SLEEPLESS/REPEAT UNTIL DEATH
Double Music Video - 2019
Directed by Jorik Dozy & Sil van der Woerd
A Mongolian miner takes his sick daughter away from the heavily polluted city to see the shaman. Upon finding a new home with the reindeer herders in the forest, he learns that this world too, is changing.
The biggest crisis of our time is the climate emergency. To say something about such a complex issue, we traveled to Mongolia, where - due to climate change - an increasing amount of herders and nomads are unable to sustain their nomadic lifestyle. As a result, they relocate to the city and burn coal to stay warm, polluting the city and creating one of the worst public health emergencies in the world.
Directors Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy
"We wanted to capture Mongolia's abundant beauty and at the same time expose its pressing environmental issues."
To capture the film, we spent 20 days in Mongolia. The intense pollution in capital Ulaanbaatar, which is an essential part of our story, only occurs in winter, when temperatures drop to well below -35 degrees Celsius. From Ulaanbaatar we traveled 3 days to reach the Tsaatan tribe (reindeer herders) in the southern most tip of Siberia.
Filming at temperatures of -35 degrees proved to be extremely challenging. Not just physically for the crew and cast, but also for the equipment. Although there were some moments that we filmed at -10 and the sun was out and it really was quite comfortable, we shot the majority of the film in intense cold.
In the camp, there was no running water, as all the water was deeply frozen. While we were shooting, our Mongolian crew cut big blocks of ice from the nearby lake, which we drunk as teas and soups.
No animals were harmed during production! For the death scene of our lead character's beloved reindeer, we completely rebuild our hero reindeer in CG and composed it into the shots.
Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is our world's most polluted capital. Its beautiful morning fog is nothing but air pollution.
Every winter, as many as 220,000 households burn coal to stay warm. When families can’t afford coal they sometimes burn tyres and other scraps. Air pollution, or “smoke” as the residents call it, often reaches several times that of Beijing or Delhi and can go up to 133x times the level the World Health Organization (WHO) deems safe. The hospitals are packed every winter, as thousands of children fall sick. Respiratory infections have increased at a rate of 270% over the last 10 years and children living in the city have a 40% lower lung function than those living in rural areas, according to UNICEF.
Harsh winters have killed off millions of livestock, forcing rural herders to the capital for work. In 2004, almost 70,000 people moved from rural areas to the city. Since then as many as 45,000 have moved to the capital annually. Most collect in the ger district, an area officials say accounts for 80% of the city’s air pollution. Since there is no access to clean energy, people turn to coal to stay warm. The Tsaatan, Mongolia's reindeer herders, are amongst these nomads forced to retreat from the wild.
The Tsaatan are amongst these nomads forced to retreat from the wild. An ever-changing climate weakens their animals and threatens an entire culture with extinction. Today, only 40 Tsaatan families remain.