EXCLUSIVE: You cannot escape the Star Wars phenomenon, even at an indie film fest just getting underway in Park City. Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley has come aboard to be executive producer of The Eagle Huntress, the first documentary to premiere in the Sundance Kids section, with a Sunday debut at the Prospector Square Park Theatre. Morgan Spurlock, exec producer of the film, divulged this to me and said that Ridley signed on after seeing a cut of the film. She hopes it helps create awareness of what they describe as an epic tale of female empowerment.
Directed by Otto Bell, The Eagle Huntress is the true story of Aisholpan, a 13-year-old Mongolian girl who strives to become the first female Eagle Hunter in 2,000 years of male-dominated history. Under the tutelage and support of her father and her grandfather, she learns all aspects of this ancient tradition, including taming her very own eaglet and training it for the annual Golden Eagle Festival, which involves competing against male Eagle Hunters from all over the country. She even dreams of hunting in the frozen winters to prove that a girl can do anything a boy can, so long as she’s determined.
The film is set in the Altai Mountains of Northwestern Mongolia, the most remote part of the least populated country on Earth. While the landscape is pristine, the isolation has created a society that always considered women too fragile to hunt with an eagle. Aisholpan set out to change that. The young film heroine and her family are traveling all the way from Mongolia for the film’s premiere, and she’ll take part in live eagle demonstrations on Main Street.
Said Ridley: “I was deeply moved by Aisholpan’s story and wanted to be a part of this beautiful film. I feel audiences and young girls around the world will be as inspired by her story as I was, and I am so proud to share her journey with the world.”
Spurlock said he was delighted Ridley agreed to participate. “Having her join us will elevate this amazing story to greater heights and spread the magic of this courageous young girl to audiences of all ages.”
Said Bell: “Like so many other theatergoers around the world, I was blown away by Daisy’s recent portrayal of an empowered female protagonist. I’m thrilled she’ll be bringing that same energy to supporting a real-world heroine who is also on an epic journey to win victory in a far away land.”