“Spirit Animal” is a feature film that explores the lives of three nomadic families in Mongolia.
Undermined by the climate change and the expectation of a rich life in the capital UlaanBaatar, documented in an intimate and vivid portrait of our characters, who thanks to a life spent in contact with nature, have built a close relationships with their guide animal.
Twenty years ago the nomadic herders were half of the entire population, nowadays just a quarter, and their numbers is rapidly reducing every year. In recent years, global warming had dramatic consequences for their way of life. The dzuds in particular – harsh winters, which follow scorching summers – have done terrible damage to their herds. This climate phenomenon is not new, but in the past few years it’s become more frequent and more intense thanks to the climate change. Also the fast growing economy of the cities pushed many nomads to dismantle their gers (Mongolian yurts) and abandoned 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 electricity. Today, it counts more than 1.5 million residents – that’s half the country’s population.
Many traditions and customs related to being in touch with nature, are quickly disappearing in exchange of a western-style way of life. Mongolia has an immense diverse geography, the distance between places are far away, as well as the distance between the adult generation to the teenager one. While the parents are still following a tribal way of life, the sons are completely connected through smart phones and internet