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EQUUS INTERNATIONAL Film Festival® – 3/14-17 – Missoula, Montana
March 14 @ 8:00 am - March 17 @ 8:00 pm
A Powerful Platform for Voices of First Nation Horsemen & Women
The 2019 EQUUS INTERNATIONAL Film Festival®
March 14-17 at the Roxy Theatre in Missoula, Montana, promises a powerful platform for the voices and stories of First Nation horsemen and women when the equine film-making world comes to the heart of the American West for four days of screenings and special performances, before the Saturday night celebration of the EQUUS INTERNATIONAL Film Festival Awards.
EIFF founder Janet Rose has confirmed that this year’s special guests will include members of Thundering Hooves, the organization that produced the documentary Their Last Ride and its unflinching look at Presidio, Texas, through the eyes of a Cherokee woman and direct descendant of the Trail of Tears, as her Native community fights for the dignity of the horses bound for slaughter there. Written by Neta Rhyne and Michael Aku RoDriguez, directed by RoDriguez, and starring Rhyne and Spirit Horse, Their Last Ride is her personal journey into the world of horse slaughter and how her grassroots organization is providing a multi-cultural, co-creative artistic platform to create awareness about the Spirit of the Horse.
Among Their Last Ride guests will be Cherokee tribal member, Matthew Black Eagle Man. A descendant of the Dakota 38, he oversees the annual ride paying tribute to the 38 Dakota Sioux men hanged by the Army in Mankato, Minnesota, on the day after Christmas during the Dakota War of 1862. It remains the largest mass execution in American history. Author, song and screenplay writer, Lynny Prince, and married to Matthew Black Eagle Man, will also attend. Her music video, Ride it Out, A Song for Slaughter-Bound Horses, is featured in this year’s EIFF Official Selection and Award Finalist Documentary, Their Last Ride.
“Several producers of songs that are part of the film may also attend and perform,” Rose said. “It’s happening in an organic way and it’s wonderful when things evolve naturally – this year’s film festival should be a powerful and thought-provoking gathering of people who cherish horses and their place in all cultures.”
Friday, March 15, features special daytime screenings of Fast Horse, winner of Best Documentary Short in its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and a Short Film Grand Jury Prize nominee at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Alexandra Lazarowich, a Cree filmmaker whose documentaries on Indigenous peoples include Cree Code Talker (2016) and Alvaro (2015), Fast Horse follows Blackfoot bareback horse racing in a new form: the Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison RedCrow struggles to build a team with secondhand races and a new jockey, Cody BigTobacco, to face the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy at the Calgary Stampede.
EIFF is rolling out a red carpet to western Montana teachers and students to screen Fast Horse. ”Its story, culture and meaning are so important for young people,” said Rose. “We will be reaching out to area schools and reservation schools especially, to encourage them to attend the screenings. Fast Horse, juxtaposed with another coming of age story set in Mongolia that we are screening, called Boy Nomad, underscores a global message for young people about everyone having their own cultural and spiritual connection to the horse.” Many other age-appropriate films with global, cultural significance will also be selected for student and public audience screenings.
Other films chosen to officially screen include those that feature the internationally renowned “horse trainer,” Mustang Maddy, a young Colorado woman whose abilities to communicate with and train once wild mustangs is like watching magic in her interaction with horses. Films on veterans and their bond with horses and the ways in which horses are helping veterans to heal, following their war experiences are also featured. Included among these, a powerful documentary short produced by the Mustang Heritage Foundation called “Honoring Veterans. Honoring Mustangs.” Another moving documentary about healing and the role of the horse that is among the finalists — “A Horse, a Convict, a Chance for Change.” And a finalist in the documentary category, “Riding with thisAbilities,” about an inspiring and life-changing program in New York City, that partners horses with children from the New York City Housing projects, and the now closed Claremont Riding Academy. This documentary will shake audiences to the core with personal stories of inspiration and hope, heartache and heartbreak.
There will be a strong international flavor as well, with a unique film that has been part of an Italian museum exhibition called A Cavallo Del Tempo, following the horse through history, and centuries of culture and art. It is just one among many international entries with an equine theme.
The late Dayton O. Hyde, founder of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary was scheduled to receive the 2nd annual Equine Icon Award in person but the 93 year old hero of the wild horse world, passed away at the family ranch earlier last month. Dayton however, will be honored post-humously with the Sanctuary’s Executive Director and team.
In addition to film screenings, field trips are scheduled that include arena demonstrations by the founder of a ground-breaking program for veterans and others suffering from PTSD, called Herd2Human. There will also be hosted events at the Resort at Paws Up in the Blackfoot Valley. Organizers suggest interested participants register in advance to attend. For more information on films and registration, visit http://www.equusinternationalfilmfestival.com.
EQUUS INTERNATIONAL Film Festival® is an official outreach project of Horse Haven Montana. Learn more at http://www.equusinternationalfilmfestival.com or Facebook @EQUUSINTERNATIONALFilmFestival.