original in Russian, 1997. (47 minutes - in English)


Andrei Golovnev

Dr. Andrei Golovnev is a well-known Arctic anthropologist and filmmaker and a leading expert on indigenous peoples and cultures of the Russian North. He is a Senior Anthropologist at the Institute of History and Archeology in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and founder and director of the Ethnographic Bureau, also headquartered in Ekaterinburg. He has led numerous anthropological and archeological expeditions in the Russian North, particularly studying peoples who depend on large-scale reindeer herding.

Interview with Andrei Golovnev

Susie Crate in Fairfax, Va01/15/2007

Way to the Sacred Place shows how the contemporary culture of Yamal Nenets, a reindeer herding people, has survived despite the throes of Russian and then Soviet colonization. The author reveals this via his own personal quest to reach one clan\'s sarced place. It is a masterpiece of ethnographic and anthropological visual research.

Gary Kofinas in Fairbanks, Alaska01/15/2007

WAY TO THE SACRED PLACE and PEGTYMEL are essential viewing for anyone interested in Human-Reindeer Systems of the Arctic and Russia in particular. They are exquisitely filmed, providing images that capture the heart of traditional life on the tundra. As well, they provide important insights into how culture plays in the social-ecological struggles of northern herders. Golovnev’s mix of artistry and academic inquiry is captivating. We have shown this film with undergraduates and graduates at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and it always prompts interest and rich discussion. A must see.

Brian Bennett in Niagara Falls02/21/2007

WAY TO THE SACRED PLACE is an altogether remarkable film. It is sensitively composed, with striking visuals and insightful commentary. The combination of Golovnev\'s accent plus indigenous vocabulary can make it a tad hard to follow at times. But one\'s effort will be rewarded. This is an excellent film for religious studies, highlighting the interconnections between community, myth, ritual, and place. In sum: a quiet, thought-provoking piece of work.

Thomas Wolfgang Maguire in Dalton, GA03/09/2008

Can't wait to see this movie since it's about my direct descendants called The Nenets. I'm related to them through my Great-Grandmother.