Nettie Wild’s Roundup
(November 18, 2020 – Vancouver, BC) Look closely. Even closer. It looks like a piece of art, and it is in its own way. It is in fact a herd of cattle in a unique setting. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has released a new short from acclaimed filmmaker Nettie Wild titled Roundup.
It runs less than 20 seconds over 3 minutes in length and from extreme closeups to hovering drone shots Wild captures a gathering of 20 farm families in BC’s Peace region as they herd thousands of cows into their unique, circular Sunset Prairie corral. Designed to calm cattle rather than box them in, there is not another circular corral like it in the country. The production is also also unique in that there is no narration and no interviews. They’re not needed. The images tell the story and it is something special.
At home in the bush or on horseback, Nettie Wild has experienced the cattle drive at this corral several times. But it was when she saw the corral framed from on high from a drone that she was captured by the puzzling and complex beauty of the circling herd. She returned in 2019 to film Roundup, a cinematic contemplation of cows, humans, landscape and architecture.
She is also wildly passionate about how the small ranch — in a bind between big business and animal rights activism — might just be a place of balance. Whether that balance can sustain in the face of meat processing industry pressures and the impact of ever-encroaching oil and gas operations on grazing range, is another question.