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Running Wild Premieres in South Dakota
Apr 18, 2013
“It’s never too late to act on our passion,” says filmmaker Suzanne Mitchell. It’s a sentiment she learned from Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary founder, Dayton O. Hyde. He’s the subject of her feature length directorial debut, Running Wild.
Mitchell first learned of the cowboy in 1992, while producing a two-hour special celebrating 20 years of People Magazine. A small article about Hyde caught her eye as she flipped through past issues of the popular glossy. It chronicled his efforts to rescue wild horses, most on their way to slaughter plants. At age 62, Hyde had left his Oregon ranch to purchase more than 11,000 acres of land near Hot Springs to give hundreds of wild horses a home.
Mitchell spent five days filming at the sanctuary, while Hyde regaled her with stories of his past. “We had to reduce the segment to 3 minutes,” says Mitchell, “but I felt he deserved a feature film.” The pair crossed paths again a few years later when Mitchell worked with Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple on the ABC special, New Passages. “It was about how the WW II generation was redefining themselves,” says Mitchell. Hyde made an excellent subject for the topic, but again his segment was brief and left Mitchell wanting more.
She got her chance when new high definition cameras made it possible to shoot quality footage at an affordable price. In 2002, Mitchell began production on the documentary with Kopple as executive producer. “Barbara said if you don’t start it, you will never finish,” says Mitchell. “I am so glad [Dayton] is still around to celebrate it.”
The cinema vérité was pieced from 120 hours of footage shot of Hyde at the sanctuary he still operates. Now 88, Hyde has been appearing with Mitchell at screenings in Utah, Arizona, Florida, and California. “People are seeing this film and realizing that if one cowboy can make a difference, so can I,” Mitchell says proudly. “Whatever your dream is, you can act on it.”
You can join Hyde and Mitchell for a screening of the film at Icon Event Hall + Lounge this Sunday, April 21, in Sioux Falls. A portion of proceeds from the VIP reception will directly benefit the Wild Horse Sanctuary. A screening is also planned for Wednesday, May 1, at the Black Hills Film Festival in Rapid City. View the trailer here.