An international group of equine and equestrian filmmakers, trainers, wilderness, and horse enthusiasts from all disciplines will gather in Missoula September 18-20, to watch the world’s best horse films and to talk horses and other equines. But you don’t need to be a horse owner to enjoy or participate. Filmmakers and equine specialists from around the world and across the U.S. will be on hand to focus attention on a range of topics and issues, with an equine theme. Their destination will be the EQUUS International Film Festival & Conference, a premier venue for equine and equestrian films, with a message, a mission, or simply sharing great stories on the big screen. In addition to breathtaking films with broad messages, many of the Official Selections will be regional, U.S. or world premiers. Many filmmakers and equestrian experts will also be part of the three-day event.
The mission of this new film festival and conference is “education and understanding to enhance the equine/human bond & to improve the welfare of the horse and other equines through film, television and other media.” EIFF is an outreach and education project of an equine rescue and adoption organization with a goal of raising awareness. Organizers say they hope that by increasing our understanding of equine issues, communications, and training, as well as understanding the role of the horse in our lives, the bond between equine and human will be enhanced. It is also a celebration of all things equine.
The EQUUS International Film Festival celebrates the horse, the filmmakers who tell their stories, and educates in the “ways of the horse.” According to founder Janet Rose, “The horse has been integral to cultures all over the world, to our social histories, in every society, and even, to the development of nations. EIFF hopes to capture that diversity and importance.” Rose adds that a primary theme running through this year’s film festival will be the role of the horse in Native American life, culture and history. The film festival this year is co-sponsored by Native American Studies of the University of Montana. The Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Vernon Finley, will give the welcome on behalf of Montana’s tribal nations to the start of the film festival in the atrium of The Payne Family Native American Center.
Friday, September 18 will focus on films about horses in Native American life with some incredible stories. In addition to the Native American focus, the festival and conference will feature films on many issues including the controversy over wild horses on federal lands; horses as therapy animals for war veterans as the physically and mentally challenged. There are breathtaking films about horses in wilderness, such as “Untrammeled,” the quintessential wilderness film, as well as films on unique training programs, performance and cultural topics. “The stories,” Rose adds, “and the range of films featured, are far reaching and cinematically stunning. The films are beautiful, inspiring, and heart warming. There will be tears, laughter and moments of holding your breath. The quality of the films entered this year was amazing.”
The three days of film screenings and special presentations will be held in two venues at the University of Montana including The Payne Family Native American Center and the University Center Theater. A Welcome Reception, sponsored by Ride TV, will be hosted at the Dana Gallery Friday, September 18, opening day of EIFF. A filmmaker reception Saturday evening at the UC theater, follows several of the top films, including “Running Wild,” “Unbranded,” “Horses That Heal,” and “The Equestrian,” all finalists for best cinematography and Best of Category. Sunday, September 20, the Awards Ceremony announcing Best Of will be held at the UC Theater, emceed by former president of the Dude Ranch Association and well-known horseman, Robert Foster. For more information, a schedule, or to reserve tickets, visit http://www.equusinternationalfilmfestival.com