Equus film festival raises environmental awareness

The first ever New York film festival dedicated entirely to horses will take place from November 21 to 22.

A wide range of equestrian films will be screened.

One of the most interesting films on the programm must be “The horses of Fukushima”.   It tells the story of 40 horses close to the Fukushima nuclear plant.

As a horse lover this film will reach straight into your hart. After reading about the film on the German blog PferdKultur and after watching the trailer I immediately wanted to step up the barricades and fight against nuclear power. This film will have such an impact on everyone who sees it. I can’t think of a better film to raise environmental awareness, although there are some other interesting film on the programm, like Herd in Iceland  and various films about the American wild horse (Free Spirits – Saving America’s Wild Horses, Roaming Wild, Wild Caballo – The Wild Horses Of Pryor Mountain).

The Equus film festival has several awards categories, but no environmental awareness categorie (yet?). If there where one, The Horses of Fukishima would be my winner!

herd in iceland

Image: Herd in Iceland

About The horses of Fukushima

In Minami-soma, 20 km from the Fukushima No. 1 reactor, horses have historically been an important part of local life. Even until the 1970s, people kept horses to farm the fields. Soma Nomaoi is the 10-century-old traditional festival which celebrates the horses’ contribution to human society, as partners in warfare and farming.

Third-generation rancher Mr. Tanaka had 40 horses within the 20-km radius of the nuclear plant. In March 2011, he was forced to evacuate immediately after the nuclear accident, and had to abandon the horses. Only some weeks later could he re-enter the restricted zone, to find many horses starved to death and others suffering from trauma and disease. Over months, the filmmaker films the horses in proximity while he helps take care of Mr. Tanaka’s remaining horses on his farm in the restricted zone. The film focuses on the animals and their fate to tell the story of Japanese society and what it lost by buying into nuclear power.

Among the many Fukushima films emerging from the disaster, this project alone does not “explain.” The horses cannot speak, and the filmmaker does not anthropomorphize them. The audience is gradually drawn into their world of discovering how simple and beautiful it is to eat, to run, to live. The name of the horse festival Soma Nomaoi literally means “chasing wild horses.” Chasing and harnessing the wild – perhaps that is what humans have done throughout the history of civilization.

This is Matsubayashi’s second film in Fukushima, following Fukushima: Memories of the Lost Landscape, acclaimed in international film festivals and successful in Japanese cinemas. The third in the trilogy may possibly be about immigrants from Minami-soma, Fukushima, living in Brazil. It’s now in research stage.

Source: matsurinouma


Original title: Matsuri no uma
2013 / Japan / 74 min / HD, DCP / completed 2013

Filmed, edited, and directed by: Matsubayashi Yoju
Producers: Hashimoto Yoshiko, Kinoshita Shigeki
Additional camera: Yamauchi Daido, Kato Takanobu
Editing advisor: Osawa Kazuo
Sound design: Kuwaki Tomoji
Graphics: Naruse Kei
International affairs: Fujioka Asako
Distributed by: Tofoo Films
Produced by: Documentary Japan, Tofoo Films, 3JoMa Film

*All names in this document are family name first, given name second, in the Japanese tradition