Although based in Germany, Byambasuren Davaa has devoted her career to capturing the culture of her native Mongolia. Her films combine elements of documentary and narrative cinema, combining scripted stories with images of their subjects, mostly Mongolian nomads going about their daily business. Davaa began her career as a television presenter and assistant director in Mongolian television before moving to Munich to study documentary film at the University of Television and Film Munich.
She made her feature-length debut with the docudrama The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003), co-directed with Luigi Falorni, which is a look at how a nomadic family in the Gobi Desert copes with the birth of a rare white camel rejected by its mother. The picture earned an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature and brought Davaa and Falorni the Director’s Guild Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary. Davaa followed the film with her first solo directing feature, The Cave of the Yellow Dog (2005), about a family of nomadic shepherds dealing with their daughter’s adoption of a dog. Her most recent film, Veins of the World (2020), follows an 11-year-old boy’s desire to finish his father’s fight against global mining companies extracting gold in the Mongolian steppe.