The Eagle Huntress. Set against the breathtaking landscape of the Mongolian Altai mountains, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS is the awe-inspiring story of a 13 year old girl and her quest to become the first female eagle hunter in 12 generations of her Kazakh family. A stunning rites-of-passage feature which premiered at Sundance, the film is the directorial debut from British director Otto Bell and releases in UK cinemas on 16 December through Altitude Film Distribution.
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS follows Aisholpan as she trains to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. While there are many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father believes that she has the determination and confidence to succeed. After months of training with her father, Aispolpan is ready to test her abilities and enters the renowned Golden Eagle Festival to face off against 70 of the greatest Kazakh eagle hunters in Mongolia.
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS is executive produced and narrated by STAR WARS’s Daisy Ridley. Like Ridley’s character “Rey,” Aisholpan never doubts her ability to be strong or brave. She recognizes no obstacles and refuses to have her ambition denied. While she practises an ancient art, Aisholpan’s story is a modern and inspiring one because she represents a world where a young girl’s dreams — no matter how challenging — can come true.
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS began when director Otto Bell first laid eyes on one of the most remarkable images he had ever seen: a radiant young girl on a mountain top, joyfully casting a majestic eagle into the air. Taken by renowned Israeli photographer Asher Svidensky and published by the BBC, Bell was so enchanted by the images and intrigued by the story behind them that he tracked down Svidensky on Facebook and moved quickly to acquire the rights to tell her story. With a tiny British crew of just three, including long-time collaborator, director of photography Simon Niblett, they set off immediately to begin shooting this remarkable and beautiful documentary.
Director Otto Bell runs Courageous, the New York commercial studio of filmmakers and designers, but hails from the north of England. He has directed more than 15 documentary films as far afield as Uganda, Japan, Egypt and Vietnam and has created and produced multi-award winning world affairs programming such as Horizons on BBC World News and Shunya on Times Now of India. The director of photography is Bell’s long-time collaborator and Emmy-nominee Simon Niblett (Adventures of the Penguin King, Caught in the Moment), who used a self-made drone, an ‘eagle cam’ and a 30 foot crane to capture soaring aerial photography in the Altai Mountains. The film is edited by the Emmy-award winning Pierre Talkal (One Direction: This is Us, DMC: My Adoption Journey).
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS is narrated by Daisy Ridley, executive produced by Ridley and Morgan Spurlock, and produced by Stacy Reiss, Sharon Chang and Otto Bell. The director of photography is Simon Niblett, the editor is Pierre Takal and the film features a stirring end credits song, “Angel by the Wings,” by Sia.