It’s not uncommon to feel natural distrust of the police in any community. However, Nikolay Velikanov’s documentary short, No Turning Back: The Russian Heat of West Sacramento, shows the importance of communities being actively involved in law enforcement and represented by their own members. As the title suggests, the writer/director finds himself in the small Northern California Slavic community of West Sacramento. He spotlights four Slavic police officers: Sargeant Yevgeniy Semeryuk and officers Alexei Venikov from Russia, Andrey Kinda from Belarus, and Nazariy Yakimchuk from Ukraine.
The film splits its twenty-minute runtime between making the connection between these officers and their community alongside footage of the men on the job. Each law enforcement officer talks about how they made it onto the force and what protecting their community means to them. The film is a unique opportunity to introduce ways to improve relationships between a community and its police.
“…shows the importance of communities being actively involved in law enforcement…”
My only criticism is that No Turning Back: The Russian Heat of West Sacramento focuses too much on the police work and stories. We’ve seen similar tales on countless episodes of Cops. I think any follow-up needs to be about what it’s like being a Slavic officer serving their communities. I want to hear stories about the challenges this particular community faces and what it means for members of that community on the front lines protecting them.
No Turning Back: The Russian Heat of West Sacramento is a good-looking documentary, and filmmaker Nikolay Velikanov put together a well-produced film. Now it’s time to elevate the story and take it to the next level.
For more information, visit No Turning Back filmmaker NikolayVelikanov’ss official webiste.
"…a good-looking documentary..."