What it is?
Who we are?

Chemodan Films is a documentary film production company located in Toronto-Canada, Berlin-Germany, and Bishkek-Kyrgyzstan.


It was created in October 2005 by Thomas Lahusen, Tracy McDonald, and Alexander Gershtein in Toronto. “Chemodan” (pronounciation key: “ch [like “church”]-eh-mo-dunn”) is the Russian word for “suitcase.” The word symbolizes motion, travel, and the international component of our group. One of the goals of our company is to produce documentary films on Russia, other territories of the former Soviet Union, China, and other parts of the world, which can equip scholars and the larger public with contents that help them to explore the cultural, social, and political complexities of past and present.

Chemodan Films privileges topics reflecting on the “deep country,” including geographical and social areas that are not part of the mainstream. Besides producing documentaries, Chemodan Films is also establishing an archival depository of original film material, both contemporary and historical. 


Producer, director, cinematographer, picture and sound editor. Director and co-owner of Chemodan Films. Teaches Russian/Soviet cultural history and film at the University of Toronto. Ph.D. in Russian Literature and History. Lausanne University, Switzerland (1982)

Filmography (direction and co-direction):

Screening from WithinManchurian Sleepwalkers (2017), In Search of Roubakine (2012), Meet Me in Harbin! (2011), The Interim Country (2010), The Photographer (2008), Komsomolsk mon amour (2007), The Province of Lost Film (2006).

Journalist and filmmaker. Co-owner of Chemodan Films. Worked as a radio & TV jounalist at the National Kyrgyz Radio and Television Corporation. M.A. from the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto. She is presently working on her doctoral dissertation at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Filmography (direction and co-direction):

Oh, My Communist Youth! (2010), The Interim Country (2010),
Zhargylchak (Hand Mill) (2018).


Film scholar, producer. Senior researcher at Moscow’s Institute on Cinema Art (All-Russian State University of Cinematography). Specializes in Soviet and American cinemas, focusing on the intellectual and political aspects of their interaction. Other interests: Soviet cultural politics in the sphere of cinema; cinema of the late Stalin period and the post-Stalin “thaw”; Soviet expansion in Asia, Russian and Soviet films about Asia; the theory and practice of film editing and film sound. Researcher and scenarist of Searching for “Pochta” (2013).


Born and raised in China, Yi Cui is an independent filmmaker, based in Canada and China. Before stepping into filmmaking, she pursued conservation ecology. What was learned from the nature has stayed in her identity and reverberated into her creative work. In her filmmaking career, Yi Cui has refrained from defining her work by genre. Her interests have spanned from experimental film, film essay to documentary and non-traditional narrative form.

Filmography (direction and co-direction):

Camera Lucida (2008), Miss Toronto Gets a Life (2010), Ying (2011), Partita (2013), Of Shadows (2015), Screening from Within (2017). A search for the poetics and musicality inside the film medium has driven all her works. Yi Cui acquired her MFA in film production at York University in Toronto.


Cinematographer, filmmaker and graduate of MFA in Film Production from York University. Her grasp of the technical complexities of digital cinema is matched by her persistence and determination. The aesthetic and technical quality of her award winning works is a testament to her expertise in directing, 2D/3D cinematography, editing, producing and sound design. Rozette has shot more than 300 documentary films around the globe. She was the first and only Iranian female DP when she moved to Canada. Rozette is also a painter and a poet. Her practice in both fields has greatly contributed to the lyrical filming style and the sensual visual approach that distinguish her film work.


Filmmaker and researcher. B.A. of the Humanitarian University of Bishkek and presently completing an M.A. in Sociology at the American University of Central Asia. He is working on a documentary film project about the Pamir Kyrgyz and their recent integration in Kyrgyz society after a hundred years of exile on the border of Afghanistan and Tadjikistan.

Participant in a recent collective documentary reporting on the Berlin rally over world-record property prices in April 2018.

I’m So Alone With The Crowd 2012
A short feature film showing that the multiplication of electronic devices, such as cell phones, i-pods, and other such things that keep people “connected” at every moment of their lives, also produces estrangement and loneliness.
The suitcase that the main protagonist is carrying is of course the chemodan of our company 

© 2017 Chemodan Films.

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