Neighbors, Wild Horses & Cowboys 1997, 60 minutes, 16 mm color, Wild Horse Productions Ltd. Roles: writer, producer, director, narrator, co-editor DOP: Kirk Tougas, Editor: Jana Fritch. Sound editor: Gael MacLean. Original music by Cindy Church and Nathan Tinkham
Award-winning filmmaker Linda Ohama captures the essence of the prairies in "Neighbor, Wild Horses & Cowboys". She revisits her home community of Rainier in southern Alberta to uncover intertwining stories of friendship, appreciation for nature, and neighborliness. Her exploration into rural society features a remarkable man who embodies the spirit of country life. Merritt is a cowboy, friend, neighbor, and at time, philosopher who is firmly planted on the prairies. His love for the people, wildlife, and landscape of his community has allowed him to find a unique balance in life.
As Ohama uncovers the people and places that are close to her heart, she draws viewers into any extraordinary world that only exists in the country. Spectacular footage of some of the last wild horses to roam free provides a stunning and symbolic backdrop for a moving celebration of prairie life and history.
Featuring original music by Bill Swenson, Cindy Church and Nathan Tinkham.
This film was rather unique in that the budget was independently produced entirely with broadcast licenses and grants (as opposed to investments that need to be repaid), and a few of my large paintings in trade for services. So when the film was completed, it was debt free.
In the Brooks area where we shot, there was a massive round-up of wild horses in the Suffield range (the British military training grounds) area. These captured feral horses was one more thing symbolizing the end of the romantic 'cowboy' from the days of the vanishing Old West.
As a young girl growing up in the country, I fell in love with horses, was given an oprhaned calf to bottle feed and raise on my own, amd our geese all had names, until one day 'George' ended up on a platter at a meal. Our mother neglected to explain before we ate what, or who, we were eating.
During a shoot in springtime, a bad blizzard hit while we filming outdoors on a remote ranch at the very edge of the badlands.. We donned our Arctic gear and the crew made me wear a mask that made me look like 'Hannibal Lector" (for the time they gave me that nickname) It was also calving season and it seemed more than many calves were born that night.
As we were doing an interview in the kitchen, the door swung open and a couple of half frozen newborns were being carried into the house. Everyone had to get up and help and the interview stopped as the chaos broke out. For me, it felt so natural. I am not sure about the crew. Fill the bathtub. Put the calves in the water. Dry them off as they kicked and wiggled. Chasing them around the room when they got their second wind. Then finally trying to bottle feed them. Awards & Festivals: - Gold Plaque, Chicago Intl Film Festival, 1998 - Special Jury Award, Yorkton Int Film Festival, 1998 - Special Jury Award, Northwest Film & Video Intl Film Festival, Portland, Oregon, 1998 First window national broadcaster: Vision TV