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Remote Film Location: Little Diomede Island Village, Alaska

Written on September 12, 2016

Location

Little Diomede Island is one of the most remote film locations on earth. Located in the middle of the Bering Strait between the Alaskan mainland and Eastern Russia, Little Diomede is part of the United States, and the neighboring island of Big Diomede is part of Russia. The two are divided by the International Date Line, and although only 2.4 miles apart, Big Diomede is 23 hours ahead of Little Diomede.

The location of Little Diomede is the only area which does not have near-vertical cliffs. Behind the town and around the entire island rocky slopes rise to an ice covered plateau.

bering_strait

People

The populated area of Diomede lies on the west side of Little Diomede and is the only settlement on the island. Around 150 people live in Little Diomede. 90% of the population are Native American.

History

Diomede was originally inhabited by the Iñupiat people, who used the site as a springtime whale hunting campsite. Perched on the steep rocky slope, their huts were made of stone and had skin roofs.

The United States purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, included the Little Diomede. The new boundary was drawn between the two Diomede Islands, and the Big Diomede was left to Russia.

At the beginning of the Cold War in the late 1940s Big Diomede became a Russian military base and all its native residents were removed to mainland Russia. During the Cold War, the section of the border between the USA and the USSR separating Big and Little Diomede became known as the “Ice Curtain”. In fact, in the cold of winter, floating icebergs form an ice bridge connecting the two islands. So Alaskans not only see Russia from their house, but they can walk to it too.

In 1987, the long distance swimmer, Lynne Cox swam from Little Diomede to Big Diomede.

Facilities

Little Diomede has electricity produced by diesel generators.

Water for winter use is drawn from a mountain spring, then treated. The water supply usually runs out by March, and locals must melt snow for drinking water.

There is no hospital, hotels, restaurants, or television on the island.

Transport on the island is by foot or snowmobile. There are no roads.

Little Diomede also has no airport or seaport. Landing an aircraft is very dangerous due to strong winds and unpredictable weather. Likewise, docking a boat is not possible due to high waves and floating icebergs. Erikson Aviation offer helicopter flights all year round from Nome. Bering Air have flights from Nome in the winter, landing on ice. A floatplane service is also available in the summer months.

Film Crew and Equipment

Little Diomede has no local film infrastructure so all crew and equipment needs to be brought in with you.

If you are looking for an Alaska based fixer or shooting crew to help with your shoot in Little Diomede, please contact us for referrals.

Photo Credit