Twenty years ago the nomadic herders were half of the entire population of Mongolia, nowadays just a quarter. The numbers are rapidly declining year by year.
Global warming has had dramatic consequences on the nomadic lifestyle. The dzuds (the Mongolian harsh winters) have become colder, lands have become less fertile and scorching summers have had more rainfalls than ever. The combination of these has done terrible damage to the nomadic families’ herds.
In parallel to this, the cities’ fast-growing economy pushed many nomads to dismantle their gers (the Mongolian yurts) and abandon the vast grasslands of the steppes to settle in the capital, UlaanBaatar. But in the city, living conditions are tough: the nomads have to deal with poverty, as well as shortages of water and fuel for heating and cooking. Today, more than half of the Mongolian population has settled in UlaanBaatar, bringing the country to a critical scenario of unsustainable living.
As filmmakers, we need to show what is happening right now, the urgency of the events in Mongolia has to be seen by a wider audience.
Our idea is to bring together the native voices from different cultures and corners of Mongolia, to picture the nomadic life in their own way. Their stories will cross together to whom moved to the outskirts of the capital, and try to survive in the city life.
SPIRIT ANIMAL is written and directed by Inês von Bonhorst & Yuri Pirondi, produced by Tânia Neves.