The Roar of a Lion Cub

The Roar of a Lion Cub starts where most films about street kids end, the day after they are taken in - we assume it’s a happy end, but what really happens next? The film tackles the ethical challenges that arise when an unprepared, but determined American cinematographer decides to support three Mongolian orphans as they navigate their reintegration into society.


The Roar of a Lion Cub is a feature-length documentary that follows the unlikely relationship between an American filmmaker and three Mongolian street kids. Martina, an accomplished cinematographer, meets Baaskaa, a sixteen-year old boy, on a film shoot about homeless kids in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. Moved by his bleak situation and profound loneliness, she decides to intervene.

Initially successful in her efforts, Martina takes on two more teens, Vanni, a boy and Nasaa, a girl. Unprepared, but determined, Martina becomes their unofficial, long-distance surrogate mother, encouraging them to heal and change, while traveling back and forth between New York City and Mongolia. But with time, the teens, especially Baaskaa, start to rebel and demand independence. Martina begins to question the effectiveness of creating opportunity without taking into consideration the teens’ emotional maturity. Delving into her own past, she is forced to ask herself some difficult questions about her motivations and becomes unsure, who is helping whom.

The Roar of a Lion Cub shines a light onto childhood trauma, poverty, inequality, inadequate education and gender equality. An inspiring story, told with unswerving honesty, the film explores the potential pitfalls and triumphs of helping children in a community other than your own. Without ever being sentimental, The Roar of a Lion Cub shows us what’s possible when we tap into our compassion and overcome our fear to connect to another human being.




Martina Radwan, Director/Producer/Cinematographer – Martina, a native German, based in NYC for 20 years, has been the cinematographer of award-winning documentaries, including Saving Face, for which she earned a 2013 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography. The film was also the winner of the 2012 Academy Award and the 2013 Emmy for Best Documentary. Most of her documentaries, like Through A Lens Darkly, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe and Hot Coffee can be seen on national and international screens, as well as HBO, Showtime and PBS. Her directorial debut Spring in Awe received the Media Awareness Award at the Media That Matters Film Festival, 2004, as well as the Best Editing Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival. Her second film Aliens Among Us was part of DocuWeek 2009.


Jonathan Gray, Executive Producer has built a vibrant community within the independent film world during his two decades as an entertainment attorney and award-winning film producer. Jonathan is the founding partner of Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers LLP (“GKSSD”), an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and a frequent lecturer at New York University and the School of Visual Arts. GKSSD has performed production counsel services on over 400 films, including more than 60 that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Notable films among these include Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, The Visitor, The Station Agent, Black Swan, Beasts of the Southern Wild,The Beginners, Skeleton Twins,Obvious Child and Another Earth.


Selenge Yadmaa, Producer (Mongolia) – During the shift from communism to capitalism in the 1990s, Selenge was one of the leading producers at Eagle TV, the first American run news outlet in Mongolia. Her broadcasting and reporting style helped shape national politics and earned Eagle TV numerous awards. Selenge is currently the News Director of Canal2, a new TV station she helped develop. It became the second most popular news station in Mongolia after Eagle TV, within two months of being on-air. Her professional experience, as well as her ability to bridge cultural differences between locals and foreigners, made her a perfect producer for The Roar of a Lion Cub.

Anne Fabini

Anne Fabini, Editor was nominated four times for the German Film Award (German Oscar) as Best Editor. Her recent work includes Of Fathers and Sons and Return to Homs. Both films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where they won the World Documentary Grand Jury Award in 2018 and 2014 respectively. For The Tale, directed by Jennifer Fox, Anne was nominated for the Spirit Award, Best Editing. She also edited Morris From America, Houston, More Then Honey and California City. Anne Fabini was born in Romania and studied theater and film in Berlin.


Julia Dengel, Cinematographer - Julia Dengel has been working on such films as Jennifer Fox’s Learning to Swim, Ross Kauffman’s TV series War Photographers, Susan Kaplan’s Battle at Oyster Creek, as well as Norman Green’s MTV reality series I’m from Rolling Stone. She has shot in Europe, Africa, and all over the US. She was producer, director, and cinematographer for the PBS documentary Cowboys, Indians, & Lawyers, which aired nationwide in 2007.


Arianna Lapenne, Cinematographer is a Director and Cinematographer of documentary, TV, and commercial work. Arianna has shot and directed for The New York Times, Al Jazeera, and National Geographic and her cinematography can be seen in the Emmy award-winning SHOWTIME series, "The Years of Living Dangerously", as well as on feature docs in the Sundance Labs, on PBS and VICE. Arianna’s Hurricane Sandy coverage for The New York Times was part of the breaking news coverage awarded The Edward R. Murrow Award.


Eric Hachikian, Composer - is an Armenian-American composer, whose music has been hailed by the New York Times as "lovely and original," and his compositions and orchestrations can be heard in a variety of major motion pictures (The Place Beyond The Pines; Kill The Messenger; 50/50; The Wrestler) and network television shows. As Creative Director and co-founder of Soundcat Productions, a boutique music company with studios in New York City and Los Angeles, Eric has written and produced music for numerous national and international ad campaigns including Apple, Google, Budweiser, BMW, among many others. Eric compositions have been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in such venues as New York's Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and The Getty in Los Angeles. A classically trained composer and perpetual student of world music, Eric's musical instincts have no boundaries, and his multi-genre interests result in a unique and personal sound.


Fiscal Sponsor

Women Make Movies
115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200 New York, NY 10001 Tel: 212-925-0606

Women Make Movies acts as a non-profit tax-exempt organization and accepts tax deductable contributions for The Roar of a Lion Cub (under fiscally sponsored projects, letter R)


Children of the Blue Sky

Children of the Blue Sky is the non-profit organization Martina Radwan created in 2008, after she met Baaska on a shoot.

Supporters of Children of the Blue Sky

Jeff Mangum, Neutral Milk Hotel, and filmmaker Astra Taylor have been ardent supporters of the organization. In 2009, they organized an art auction, and in 2012 they made Children of the Blue Sky the beneficiary of their two-year concert tour. In addition, Children of the Blue Sky has numerous long-time sponsors.


Lion Cub, Inc.
Martina Radwan, Director / Producer
C: 917 251 6366

© Lion Cub Inc. 2014