The Whistling Village # 222

The Whistling Village

11:15, Sunday 16th June, CMB 1&2

rai 222 bird-village

  • Director/Anthropologist: Nicolas Rowell, Hannah Salvanes Mclean
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 26 mins
  • Country of Production: UK
  • Location: Kuskoy, Giresun, Turkey
  • Ethnic Group: Muslim
  • Language: Turkish, Kusdili, English (English)

This documentary follows a few inhabitants of a small village that use whistling as a means of communication. High up in the mountains by the black sea in Turkey, the village of Kuskoy, literally meaning 'The Bird Village', has had a tradition of whistling for over 400 years due its remoteness, difficult terrain, and lack of technology and roads. This film explores this unique skill that a small community developed in order to adapt to their physical environment.  We observe how the whistling is used, and how the bird language still survives despite the powerful challenges posed by increasingly accessible modern technology.  The elders still maintain, ‘that sometimes the old ways are better than the new’.

Return to the programme >>>


Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY