About The Movie

Many tribes of southern Ethiopia possess a tradition-rich culture based on ancient beliefs and rituals dating back hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Living in almost total isolation in some of the planet's harshest conditions – a region National Geographic calls the "last frontier" – these indigenous peoples' lives are diverse and resilient.

Drawn from Water takes you to Ethiopia’s Omo River Valley revealing the tragic destiny of the mingi children. Mingi, a bad omen or curse which is thought to bring drought to the land, presents an epic life struggle for families of children bearing certain characteristics.

This film tells the story of one courageous tribal member, and a small group of photo-journalists, who were challenged to act on behalf of the mingi children. The 30 minute documentary tells their collective story, embracing a shared vision for a future free from mingi practices.

An estimated 1,000 children are killed each year due to harmful tribal practices in this region. Ancient beliefs become a life threat to children who are considered mingi– a curse or bad omen thought responsible for bringing drought to the land, and believed to be caused by various conditions such as birth out of wedlock or common types of childhood dental formation. So far, up to 30 children have been rescued and cared for, with more on the way.

Additionally, an estimated 143 million children in the developing world are orphans with an alarming 5 million of those children in Ethiopia. Every day 5,760 more children become orphans and 1,667 under 5 die from malnutrition or preventable disease.


Director's Statement

When I first learned about the tragic fate awaiting innocent children who were thought to bring a curse on their land, I was devastated. The account of mingi absorbed my thoughts every day. I was haunted by the image of a child being rescued on the very river in which she was scheduled to be drowned. I wanted to do whatever I could to support this worthy cause. When the opportunity to go to Ethiopia arose, it wasn’t a difficult decision. Camera in hand, I had no idea where the journey would lead. The moment I held one of the abandoned children in the orphanage, I was personally touched on a deep level. It was difficult for me to comprehend that this child, if not rescued days ago, would be dead at that very moment. From that time, I felt like my camera was witness to a moment in time, a brief glimpse into a much grander story. I am honored to have been part of this project. I hope you’ll make a similar decision to become involved in whatever way you can.

- Nick Kalbach Co-founder Compathos Foundation

For More Information

Visit Compathos for the behind-the-scenes details as well as acknowledgements of the courageous efforts and support from those whom this compelling story has inspired thus far…

About the Soundtrack

This score is inspired by the indigenous music of Ethiopia and the colorful and traditional sounds of Africa. It is a sensitive, haunting and eclectic musical journey.

Award-winning, Hollywood composer Eric Hester speaks about the score, "Never before have I been involved in a project that I felt this connected to. The story of Drawn from Water is true. This quickly turned from a scoring gig to something that weighed heavily on my heart."

"Before I began writing I spoke with Elias Negash who served as the Music Advisor on the film. Elias is from Ethiopia and he provided a wealth of knowledge from regional musical differentiations, scales, traditional arrangements and instrumentation. I also studied native folk and indigenous music from Ethiopia, various tunings and the like. This was an amazing experience for me and I am truly honored to have been part of this project."

Watch The Movie

Recent News

  • 9 December 2013

    2013 Film Festival Awards

    Winner Award of Merit Short Documentary – The Accolade Competition, Best Short Documentary – Utopia Film Festival,Washington, D.C., Official Selection Chain Film Festival, NYC, Official Selection – Underexposed Film Festival

  • 26 June 2013

    Drawn from Water main character Lale Labuko becomes National Geographic Explorer

    Lale Labuko becomes an emerging National Geo Explorer. “As a result of his impassioned advocacy efforts with the tribal elders, Labuko’s greatest accomplishment came in July 2012 when his own tribe, the Kara, officially banned mingi. “We completely changed the … Continue reading

  • 1 April 2012

    Drawn from Water Movie to partner with Global Team for Local Initiatives (GTLI)

    The producers of Drawn from Water the Movie are proud to announce partnership with Global Team for Local Initiatives (GTLI) which is dedicated to helping indigenous people lead healthy lives. GTLI works closely with tribal elders to help communities implement … Continue reading

  • 1 April 2012

    FREE award winning MP3 music downloads

    Visit Compathos Facebook Page to receive FREE MP3 music downloads from award winning motion picture soundtrack, with musical contributors Sigur Ros and award winning Hollywood composer Eric Hester. Inspired by the indigenous music of Ethiopia, this colorful and eclectic journey … Continue reading

  • 1 April 2012

    Special Cover Story on CNN

    CNN article By Matthew D. LaPlante -Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia? Some interventions for children have been made but does the fear that fuels the killing of still exist?

  • 7 November 2011

    Music Awards – ISC & John Lennon Songwriting

    Drawn from Water musical score by award-winning Hollywood composer Eric Hester with lyrics and performance by Lale Labuko – receives Honorable Mention in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) with over 15,000 entries from 115 countries.  Drawn from Water musical score … Continue reading

  • 7 November 2011

    John Lennon Songwriting Contest – Winner

    Drawn from Water musical score by award-winning Hollywood composer Eric Hester with lyrics and performance by Lale Labuko – was the finalist in the “World” category of John Lennon Songwriting Contest. The song not only received the honor of winning … Continue reading

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