Human Stories 47’

Tulla: The Singing Wells

In the South of Ethiopia, in one of the driest regions in the world, the Borana people have become the guardians of the most precious common good: water.

Once a year, when the dry season reaches its peak in Oromia, after long days of walking, the Borana herders gather with their livestock around their «singing» wells, their only resource against the tragic effects of global climate change. These ancient hand-excavated wells are managed by the shepherds themselves, who pass buckets from hand to hand to fetch water. The repetitive chants that resonate in the well are work songs: they create a rhythm that keeps everyone working at the same pace.

While around the world there is a rush to privatize water resources, the Borana consider water as a common property and a right for everyone, allowing them to have access to water without any money being exchanged.

With a sensitive approach and evocative photography, the film follows the tribe’s daily life during a major drought, over a year, and shows a unique water management system that permits them to survive with the little available water.

A moving story in a dry land of astonishing beauty.

Production: Esplorare la Metropoli

Directors: Paolo Barberi and Riccardo Russo

awards & festivals

  • International Ethnographic Film Festival of Göttingen (Germany)

    Official Selection

  • TRT Documentary Award of Ankara (Turkey)

    Official Sélection

  • Globan Doc Fest (Germany)

    Official Selection

  • International Documentary Film Festival of Al Jazeera (Quatar)

    Official Selection

  • International Film Festival of Ankara (Turkey)

    Official Selection

  • Environmental Film Festival of Washington DC (United States)

    Official Selection

see also