While carrying out some research for my MA thesis in Kyrgyzstan I became friends with a nomad family. I spent two weeks with them in a yurt up on a high plateau on 3000m at the lakeside of Son-Köl in the heart of the Tien Shan mountain range. Their simple but clever way of living in the harsh conditions of the Kyrgyz steppes fascinated me and called for more insight and better understanding of their little-known lifestyle.
Isolated and on the border between Muslim culture and Shamanistic traditions, the Kyrgyz nomads have difficulties marking their place in the country’s westernising society. While life in the cities is becoming increasingly modern, the nomads are considered as the guardians of the ancient Kyrgyz customs and rites. A big part of Kyrgyzstanʼs culture relies on them and their tradition of passing their knowledge on to their children. However, the nomads, just like everybody else, are starting to adapt to the modernising world. During winter they are indistinguishable from their compatriots. They lead a life similar to any other Kyrgyz’s. However, the summer months shed light on their true identities when they leave their houses to live in yurts on remote pastures in the mountains.
This documentary is an intimate portrait of a nomad family and how they try to keep a balance between modernisation and ancient culture. I will accompany the locals with a camera during one summer season from the instant they leave their home in the valley in May to the moment they journey down again from the pastures as the first snow falls in October.
It is not the making of the documentary itself that demands huge funds, but the requirements that need to be met in order to actualise it. As a recently graduated university student my personal savings unfortunately do not cover the necessary expenses. However, through your financial support I will be able to acquire decent filming material, to pay for basic needs such as food and lodging for 4 months, and to come up for the transport costs from Switzerland to Kyrgyzstan. You will not only contribute to cultural knowledge and ethnological science, but also help me become a professional documentary filmmaker, which is the career I am aiming for in my future.