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Horse-Themed Film Festival Rides Into Harlem This Weekend

By Gustavo Solis | November 20, 2014 2:09pm
 The Equus Film Festival will run from Friday o Saturday at MIST Harlem.
The Equus Film Festival will run from Friday o Saturday at MIST Harlem.
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Equus Film Festival

HARLEM — Saddle up, the world’s biggest horse-themed film festival is galloping into Harlem this weekend.

The Equus Film Festival will be showing 119 movies at MIST Harlem Friday and Saturday in three different theaters from noon to 9 p.m.

“I am so excited,” said Lisa Diersen, the festival’s founder. “It is all equestrian films. All of the films in here are about horses or have horses as part of the story line.”

The local favorite should be "Black Rodeo," a film about a rodeo held on 150th Street and Fredrick Douglass Boulevard in 1971.  It features appearances by Muhammad Ali and music from Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Little Richard.

 Scenes from the 1972 film Black Rodeo.
Black Rodeo
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“And the people of Harlem stood amazed,” says the trailer's narrator. “For they were about to learn that black cowboys could bust broncs, rope cattle, wrestle steers and ride bulls as well as any man that ever lived — maybe better.

Other highlights include a film about therapy horses helping girls in India who have been rescued from sex traffickers, a Japanese film about a rancher that refused to kill his irradiated horses after the Fukushima disaster, and the Liam Neeson-narrated film to save the city’s horse carriages.

Diersen, who raises horses in St. Charles, Ill., created the film festival last year as a way to share her love of horses. The first festival had 30 filmed which were shown in her hometown theater.

When she decided to host the festival in New York this year, Black Rodeo inspired her to come to Harlem.

“To me, it’s really interesting to be able to bring this film back to Harlem,” she said.

The film will be shown Saturday morning at 10:30 during a special session that free to the public.

Tickets to the festival are $25. Children 15 and younger get in free.