Winter Nomads

Directed by Manuel von Sturler

85 minutes / Color
French / English subtitles
Release: 2014
Copyright: 2013

Pascal, 53, and Carole, 28, are shepherds. In the month of November 2010, they embark on their long winter transhumance: four months during which they will have to cover 600 km in the Swiss region, accompanied by three donkeys, four dogs and eight hundred sheep.

An exceptional adventure is about to begin: They brave the cold and the bad weather day in and day out, with a canvas cover and animal skins as their only shelter at night. This saga reveals a tough and exacting profession requiring constant improvisation and unflinching attention to nature, the animals and the cosmos.

An odyssey through a region undergoing profound changes that render this kind of expedition more difficult every year, particularly when the grass for the sheep has to be found between villas, railroad tracks and industrial areas.

An eventful journey with surprise encounters, moving reunions with farmer friends, nostalgic figures of country life that is shrinking away fast.

A film dominated by the strong personalities of Pascal and Carole, whose relationship and joie de vivre transform this transhumance into a magnificent hymn to freedom, at opposite extremes of our comfortable reality.

is an adventure film, a contemporary road movie, a reflection of our current world, which takes us back to our roots and our inner questions.

"An exhilarating verite work!"—Sheri Linden, LA Tmes

"Swiss-born director Manuel von Sturler applies a verite approach to their undertaking, gently drawing upon the rough, bucolic romance of the 'transhumance'."—Nicolas Rapold, The New York Times

"Showcases nature, but its real theme is its subjects' engagement with their work... Visuals don't skimp on the adorable."—Jay Weissberg, Variety

"As beautiful as it is bleak."—Village Voice

"Highly recommended! An exercise in the orchestration of animals toward a goal."Educational Media Reviews Online

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A film by Manuel von Sturler

Select Accolades

  • World Premiere, Berlinale Film Festival 2012​
  • Best of Fest, Amsterdam IDFA Film Festival 2012
  • Golden Gate Award, San Francisco Internatinoal Film Festival 2012
  • Best Swiss Film, Visions du Reel Internatinoal Film Festival 2012
  • Best Documentary, European Film Academy 2012


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