Chasing Wild Horses. 2008. TV Documentary. 50 minutes.  Directed by Matt Trecartin, Arcadia Entertainment Inc., Suite 301, 6454 Quinpool Road, Halifax NS, B3L 1A9

Review: As someone with a background in environmental issues, I was eager to view "Chasing Wild Horses", the 2007 documentary that follows New York-based photographer Roberto Dutesco as he captures on film the wild horses of Sable Island.

Many documentaries are able to reach the viewer on an intellectual level by delivering facts and supporting images, but often come across a little sterile. In contrast, Dutesco's film reaches the viewer at a much deeper and emotional level by allowing the beauty of the horses against the Sable landscapes to tell much of the story, at times without relying on narration to lead the viewer to the filmmaker's intended vision. Often the cinematography captures the same artistic spirit as Dutesco's photography, as if allowing the viewer to experience his inspiration through their own eyes. Backed with an emotive score by Phil Sedore's thoughtful solo guitar melodies, the film makes a strong impact on the viewer.

The true value of this documentary, however, lies beyond Dutesco's artistic motivation, placing emphasis on the need to protect this unique and fragile environment and its natural inhabitants.

"Chasing Wild Horses" is a strong statement on how it is becoming increasingly important to protect these environments of natural beauty from the ever expanding human footprint. Dutesco is hopeful this documentary will reach beyond the shores of Sable Island. In one scene, Dutesco reflects on his experiences on the island, expressing his thoughts on the global potential of film and the beauty captured onscreen: "Perhaps some of that beauty will reveal the compassion that we all have towards the natural habitat. With that compassion perhaps we'll be able to go further and make sure that some places in this world are being left alone, untouched, just like Sable Island".

With access to Sable Island restricted to "by permission only" access, "Chasing Wild Horses" provides a thoughtful and fascinating peek into the lives of the Sable Island horses that few people will ever get to experience first-hand. And this is how it should be. Beyond the artistic merit of the film we are left with a strong message on the impact of humans on the environment. I have highly recommended this film to others as a powerful way of reaching those who have yet to appreciate the importance of protecting the environment. It can be enjoyed by the youngest child developing a curious interest in horses to an adult with who has flipped on the news only to hear another news story on the damage our environment has sustained in the last century.

Prepared for the Sable Island Green Horse Society
by Megan Tuttle, 2008 ©

Note: Megan Tuttle spent two weeks on Sable Island while working on an environmental assessment and remediation project in October 2005. ZL.