(Telluride) “The Fate of the Wild,” a short documentary, will be featured from May 25-May 28 at the Mountainfilm festival. The short feature is about the life and work of our founder, Laura Leigh.
Held every Memorial Day weekend, Mountainfilm is a documentary film festival that showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter. Along with exceptional documentaries, the festival goes beyond the film medium by bringing together world-class athletes, change makers and visionary artists for a multi-dimensional celebration of indomitable spirit. Mountainfilm, which includes interactive talks, free community events, a gallery walk, outdoor programming and presentations, aims to inspire audiences to action on worthy causes. (from website of Mountainfilm).
Multiple events will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Mountainfilm; the films, adventures and indomitable spirit. “The Fate of the Wild” will join the anniversary celebration that will screen features on many important topics including climate change and human rights. The work of our founder for wild horses joins films such as the work of Jane Goodall for Chimpanzees, a short feature on the life of Katie Lee who went from Hollywood starlet to defender of the environment.
“It is such an honor to see wild horses included in this important venue. The chaos we are facing from range through DC politics, and the urgency of maintaining the momentum of our work, plus a minor injury, have created obstacles to finding the time to attend in person. However, we have spent a lot of time with film maker Andrew Ellis in field and in correspondence. We spoke a lot after the piece appeared in the New Yorker. I have every confidence that Andrew will carry not only the world our wild horses live in, but the integrity required to speak from his core. This work is not just about images of the plight of our wild horses and wild places; it is about having the strength to stand up against those simply set on exploitation and speak the truth of the time and place. Andrew knows not only what I am, but who I am. He knows that our work for our wild horses carries that voice…. and I know he will carry it well.” ~ Laura Leigh
From the website of Andrew Ellis: “While making a documentary about inmates that work with wild horses, I e-mailed Laura Leigh, a wild horse expert, asking for advice on how to film a helicopter roundup. She said if I wanted to film a roundup this year, I’d better come to Nevada in two days because that’s the last chance I’ll have (this year). I was on a plane the next day, but I didn’t expect that Laura’s personal story would captivate me so deeply.”
For more information: Mountainfilm.org
We are editing this article to add what WHE sent to Mountainfilm. “Wild Horse Education (WHE) was born on the dashboard of a moving vehicle and has continued to advocate for America’s wild horses from the ground up. First hand documentation has lead to effectively engaging the system for change from field office, DC politics and litigation. WHE is the only organization in history to litigate against inhumane conduct at roundups; WHE won again and again and today we have a humane handling policy to push back against cruelty. WHE has won massive First Amendment rulings now used in civil rights cases nationwide. Our public lands are under assault and disappearing fast. Our wild horses are the only animal in our nation defined, not by what it is biologically, but by the very land it stands on. Today WHE stands between our wild horses and the threats aimed at their destruction.”
In 2008 Leigh met an old mustang in a kill pen. The kill broker would not sell him to her claiming he had to “make weight” on a shipment. She offered him a thousand dollars for the beat up old horse, cash, and it was refused.
It amazed her that something could be wild and free and at the end of the day we shipped it off to Mexico to be stabbed to death. She began writing about mustangs that day, shifting her focus from domestic horse slaughter to our wild mustangs and public lands.