“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

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.



Directors, Cinematography, Editing

Award winning directors Inês von Bonhorst & Yuri Pirondi have been working together for over ten years. Their work varies from video art and installation, short movies and mostly documentaries.

In every project they are interested in the many faces of our society, trying to trace the fantastic path into the ordinary daily life, the fabulous side into the presumed banality.

Their work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, such as the V&A Museum and the Barbican Centre of London, and their films have been shown in many international festivals.



Tânia Neves

Producer, Photographer, Aerials

Graduated in Photography with a post-graduate degree in Anthropology, Tania’s work has been evolving from large music events to documenting the most remote areas in the world.



Michael Picknett

Music Composer

Michael Picknett is a musician and a composer specialised in creating bespoke soundtracks and musical scores for movies, as well as performative music for theatre and dance.



Keep Digging Production


Keep Digging is a movie production house founded in Modena (Italy) at the beginning of 2019, with the goal of becoming a milestone in the storytelling field, nationally and internationally.



Marion Rivaux

Assistant Producer

Marion is a Digital Producer working in London. Her experience lies in creating innovative, eye-catching content for various clients.



Written & Directed by: Inês von Bonhorst & Yuri Pirondi (MAKKINA)
Produced by: Tânia Neves
Executive Producers: Inês von Bonhorst, Yuri Pirondi, Tânia Neves
Starring: Burkut Idrish, Tolhin Erbol, Baldir Baglan, Khanghay Baglan, Ayantas Idrish, Altantas Idrish and Yatas Idrish
Cinematography: Yuri Pirondi
Editing: Inês von Bonhorst
Associate Producers: Florian Wentsch, Garden Film, Jim Jagger, Virgilio Neves
Music Composed by: Michael Picknett
Translation by: Nazgul Yergalieva
Still Photography & Aerial Footage: Tânia Neves
Production Manager: Tânia Neves & Inês von Bonhorst
Fixers Mongolia: Tsengel Gantulga and Turbat Enkhjargal
Production Assistants: Marion Rivaux, Ubaldo Giusti
Post-Production: Keep Digging Production

Supported by

Technical Support

Strategic Partnerships

Special Thanks to our Indiegogo supporters:

Albertina Lopes, Alfredo Broccolo, Aline Josviaki Cortarelli, Ana de Almeida, Ana Franca, Andreia Marques, Beth Lambert, Carlos Salvador, César Rivaux, Claudio Costa, Debove Margaux, Diogo Cavalheiro, Diogo Santos, Duarte Alves, Elsa Rodriguez, Fábio Inácio, Fanny Maresu, Fátima Veiga, Florian Wentsch, Francisca Sá, Frechet Mathieu, Gonçalo Neves, Jordan Jackson, Kátia Sá, Kieran Alfonso-Moore, Jim Jagger, João Pires, Lambert Dorothée, Laura Faustino, Liliana Ascensão, Lisa Cazzato Vieyra, Lucien Corraux, Manuela Pinto, Margarida Cristóvão, Maria do Alívio, Maria Isabel Neves, Maria Margarida Silva, Mark Modrić, Marta Angelozzi, Mika Kivelä, Natalia Lokhova, Odete Ferreira, Odete Neves, Olindina de Lurdes Varela, Patricia Campos, Patty Wiesbrock, Pedro Lebre, Peter Schardt, Ricardo Ferro, Rita Semedo, Ronald Apple, Samanta Duarte, Sofia Bonhorst, Tatiana Girard, Teresa Cyrne, Tiago Barbosa, Tiago Covas, Tiago Dias, Vera Rolo, Virgilio Neves and Xana Alves.



© Spirit Animal, 2020. All rights reserved.