Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Documentary Branded With Audience Awards

In today's increasingly crowded field of digital documentaries, a top calling card remains the Audience Award from Hot Docs. The event, held every spring in Toronto, is North America's largest documentary film festival.

This year, the Vimeo On Demand Audience Award went to U.S. documentary Unbranded, screening tonight, July 5th, at the Michael D. Palm Theatre in Telluride. Here's how director Phill Baribeau and co. reacted to the honor:

Premiering Unbranded at the prestigious Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, Canada was a huge honor! Winning the Audience Award out of over 200 documentaries? Well, that just blew our minds! The best icing on a cake we've ever had! Describing the amount of emotion that we felt is impossible. Unbranded has taken three long, grueling, expensive, wonderful, but tiring years. Seeing the audience give a standing ovation make all the blood, sweat and tears worth it! It was an incredible experience that will never be forgotten.

The film certainly benefited from the fact that its central 3,000-mile trek of four mustang horse riders starts near the Texas-Mexico border area and ends in Canada. But Hot Docs was no fluke. A month later, Unbranded won an Audience Award at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride and it is under those auspices that the film is being presented tonight.

There are a couple of other special screenings coming up. On July 9th, Unbranded will be shown in St. Louis as part of a three-day event hosted by Extreme Mustang Takeover, a wild horse training competition. And on August 21st, the movie will have its Montana premiere at the Ellen Theatre in Bozeman.

Director Baribeau, who also did some of the cinematography, is an alumnus of Montana State University with a production company (Implement Productions) headquartered in Bozeman. Unbranded is his first feature-length effort.

[Unbranded photo gallery]

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