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2011 Sundance Festival Awards Announced

Cindy Meehl, Julie Goldman and Buck Brannaman accepting the US Documentary Audience Award

January 30, 2011

The U.S. Audience Awards presented by Acura went to Cindy Meehl’s Buck for documentary

Also see Best of the Reviews and Awards

Best of Reviews, Awards and Selections

Los Angeles Times, Betsy Sharkey
Buck’ a documentary with plainspoken power
Sometimes a film comes along that answers a question that you didn’t realize you had. At the Sundance Film Festival this year, that movie is “Buck,” an exceptional slice of Americana about the charismatic real-life horse whisperer, an earthy, soft-spoken philosopher who can tame troubled souls, be they man or beast.
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New York Times, David Carr
You Can Also Lead a Horse to Nirvana. LAST Sunday evening, Buck Brannaman strolled the High Line, two stories above the streets of Manhattan and hundreds of miles from his native habitat, the ranch country where he runs clinics in enlightened horsemanship. The documentary “Buck,” which won a Sundance audience award this year and will open on Friday in New York and Los Angeles, details his shaman-like skills around horses and the people who ride them.
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Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan
Sundance gets real: More memorable documentaries come from this festival than anywhere else. This year’s group included “Buck,” “If a Tree Falls,” “The Interrupters,” “Project Nim,” “The Redemption of General Butt Naked,” “Senna” and “We Were Here.” Mention should also be made of non-Sundance docs “Circo” and “Nostalgia for the Light.”
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Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times – The best documentaries of 2011
One of the big documentary hits of the year. Buck Brannaman was the original “horse whisperer,” the character who Nicholas Evans based his novel on and Robert Redford used as the on-set consultant for his film. He has a way with horses, and Cindy Meehl’s documentary is moving as he shows them engaged in dances of understanding.
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Bloomberg, Rick Warner
Buck in Top 10 for 2011.  “Buck”: A touching documentary about Buck Brannaman, the inspiration for Robert Redford’s equine trainer in “The Horse Whisperer.” Brannaman overcame a Dickensian childhood to become a world-famous horse handler known for his uncanny ability to communicate with the animals.
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Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern
Buck Makes Top 10.  “Buck”: Few of us city dwellers ever get to meet the sort of American portrayed in Cindy Meehl’s documentary—a middle-age cowboy who gives horse-training clinics. Even in his own territory, though, Buck Brannaman is one of a kind, a man who has learned to give horses the love he lacked as a child.
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BUCK awards


2011 Festival Location Award/Acknowledgement
Jan 29 Sundance Film Festival Park City, UT Audience Award
March 4 True/False Film Festival Columbia, MO Official Selection
March 13 SXSW Austin, TX Official Selection
April 1 Crossroads Film Festival Madison, MS Best Feature Documentary
April 15 Sarasota Film Festival Sarasota, FL Official Selection
April 15 Full Frame Doc Film Festival Durham NC Audience Award
April 17 Nashville Film Festival Nashville, TN Official Selection
May 1 Independent Film Festival Boston, MA Official Selection
May 2 HOT DOCS Toronto, ON
Official Selection & Top Audience Favorite
June 3 Berkshires Film Festival Pittsfield, MA Official Selection
June 8 Seattle Int’l Film Festival Seattle, WA Official Selection
2nd runner up for Best Documentary
Golden Space Needle Award
June 16 Provincetown Int’l Film Festival Provincetown, MA HBO Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
June 21 SilverDocs Washington, DC Official Selection
June 22 Nantucket Film Festival Nantucket, MA Official Selection/Best of Fest
June 29 Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival Chilmark, MA Official Selection
July 1 Melbourne Int’l Film Festival Melbourne, Australia Official Selection
July 1 New Zealand Int’l Film Festival Official Selection
Sept 7 DocuWest Film Festival Golden, CO Best Feature Length Documentary
Sept 22 Zurich Int’l Film Festival Switzerland Best International Documentary Film
Sept 27 Reykjavik Int’l Film Festival Iceland Official Selection
Oct 6 Rio Film Festival Brazil Official Selection
Oct 7 Warsaw Film Festival Poland Documentary Feature Competition
Special Mention
Oct 13 Abu Dhabi Film Festival United Arab Emirates Official Selection
Oct 19 Bergen Int’l Film Festival Norway Best Documentary
Oct 21 Bermuda Docs Bermuda Official Selection
Nov 1 Canberra Film Festival Australia Audience Award
Best Documentary
Nov 1 Halls Gap Film Festival Halls Gap, Australia Official Selection
Nov 1 Rosebud Film Festival Official Selection
Nov 5 Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival Colorado Springs, CO Official Selection
Nov 9 Stockholm Sweden Official Selection
Nov 10 Rockport Film Festival Rockport, TX Best Documentary Feature
Nov 16 Int’l Doc Film Festival Amsterdam The Netherlands Official Selection
Nov 28 Gotham Independent Film Awards New York, New York Audience Award Nominee
Dec 2 National Board of Review New York, New York 2011 Top 5 Documentaries
Dec 2 True West Magazine Readers Choice Award
Editors Choice Award
2012 Festival Location Award/Acknowledgement
Jan 1, 2012 Perth Arts Festival Perth, Australia Official Selection
Jan Cinema Eye Honors 2012 New York, New York Audience Choice Award
Feb 3 Princeton Environmenal Film Festival Princeton, NJ Audience Favorite
March 22 Spur Award  Encampment, WY Documentary Script Category
March 23 EcoFocus Film Festival Athens, GA Official Selection
May 3 – 12 DocAviv Tel Aviv, Israel Official Selection
May 24 Christopher Awards New York, New York Feature Film Winner
August 22, SAMHSA Voice Awards Hollywood, CA Nominated for Voice Award
September 14  Humanitas Prize  Beverly Hills, CA  Humanitas Prize Finalist

BUCK wins 2012 Spur Award

ENCAMPMENT, Wyo., March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Santa Fe, N.M., author Johnny D. Boggs won Spur Awards for two novels, while Rod Miller of Sandy, Utah, also won two Spurs this year for poetry and a short story, Western Writers of America has announced.

Director Cindy Meehl and producer Julie Goldman (Cedar Creek Productions) will receive the Spur in the Documentary Script category for BUCK, a film about legendary horseman Buck Brannaman.

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BUCK on National Catholic Register’s Best Films of 2011

Buck. Luminous and uplifting, documentarian Cindy Meehl’s homage to laconic, low-key “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman is a powerful portrait of leadership, redemption, healing and understanding — a film that’s as much about being a better person as a better horseman. Mild language; references to an abusive childhood; a couple of violent horse moments and a moderately serious injury. Fine for older kids.

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Cinema Eye Audience Choice Award

Audience Choice PrizeCindy Meehl, Andrea Meditch, Julie Goldman, accept an award onstage during the 5th Annual Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking at the Museum of the Moving Image on January 11, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images North America)

Other articles on the Cinema Eye awards:

Realscreen, Of the other winners, the Audience Choice Prize went to Cindy Meehl for BUCK
TheWrap, The Audience Choice Prize went to Cindy Meehl’s “Buck,”
Studio Daily, The Audience Choice Prize went to Buck, directed by Cindy Meehl,
Alt Film Guide, winner(s) were Cindy Meehl’s Buck, which took home the Audience Choice Prize

Movie City News – BUCK in Top Ten for 2011

Kim Voynar

Cindy Meehl working on BUCK

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Buck, Cindy Meehl
One of the surprises of Sundance, this quiet, modest doc introduces us to the real life model for “The Horse Whisperer,” Buck Brannaman, a man who overcame childhood abuse to become a calm, gentle man who trains horses by treating them with the understanding and compassion with which he wishes his own abusive father had treated him and his brother. One of the most delightful films of any genre last year.

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Citizen critics pick BUCK as one of best movies for 2011

The Union-Tribune’s Citizen Critics sat through a year of movies ranging from the great (“The Help”), to the confusing (“Anonymous”), to the lukewarm (“Larry Crowne”), to the just plain bad (“The Sitter”).

Here are their favorite movies of 2011:


The movie genre that caught most of my attention this year is the documentary, and from that group my favorite by far was “Buck.” This film about Buck Brannaman the real-life horse whisperer is fabulous. He is an inspiration, not only in his communication, understanding and compassion with horses but also in how he overcame the unbelievable adversity of his abusive childhood. The connection between man and horse is a large focus of the film, but it is also about sensitivity and respect for every living being. Buck’s poetic grace is felt throughout, and it is remarkable to see how truly gifted he is and what an extraordinary life he has created. This is the best 88 minutes I spent in a theater this year!

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BUCK selected in Alison Gang’s Best Movies of 2011
December 30, 2011

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2011 was an outstanding year for documentaries
Mark Hinson, Democrat Senior Writer | December 29, 2011

This year contained such a wealth of worthy documentaries that, hey, I decided to turn the spotlight on 10 of the best. It was harder to keep this list to 10 than it was to come up with 10 narrative films. You really can’t go wrong with any of these picks:

3.) “Buck” — Should be required viewing for anyone who owns a horse or has ever ridden one of the planet’s most complicated, iconic and bite-y animals. Thanks to a drunken and abusive father, horse-trainer Buckshot “Buck” Brannaman should have turned out to be one ornery cuss you wouldn’t want to sit next to in a bar. Instead, the beaten child grew up to become a stoic cowboy who identifies with beasts of burden that have been kicked and whipped. First-time filmmaker Cindy Meehl steers clear of making a sappy Oprah-style special and lets the philosophical Buck do the talking. She knows a star when she sees one. (Available on DVD)