Documentary, 4K, stereo, color, ca. 99 min.

The Strait Guys (2022)

A 76-year old engineer is on a mission: to connect the United States and Russia with a 100-kilometer long train tunnel beneath the Bering Strait.

THE STRAIT GUYS follows Czech-born mining engineer, George, and his fast-talking protégé, Scott, along the proposed route of the InterContinental Railway through Alaska, to the Bering Strait and onward to Russia. The “Strait Guys” endeavor to convince international governments, corporations, and indigenous tribes to green-light their $100 billion railway project—with the promise to become the Panama Canal of the 21st century.

As they struggle to keep their “peace, progress, and prosperity” project alive in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the Strait Guys leave us wondering: What is really preventing the US and Russia from being connected?

Since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the tunnel plan certainly seems absurd. Yet the Strait Guys are more convinced than ever that their mega-project is exactly what the world needs to finally leave wars behind and create “peace, progress and prosperity” for all.

World premiere: É tudo Verdade (It’s All True), Brazil, April 2022

N. American premiere: North x North Festival & Summit, USA, April 2022 (with director Rick Minnich)

European Premiere: Berlin, June 2nd, 19:30, Babylon Berlin (with film team)

Oceania premiere: Doc Edge, New Zealand, June 2022

West Coast premiere: Green Film Festival of San Francisco, USA, September 2022 (with director Rick Minnich)

Dutch premiere: International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam IDFA, The Netherlands, November 2022 (with director Rick Minnich)

German festival premiere: Ökofilmtour Brandenburg, April 2023 (with director Rick Minnich)

Eastern European premiere: Moldox International Documentary Film Festival for Social Change, Moldova, June 2023 (with director Rick Minnich)

East Coast premiere: Global Peace Film Festival, Orlando, Florida, September 2023

The Netherlands: Beholders Documentary Dialogues, October 2023 (with director Rick Minnich)

Worldwide: Fort Ross Dialogue (online), November 30, 2023

Theatrical Release Germany

European Premiere: Berlin, June 2, 2022, 19:30, Babylon Berlin (with film team)

Additional screenings with the film team:

June 3rd, 19:00 Moviemento
June 8th, 20:30 Krokodil

June 5th, 13:00 Schauburg

June 5th, 19:00 Arsenal

September 16th, 19:30 Kulturhaus Heidekrug 2.0

September 18th, 10:30 Thalia

April 16, 2023, 17.00 Kinobar Prager Frühling

April 21, 2023, 19.00 Kulturgasthof “Alte Reederei”

Other cities

Television Broadcasts:

Canada: Knowledge Network, Nov. 29, 2022
Germany: MDR, April 16, 2023 + January 28, 2024


  • “What distinguishes a visionary from a dreamer?  The Strait Guys poses that question in a surprising documentary about a 76-year-old Czech mining engineer, and his fast-talking protege as they pursue their mission to connect Russia and the United States by building a 100 kilometer train tunnel beneath the Bering Strait.  At a time when Russia and the U.S. are more hostile to each other since the Cuban Missile Crisis, and climate change threatens the entire globe, and particularly the Artic, this film could not be more timely.” – Mark Jonathan Harris, three-time Oscar-winning director (“Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories from the Kindertransport”, “The Long Way Home”)

  • “An extradionary film. Visionary, inspirational and filled with hope for a more connected world.” – Lynne Cox, world record-holding endurance swimmer who swam across the Bering Strait from the US to the USSR in 1987
  • “Wavering on the precipice between adoration and satire, THE STRAIT GUYS neatly indulges the subject matter of outlandish but ultimately inevitable human ambition.” – Dennis Schmitt, polar explorer
  • “When most people visualize a messenger of peace, they likely picture a white dove. Almost never do they imagine an opportunity for peace carried forward by a cantankerous, chain-smoking engineer obsessed with connecting the world through a transnational rail project. The Strait Guys fit beautifully within the Global Peace Film Festival programming mission to spread models of peace especially because the film provided a portrait of peacemaking embodied by the most unlikely messenger. The film reminds each of us to reach for every chance to connect people to one another and to share our world together.” – Kelly DeVine, Artistic Director, Global Peace Film Festival
  • “An intriguing and visually stunning film that blends geopolitics, economics, and technology but keeps people at the center of its story. The Strait Guys follows one man’s dream of a tunnel under the Bering Strait, while also introducing a wide range of other compelling figures, from boosters and small-town majors to Kremlin operatives and local Alaskan communities. The film shows at once the attraction of thinking big and the costs of doing so. An emotionally compelling achievement.” – Paul W. Werth, Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Villa Aurora presented “The Strait Guys” at a sold-out event. The film engaged the audience from the start, leading to a lively discussion with the filmmaker about the protagonists’ pursuit of “peace, progress, and prosperity”, the cost to the individuals, and the necessity of attempting the impossible to further an exchange between nations. – Dr. Claudia Gordon, Director Villa Aurora and Thomas Mann House, Pacific Palisades, California
  • “I highly recommend reaching out to Rick if you have any interest to bring the real documentary filmmaking world to your classroom students.” – Brian Sisselman, Adjunct Professor School of Film and Television, Loyola Marymount University
  • We all need to know one another and see each other as friends and co-inhabitants of this beautiful planet, not as enemies. What a massive, ambitious and visionary project. We need a transformation in discovering we are all brothers and sisters! A train could help bring the people of the US and Russia and the world closer together, but somehow we need to pressure our governments. This train could help facilitate communication, travel, visits and trade. – David Hartsough, co-founder of World Beyond War and author of WAGING PEACE: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist

Interviews with Rick:


Film reviews:


  • Film Threat (8 of 10) – “The Strait Guys is full of thrills and surprises, even though you know the ending without ever having heard this story before.”



Would your organization like to host a virtual or in-person event with “The Strait Guys”? Then please complete this screening request form. Our team will get back to you with a quote within a few days.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to our completion fund, you can do so here. A receipt will be issued immediately per email.

If you do not need a tax-deduction, then please support the filmmakers directly. 100% of your donation will go directly to the filmmakers to help us complete and distribute “The Strait Guys”.

Thank you for your support!

Writer & Director Rick Minnich
Co-Writer Matt Sweetwood
Cinematography Lutz Reitemeier (USA), Sergey Amirdzhanov (Russia)
Additional Cinematography Rick Minnich
Drone Operators Sergey Amirdzhanov (Russia), Rick Minnich (USA/Russia), Jonathan Skorupa (USA) 
Sound Sorin Apostel (Russia), Jonathan Skorupa (USA)
Editor Matt Sweetwood
Composer Lukas Sweetwood
Producers Hanfgarn + Ufer (Gunter Hanfgarn), CineImpuls Leipzig (Holm Taddiken), Torero Film (Rouven Rech, Teresa Renn)
Production Manager Bettina Morlock
Location Manager (Russia) Vlad Ketkovich (Ethnofund)
Commissioning Editors Thomas Beyer (MDR), Jenny Westergard (YLE), Rudy Buttignol (Knowledge Network)
Development Developed as part of the Documentary Campus Masterschool
Pitched at IDFA Forum, North Pitch – Below Zero, The Edinburgh Pitch, GZDOC, Doc Preview Germany (DOK Leipzig)
With the support of MDM, MFG, DFFF, BKM