The Eagle Huntress (2016)

  • Documentary, World Cinema
  • 1h 27m

This stirring documentary blends stunning wildlife footage with an insight into lives lived in one of the most isolated parts of the world, creating an unforgettable vision of what can be achieved with dogged determination and an unswerving drive to reach your individual goals.

We first meet Aisholpan, a 13-year-old Kazakh girl, as she goes about her domestic duties in the family’s remote home in the Altai Mountains in northwest Mongolia. We soon learn of her aspirations to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations of her family, and the immense challenges of not only finding and training a bird to hunt with, but also of struggling against the social stigma of taking on a role that is traditionally handed down from father to son. Many of the Kazakh elders are vehemently opposed to her plan, and when she enters the annual all-male Golden Eagle Festival to put her hard-earned skills to the test against 70 of the greatest Kazakh eagle hunters from across Mongolia, the stage is set for more than just a battle of the birds. But even when this is over, she must face the rigors of a winter hunt out on the icy steppes in temperatures of minus 40 degrees to prove she is a real eagle huntress.

Shot over a twelve month period, using a combination of technologies including crane-and-drone-mounted cameras to capture the majesty of the eagles in flight, this documentary is a remarkable blend of Planet Earth II and previous popular Mongolian ‘dramadocs’ such as The Story of the Weeping Camel and The Cave of the Yellow Dog. Narrated and executive produced by Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, this is a powerful demonstration of a girl emboldened to make her own individual mark in the world, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.


Otto Bell


English, Kazakh





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