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New Documentary 'We Are Nomads' Showcases the Desolate Beauty of Altai

Available online between May 30 to June 1, the film follows a female-led indigenous journey through the stunning and desolate terrain of Altai in the far western reaches of Mongolia.

Marinel de Jesus is a serial traveller. The founder and operator of Peak Explorations and Brown Gal Trekker, de Jesus recently produced a controversial and yet-unreleased documentary KM82, spotlighting the human rights challenges of the porter industry in Peru. Between her expeditions and documentary, the prosecutor turned modern nomad has become accustomed to a busy travel schedule that regularly keeps her on the move between various parts of the Americas and Asia.

So in March, when the coronavirus shut down international travel, de Jesus, who is Filipino, found herself stranded in the Mongolian town of Ulgii in the far western reaches of the desert nation, preparing for a women's-only expedition that she would ultimately have to cancel. In a moment that might be unsurprising in retrospect for a productive human rights advocate-cum-world-trekking documentarian, de Jesus decided to hunker down, connect with a local production team, and produce another documentary.


Until recently, eagles were trained exclusively by men. Photo courtesy of Marinel de Jesus.

Called We Are Nomads, the documentary follows an all-female migration in Altai, a traditionally Kazakh region of the world in which nomadism, and specifically female-led nomadism, is a cultural legacy. De Jesus held a primarily supervisory role, meaning that the documentary was created primarily by the Mongolian team she assembled. Last week, de Jesus dropped the first trailer, and it’s a little over a minute of supremely gorgeous Altai mountain terrain.

The feature-length version of We Are Nomads arrives on May 30, hosted online by the 1st Free Independent Film Weekend until June 1. For updates, follow We Are Nomads on Facebook. Find out more about the documentary and its release via Brown Gal Trekker.

Updated 10:55 a.m. 19 May 2020. Cover photo courtesy of Marinel de Jesus.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Jonathan StullAdmin

I build content for @theoutbound. You can find me elsewhere on the internet @jonathandstull and at jonathanstull.co.