The Eagle Huntress
In “The Eagle Huntress,” 13-year-old Aisholpan trains to become the first girl in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter. Many old Kazakh eagle hunters vehemently reject the idea of a woman taking part in their ancient tradition, but Aisholpan’s father believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she’s determined. Because every eagle can only have one master, Aisholpan must first capture an eagle of her own, clambering down a sheer rock cliff with a rope to retrieve a fledgling from its nest. After months of training her eagle, Aisholpan then tests her abilities in a renowned competition, the Golden Eagle Festival, facing off against 70 of the greatest Kazakh eagle hunters in Mongolia. But the most arduous challenge is yet to come: Aisholpan rides with her father deep into the frigid mountains on a hunt, enduring 40-below temperatures and perilous landscapes to prove her status as a true eagle huntress. “The Eagle Huntress” is executive-produced and narrated by Daisy Ridley of the “Star Wars” franchise, and like Ridley’s character Rey, Aisholpan never doubts her ability to be as strong or brave as any boy. Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, the film features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.