“These girls can ride, work along side their husbands, and still come home and make biscuits and a pie.”
Untitled “Cowbelles” Documentary is a film about strong, hard-working women who make their living in the cattle industry of rural Arizona. The women in this film belong to an organization started in 1939 by and for women in the cattle ranching business. They call themselves "Cowbelles".
The women who make up Cowbelles are a unique and extraordinary bunch. They inhabit seemingly contradictory personas. Though their name is sweet, the Cowbelles can castrate a bull, shoot a rattlesnake and survive off the land in an environment that gets an average of three inches of rain a year. They are tough as nails, able to ride 12 hours a day without food or water, and work cattle alongside their men... and still, at the end of the day they go home and whip up a mean cream cheese pie.
While films and books on the American West traditionally focus on and glorify cowboys and ranchers, this film tells the story of the women whose voices are seldom heard. It is also a larger story about American history. The Cowbelles are members of a long tradition of ranching that is in danger of dying out. The family-owned ranches that were once a cornerstone of the West are vanishing. The prices of land, feed, gas and other necessities of ranching have increased to a point where it is virtually impossible for a young person to start a ranch and where it is a daily struggle for survival for those already in the business.
With the Cowbelles as the primary focus, this film seeks to give viewers a window into the remarkable lives of contemporary ranching women, and to preserve on film some of the last examples of people practicing the traditional methods of cattle raising. As a means of telling their unique story, the film will interweave individual and group interviews, along with footage of the Cowbelles at work, and of the environment in which they live.
Funds raised in this Kickstarter drive will help to fund another trip to continue filming the Cowbelles, as well as help cover the costs of post production such as purchasing hard drives, audio mixing and color correction.
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