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The Eagle Huntress

Synopsis

THE EAGLE HUNTRESS follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been typically been handed down from father to son for centuries.

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The Filmmakers

Otto Bell Director

Otto Bell is a British creative director based in New York. He has directed over 15 short documentary films as far afield as Egypt, Japan, Uganda, and Vietnam. Bell fell in love with Aisholpan's story after seeing a photo essay online in April 2014. He and his crew have been following her remarkable coming-of-age ever since.

Stacey Reiss Producer

Stacey Reiss is an Emmy award-winning producer whose experience includes more than ten years with "Dateline NBC." Stacey has written, directed, and produced documentaries and long form programs for HBO, WNET, NBC, CNBC and National Geographic.

Stacey produced the Emmy-nominated documentary, I KNEW IT WAS YOU, about the late actor John Cazale, best known as "Fredo" in the "Godfather" movies. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO in 2010.

Current projects include THE DIPLOMAT, a feature length documentary about the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke; and IT'S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE, a portrait of the artist behind the iconic "Eloise" books.  The film will premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and will air on HBO in March 2015.

Other programs include JOACHIM PRINZ: I SHALL NOT BE SILENT, a one hour documentary about the Jewish representative at the March on Washington; VISION QUEST, the documentary about an experimental treatment for blindness for which she won the prestigious Front Page Award for Best Documentary; and multiple episodes of TREASURES OF NEW YORK a documentary series for WNET/PBS.

She's a veteran television news producer covering major events such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina (Emmy nom), the NY Blackout (Emmy nom) and the Elizabeth Smart case (Emmy.)  Stacey has produced countless hours of long form programming and network specials.

Stacey also produces documentary style campaigns for a number of corporate clients including Comcast, the Reebok Foundation and Diageo.

Stacey holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and was a Harvard Medical School Journalism Fellow.

Morgan Spurlock Executive Producer

Morgan Spurlock is a New York based writer, director and producer. His first film, SUPERSIZE ME, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural Writers Guild of America Best Documentary Screenplay award as well as garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary.

Since then he has directed, produced and distributed multiple film, TV and digital projects, including the critically acclaimed CNN television series MORGAN SPURLOCK INSIDE MAN, the FX series 30 DAYS and the films WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?, CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO, CZECH DREAM, CHALK, THE FUTURE OF FOOD, WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY?, the WGA Award-winning and Emmy nominated THE SIMPSONS 20TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: IN 3-D! ON ICE!, FREAKONOMICS, POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, COMIC-CON: EPISODE IV – A FAN’S HOPE, MANSOME, and ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US.

Morgan is currently working on season three of MORGAN SPURLOCK INSIDE MAN FOR CNN and 7 DEADLY SINS FOR SHOWTIME. His upcoming digital projects include “CONNECTED,” the first long-form series for AOL and “SMARTISH,” a new premium branded content channel for Maker Studios.

 

Updates

Now Playing in Theaters Across the Country

THE EAGLE HUNTRESS is playing in theaters across the country. The film opened in NY and LA on October 28th and expanded nationwide on November 23rd. To find the closest city near you, check out the full release schedule here. 

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2016

Step aside, Katniss! Make room for Aisholpan, the 13-year-old eagle huntress from Mongolia.

For 2,000 years, the Kazakh people of the Altai region in western Mongolia have practiced a tradition of hunting with golden eagles, whose wingspan can reach up to 7.5 feet wide. Though this practice has traditionally been the domain of men, Aisholpan decides that she wants to become an apprentice hunter after spending her childhood helping her father, a renowned eagle hunter, care for his birds. Under the tutelage and support of her father and her grandfather—and very few others—Aisholpan learns all aspects of falconry, from taming her very own eagle to training for an annual competition, where she will compete against 70 eagle hunters on her quest to gain acceptance.

Featuring breathtaking cinematography and intimate footage, this film not only explores the life of a young girl striving to pursue her passion and break down gender barriers in a very traditional culture but also provides an engaging glimpse into the lives of this remote community, as they balance their traditional lifestyle with the modern world.

 

+ Festival Website

Telluride Film Festival

2016

+ Festival Website

Toronto International Film Festival

2016

Executive producer Daisy Ridley narrates this visually stunning documentary about Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl who becomes the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.

+ Festival Website

Cinema Eye Honors

2016

4 Nominations:

Outstanding Achievement in Production
Stacey Reiss, Sharon Chang and Otto Bell

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Simon Niblett

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Otto Bell

The Unforgettables
Aisholpan Nurgaiv

Producers Guild Award

Nominated for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures 

Reviews

A documentary that’s as unlikely as it is enchanting…falling under its sway is inevitable.”

-Kenneth Turan, LA Times

Real-life inspirational adventure.”

-Variety

Thrilling...this is a movie that expands your sense of what is possible.”

-A.O. Scott, The New York Times

THE EAGLE HUNTRESS will have audiences soaring...an inspiring story for children of all ages.”

-New York Daily News

It's the face and skill of of Aisholpan you'll remember. Over the end credits, Sia sings a song with the lyrics, "You can do anything." No need for the reminder. We've just seen it with our own astonished eyes.”

-Rolling Stone

A breathtaking documentary that shows when we encourage our daughters, amazing things happen.  ”

-Vice