Follow Us on Twitter

Novo Amor release two-part video to highlight climate change and air pollution in Mongolia

Novo Amor

Story by Jack Foley

NOVO Amor has released a new short film with producer-directors Jorik Dozy and Sil van der Woerd (aka Sil & Jorik).

The trio’s most recent collaboration was the now multi-award winning video for the title track from Novo Amor’s debut album Birthplace. Now, they have released a two-part video – Chapter I sound-tracking a song entitled Sleepless and Chapter II sound-tracking Repeat Until Death, both of which are taken from the Birthplace album.

The trio’s collaborations have always sought to highlight an important human issue, with Novo Amor’s music providing a naturally cinematic soundtrack to the emotive scenes.

The Birthplace video tackled the monolithic problem of plastic in our oceans whilst, before that, the trio worked on a video which highlighted the plight of sulphur miners in

Indonesia (set to a track called Terraform). This latest collaboration shines a light on climate change and, in particular, the devastating impact of air pollution on humans.

In May 2018, The World Health Organisation (WHO) released staggering new data showing that 9/10 people globally breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. More than 90% of air pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa.

Around 3 billion people (more than 40% of the world’s population) still do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes, the main source of household air pollution.

WHO recognises that air pollution is a critical risk factor for non-communicable diseases, causing an estimated one-quarter (24%) of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer. (All statistics WHO 2018).

For this latest project, Sil & Jorik headed to Mongolia and spent almost three weeks capturing spectacular scenery of landscapes rarely seen in mainstream western media.

This two-part film tells the tale of a young Mongolian girl battling the health effects of air pollution, and her journey of recovery from modern life in the city to a lifestyle in the countryside that is more in-keeping with nature.

Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, is one of the world’s most polluted cities. During winter months, temperatures drop well below -35C and residents rely on burning coal for heat. The consequence of this is an intense period of air pollution which is wreaking havoc on the city’s residents.

All the while the city’s population is swelling as an ever-changing climate weakens the habitat of reindeer and the nomadic people who herd them (The Tsaatan) and leads them to migrate to the city to seek alternative employment.

Today, only 40 Tsaatan families remain.

Speaking about the ambitious shoot, Sil & Jorik said: “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.

“All the gear is operated with touch screens which would freeze up and only work if you touch them with your exposed fingers. We gradually had to acclimatise the gear whenever we wanted to bring it in from outside, as it would immediately condense.

“In the camp [of The Tsaatan], there was no running water, as all the water was deeply frozen, and there hadn’t been enough snow-fall yet to supply enough water. While we were shooting, our Mongolian crew cut big blocks of ice from the nearby lake, which we later drank as teas and soups.

“The toilet was a hole in the ground without a roof, and we didn’t shower for 12 days. We slept in a single layer canvas tent at first, but as that proved too cold at -25 at night, we were thankfully welcomed in a wooden cabin that one of the families just finished building.

“Besides these challenges, there were also plenty of magical moments, such as the arrival of the herd of reindeer each afternoon from the forest, the zero light pollution at night revealing the milky way, the stunning twilight, the reindeer willing to endlessly lick your hand, and the laughter coming from the tent of our Mongolian crew each night.”

Sleepless video

Repeat Until Death video