Morin Khuur - The Horsehead Fiddle

A Mongolian nomadic community contends with climate change as modernity and tradition clash. The lure of city life and illness of a beloved horse leads childhood friends onto divergent paths.

  • Joshua Sternlicht
    Fool in a Bubble, Boundaries
  • Joshua Sternlicht
    Fool in a Bubble, Boundaries
  • Xueli Han
    Boundaries, Horsehead Fiddle
  • Eyespot Films
    Fool in a Bubble, Boundaries, A White Horse for Batavia
  • Steppe Fixers Mongolia
    Roads and Kingdoms, Manhunt, Mongolia’s Got Talent Show
  • Erkhemjargal Javzanjamgan
    Key Cast
  • Khuubaatar Ulziisuren
    Key Cast
  • Delgerjargal Sharav
    Key Cast
  • Erdenetsetseg Tsend-Ayush
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Other
  • Genres:
    Drama, short, fiction, climate change, nomad, mongolia, minority, green, globalization, migration, social criticism
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 10, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    28,675 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 24P - Arri Alexa
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Joshua Sternlicht

Joshua Sternlicht is a film director and producer whose work explores the boundaries between documentary and fiction. His films examine relevant issues in nuanced human ways focusing on contemporary issues such as migration and climate change.

Joshua is the creative founder of Eyespot Films, a production company credited with international award-winning films including ‘20,000 Cycles’ inspired by Nikola Tesla and ‘Fool in a Bubble’ featuring South African apartheid poet/musician Syd Kitchen adn recently two fiction films 'Boundaries' & 'Morin Khuur (The Horsehead Fiddle)". Joshua worked in United States, Czech Republic, Philippines, Bosnia, China, Mongolia, and currently based in Berlin, Germany. His background as a Polish-American Jew enriches his international perspective. He holds an MA in visual art education from New York University and a BA in Film Studies at Columbia University.

Joshua taught IB Film Studies at International School Manila and Shanghai Community International School. He was recently selected as a VII agency photographer and a Kodak Filmmakers Award recipient. With each incarnation, Joshua’s mission has consistently been to create and share personal, thoughtful, entertaining, and cinematic stories. His background as a filmmaker and educator informs his unique understanding of how storytelling and causal intent are juxtaposed. Joshua is a devoted activist and supporter of environmental innovations. As a filmmaker and charter member of Charity: Water, he helped educate young students about the interconnections between climate, water, energy.

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Director Statement

“Morin Khuur (The Horsehead Fiddle)” is a story which melds a traditional Mongolian legend with a prevalent climate change issue in a nomadic community. This short film humanizes and expresses how water scarcity, drought and desertification has direct affect upon human relationships. Nomadic herders interconnectivity with animals and nature exposes a vulnerability whereby climate changes are exponentially felt. As these harmonious interrelationships are increasingly disrupted, community and culture itself are under threat. Animal loss, herder livelihood, disintegration of community life and urban migration all factor into this decline of nomadic life and unknown future. Morin Khuur (Horsehead Fiddle) is a traditional Mongolian instrument symbolic of cultural identity and reveals how music unites people. The legend of the Morin Khuur and contemporary issue of climate change juxtaposed together in this film offer a perspective to raise awareness and empower efforts to value and restore what human societies are losing from the past.