Next we’ll roll out the red trail (carpet), when the festival gets underway this September in one of the most beautiful parts of Montana. September 18-20, audiences will be treated to three full days of screenings, panels, speakers, hard hitting and controversial issues and stories of survival and innovation as well as social events and networking in the beautiful setting of this historic and charming town known as Missoula. Missoula is in the heart of the Northern Rockies and if ever there was a perfect setting for an equine film festival, Missoula is it. In fact, people often joke that that there are more horses and cows in Montana than there are people and I think that’s true.
One of the top sessions this year for EIFF is be The Role of the Horse in Native American Life, Culture and History — a fitting theme for the first full-on equine film festival in the world. The horse literally changed the course of history for Native Americans and all of North America and several films that delve into this in deeply moving ways. The horse was an “enabler,” a way for people of the first nation to acquire food, land, to defend their homes and to go into battle when they had to. The horse through the centuries has been a driving force for many cultures and societies and we anticipate that many of the films will focus on this.
Another topic that we know will be front and center of EIFF is the wild horse issue and the related controversy of horse slaughter. Most audiences know very little about what happens to horses that are unwanted, homeless, abandoned or given up when they are not adopted and taken off to “the auction.” Many people don’t know what happens when wild horses are culled from the American west on the premise that public lands can’t support their numbers. What happens is, thousands of equines wind up at the livestock auction where individuals known as canners, bid anywhere from a couple of dollars to a few hundred dollars for the horse sold at auction. The horse is then shipped off to Canada or Mexico box-car style, crammed in, often crushing up again others frightened and starved where they face a gruesome end, being slaughtered for meat. Whatever you think about horsemeat, the process of shipment and slaughter is often inhumane and certainly controversial and when you realize that most of the horses sent to slaughter were once somebody’s pet or show animal, or racehorse or livelihood; many would call it a grim ending to the life of a magnificent creature.
EIFF was established in the hopes of being a leading voice for education, awareness and celebrating this iconic creature. EIFF gets messages out, information shared, that we can improve the welfare of horses worldwide by exposing the issues and having filmmakers tell their stories. The mission of EIFF is education and understanding to enhance the equine/human bond and to improve the welfare of the horse and other equines through, film, television and other media. This is the foundation of the EQUUS International Film Festival® and the driving force behind this event. EIFF showcases the hearts and souls of the thousands of individuals who live and dedicate their lives to horses, who work, train, use, and love the world of equines.
Right now we’re calling for film entries and we welcome sponsors and partners to help support this event. Sponsors and partners can help us promote, advance and enhance the EQUUS International Film Festival® – a film event, a conference, and a gathering of equine enthusiasts, equine advocates and equine storytellers. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.