THE ARAL SEA. Documentary film

THE ARAL SEA. Documentary film



Рабочая группа

Author & art director: Lazizbek Hamidov
Producers: Abror Ismoilov & Humoyun Aminov
Screenwriter: Muhabbat Mamirova
Coordinator: Abdulaziz Abbazov & Aziza Hazratqulova
Operator and editor: Akmal To'xtayev
Graphic designers: Doston Daminov, Diyor Rasulov
Motion designers: Ismoilxon Xusniddinov, Shohrux Saparboyev
Illustrator: Mohina Raimova


Introduction and problem

The Aral Sea is located on the border of Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south and it was considered the fourth-largest lake in Central Asia. In the 1950s, large-scale irrigation projects were implemented in the Aral Sea basin. At that time, projects related to cotton cultivation were launched. After Stalin, Khrushchev continued to plant cotton.

Irrigation projects were too large in scale and insufficient attention was paid to downstream requirements. In addition, open waterways, methods that cause a lot of garbage, are useless, and the need for proper drainage has not been seriously considered.

These factors caused the drying up of the Aral Sea.


Over the course of one week, we explored the city of Muynak, Karakalpakstan, a land that was once flourishing with water. To understand the full picture of this crisis we went further to the shoreline of the Aral Sea, which is 200 kilometers away from Muynak. We talked with residents living on the shores of the Aral Sea, interviewed representatives of the last generation who made a living by fishing in the sea and recorded it on camera lenses.

Our film aims to give an idea of the actual size of this ecological crisis and expose the world of Karakalpak residents who vividly remember the starting point of their endless struggles. Their shaking hands still remember the last time when they went fishing. Their bodies are shivering. Their voices are trembling. These people never stop questioning why it happened and what can be done about it.


Even though the main audience of the documentary film on the YouTube platform was the Republic of Karakalpakstan, residents of other regions of the republic have become more aware of this problem. In total, the video has received more than 600 shares and nearly 500 comments and has managed to collect more than 270 thousand views to date. It created resonance among media and bloggers, and we were able to collect reviews from them as well. Through this, our main goal was to be able to influence the environmental problem related to the Aral Sea.