Short Docs ‘Fast Horse’ and ‘Throat Singing in Kangirsuk’ Rep Canada at Sundance

Fast Horse

By Pat Mullen

Two Canadian short docs are heading to Sundance. Fast Horse and Throat Singing in Kangirsuk headline Canadian content in the line-up of short films and episodic works announced today for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Fast Horse, directed by Alexandra Lazarowich and produced by Niobe Thompson (The Great Human Odyssey), has the special honour of being Sundance’s “Day One” short selection to kick off the festival.

Fast Horse offers a portrait of Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow who joins a band of second-hand horses and and new jockey Cody Big Tobacco to compete in the return of the Blackfoot bareback horse-racing tradition. The film makes its U.S. premiere after scooping the prize for Best Short Doc at imagineNATIVE in Toronto earlier this year. “Indian Relay is North America’s original extreme sport,” said Thompson in a release. “It’s the reinvention of the ancient Blackfoot tradition of buffalo hunting on horseback – bareback, high speed, and unpredictable.” Fast Horse is available to watch in full below.

Throat Singing in Kangirsuk, from directors Eva Kaukai and Manon Chamberland and Wapikoni Mobile, makes its world premiere at Sundance with a self-portrait of traditional throat singing in Canada’s north. Both Fast Horse and Throat Singing in Kangirsuk add to Sundance’s notably diverse short line-up by bringing films by an about Indigenous people in Canada.

The news for Fast Horse follows the announcement that the film would play the hugely popular Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. Thompson’s short doc Boy Nomad also joins the tour with its story of a young boy growing up as the last of a breed of nomadic horsemen. Shot in exquisite 4K, the film offers a visually striking journey through the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia.

International docs announced for Sundance include Easter Snap from Hale County This Morning, This Evening director RaMell Ross, TIFF hit Dulce by Guille Isa and Angello Faccini, and Bassam Tariq’s Ghosts of Sugar Land, a tale of ISIS and young Muslim-American men.

The full list of Sundance docs announced today is as follows:


All Inclusive / Switzerland (Director and screenwriter: Corina Schwingruber Ilić) — Under the spell of mass entertainment on the high seas.

Black 14 / U.S.A. (Director: Darius Clark Monroe) — An archival social study examining white pathology and cognitive dissonance via media coverage of a 1969 racial protest at the University of Wyoming.

Cablestreet / U.S.A. (Director: Meredith Lackey) — A cable system designed by controversial Chinese company Huawei Technologies enables communication between an expert and a machine. Time succumbs to space in a ‘New Cold War’ played out in technological materials. World Premiere

The Dispossessed / India (Director and screenwriter: Musa Syeed) — Hazari is a traditional faith healer, exorcising patients who’ve been possessed by jinn. But in Kashmir, amidst the world’s longest running conflict, nothing is as it seems. World Premiere

Dulce / U.S.A., Colombia (Directors: Guille Isa, Angello Faccini) — In coastal Colombia, facing rising tides made worse by climate change, a mother teaches her daughter how to swim so that she may go to the mangroves and harvest ‘piangua’ shellfish with the other women in the village.

Easter Snap / U.S.A. (Director: RaMell Ross) — With a baited handling of American symbolism, an examination of five Alabama men, who resurrect the homestead ritual of hog processing in the deep South under the guidance of Johnny Blackmon. World Premiere

Edgecombe / U.S.A. (Director: Crystal Kayiza) — Through the deeply personal truths of three local residents, an examination of the ways trauma repeats and reinvents itself in rural Black communities.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Sudden Birth* (*but were afraid to ask) / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Scott Calonico) — The true story of how the Berkeley Police Department, the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, and Mr. Spock from Star Trek are all connected by one of the most disturbing educational films ever created. World Premiere

FAST HORSE / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Alexandra Lazarowich) — The Blackfoot bareback horse-racing tradition returns in the astonishingly dangerous Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles with second-hand horses and a new jockey on his way to challenge the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy. U.S. Premiere. DAY ONE

The Ghost Behind / U.S.A. (Director: Caroline Rumley) — Four friends. Many bands. Expectations. Addiction. Loss.

Ghosts of Sugar Land / U.S.A. (Director: Bassam Tariq) — In Sugar Land, Texas, a group of young Muslim-American men ponder the disappearance of their friend “Mark,” who is suspected of joining ISIS. World Premiere

It’s Going To Be Beautiful / U.S.A., Mexico (Directors and screenwriters: Luis Gutierrez Arias, John Henry Theisen) — The U.S. Border Patrol has been given the task of choosing a winning design for building a wall on the U.S.- Mexico border.

Libre / U.S.A. (Director: Anna Barsan) — Undocumented immigrants forced to spend months in detention are turning to private companies to secure their release on bond. In exchange, immigrants pay exorbitant monthly fees for a GPS ankle monitor they can’t remove.

Life in Miniature / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Ellen Evans) — A celebration of one woman’s mission to document the every day, as she carves a place for herself in the precious world of miniatures. U.S. Premiere

Life Overtakes Me / Sweden, U.S.A. (Directors: John Haptas, Kristine Samuelson) — Facing deportation, hundreds of refugee children in Sweden have become afflicted with Resignation Syndrome, withdrawing from the world into a coma-like state, as if frozen, for months, or even years. World Premiere

STAY CLOSE / U.S.A., China (Directors and screenwriters: Shuhan Fan, Luther Clement) — The underdog story of a fencer from Brooklyn who overcomes a gauntlet of hardships on the road to the Olympics. World Premiere

Throat Singing in Kangirsuk / Canada (Directors: Eva Kaukai, Manon Chamberland, Screenwriters: Emilie Baillargeon and Clark Ferguson) — Eva and Manon practice the art of throat singing in their native Arctic land, in the small village of Kangirsuk. World Premiere

The Tough / Poland (Director and screenwriter: Marcin Polar) — A discovery arouses a man’s imagination and propels him forward in an uncouth and obsessive way. Step by step, the camera participates as he explores of places hitherto unknown to humankind, which offer increasingly stronger resistance against human delicacy. World Premiere