About Life of Ivanna

Renato Serrano’s Life of Ivanna shadows a young single mother with five children inhabiting a nomadic sleigh cabin in the Russian tundra. Although the audience sees the Nenets woman attending to all her children’s needs and confidently heading her reindeer sleigh through the barely distinguishable landscape, Ivanna cannot sustain this life. Life of Ivanna provides us with an intimate representation of a family at the crossroads of isolation and inclusion, of tradition and adaptation, of loss and survival. [79 mins; documentary; Nenets and Russian with English subtitles] A Q&A with Dr. Marya Rozanova-Smith and Prof. Stephanie Kane will follow the screening.

“Documaker Renato Borrayo Serrano offers eye-opening glimpses into the harrowing and chaotic life of a modern Nenets woman that overturn stereotypes about Arctic life.” – Deborah Young, The Film Verdict

Life of Ivanna serves to remind us just how big [the world] is, and how very little we know of it.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

Dr. Marya Rozanova-Smith is a professorial lecturer in the Elliott School of International Affairs and a research professor at the Department of Geography at the George Washington University. In addition to her work in academia, she participated in a wide range of social projects. She was the founder and chairperson of the Center for Civil, Social, Scientific, and Cultural Initiatives “STRATEGIA” and served as a Galina Starovoitova Fellow for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at the Kennan Institute, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Dr. Rozanova-Smith has been teaching the Arctic Affairs course at GWU in the Elliott School of International Affairs since 2018. Her current research interests include Arctic governance, urban sustainability, gender empowerment, and the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Arctic.

Stephanie Kane is a professor of international studies at IU who researches the political ecology of water. From port cities of Brazil, Argentina and Singapore to the Canadian Arctic and subarctic, Kane’s ethnography explores the way river and coastal city inhabitants embed themselves into the planetary crust and negotiate water disasters (flooding, pollution, dispossession). Her non-fiction creative writing brings geoscience, engineering, law, social life and art into conversation to highlight social justice and environmental justice. Her books include Where Rivers Meet the Sea: The Political Ecology of Water; AIDS Alibis: Sex, Drugs and Crime in the Americas; The Phantom Gringo Boat: Shamanism and Development in Panama; and a volume co-edited with Phil Parnell Crime's Power: Anthropologists and the Ethnography of Crime.

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