UB Rising – Commissioned Independent Project for M.A.D Investment Firm
UB, as denizens of Mongolia’s capital city often call Ulaanbaatar, is on the rise as massive mining investments propel an unprecedented growth that is changing the skyline and pace of Ulaanbaatar at a rapid rate.
This video, my first commissioned piece by a private company keen to capture the dynamic and energy of a booming Ulaanbaatar, presents a visual insight into life in UB as viewed by several individuals who share the everyday contrasts in UB and what the city represents to them.
I have to thank Pierre Thiriet, a friend and excellent photographer http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierrethiriet/, whose artistic input contributed to a huge portion of the images and clips used in this video.
Highland Yarn – Independent Voluntary Project for international NGO, AVSF
A short I clip made for French NGO – Agronomists and Veterinarians Without Borders, AVSF (*SF = sans frontiers). AVSF Mongolia works chiefly in Arkhangai Province to assist nomadic herders in preserving their traditional way of life. Building their capacities to derive income while sustaining their way of life is one of the NGO’s objective, made even more relevant in a country where urban migration and unemployment continue to be the country’s major headache. In this video 10 ladies, members of the Khangai Mountain Yak Herders Cooperative which was set up with AVSF’s help, travel to Tsetserleg, the provincial capital for a training session on producing hand spun yak yarn for export to Europe. The ladies had previously been given spinning wheels and preliminary training on how to use use them are provided feedback on the wool they had hand spun and the group discuss ways to improve the quality of yarn produced and packaging the yarn for marketing.
Afghan Life on the steppe – Multimedia for feature on Hazara Students in Mongolia
Video accompaniment to an article about Hazara students in Mongolia. Though still a disputed subject, Afghanistan’s minority Hazara ethnic group are believed to be descended from Chinggis Khan’s troops as they swept across Central Asia on their quest for establishing the world’s greatest empire. Mongolian ethnographers keen to accept the Hazara as their own have opened doors to Hazara students to study in Mongolia. In this video Hazara students living in Ulaanbaatar talk of what living in Mongolia means to them and their future. This piece was picket by The Atlantic after it first appeared on Eurasianet.org, a news site covering Central Asia and the Caucasus and a site I contribute regularly to. For full story visit this link.
Mongolia’s Religious Revival – Press Report for Press TV (July 2010)
A 5 min feature made for Press TV providing an overview of Religious Revival of Mongolia. Under the grip of communism for over 60 years, religion was abolished from Mongolia – monks massacred and monasteries torn down. Since democracy religion is slowly making inroads again. Buddhism, the national religion is thriving but continues to face challenges as many of the older teachings and traditions are forever lost with the persecution meted out by the communists and in recent years continues to lose many Mongolians to Christianity, Islam and other faiths springing up in the country. Shamanism, the original faith pushed to the fringe by Buddhism in the 16th century is drawing many Mongolians back again. The new religious fervor is hard to overlook in Mongolia, especially Ulaanbaatar the capital city as mosques, churches and monasteries are added to the city skyline alongside the new glitzy high rises. But what is driving so many Mongolians to seek spiritual comfort?
Ulaanbaatar battles increasing air pollution – Press Report for Press TV (November 2009)
The first in a series of 13 news reports filed for Press TV during my freelance stint with them between December 2009 and August 2010, this report was on Ulaanbaatar’s chronic air pollution during winter. Deemed among the most polluted cities in the world by WHO, Ulaanbaatar’s thick winter smog is caused by the city’s suburban dwellers forced to burn coal in their stoves to survive Mongolia’s long harsh winters where temperatures dip below -40°C . The report also examines the feasibility Government’s efforts to combat pollution by introducing a plan to relocate ‘ger district’ dwellers to apartments connected to central heating.