‘Buck’ Shortlisted for Best Documentary Oscar Nomination

Brad Estes
SheridanMedia.com 12/29/11

The documentary ‘Buck’, which tells the story of Sheridan-area horse clinician Buck Brannaman, has seen its fair share of accolades since its release, and now it’s being talked about as Oscar-worthy.

Brannaman confirmed Wednesday that they are in the running for “Best Documentary” for the 2011 Oscars, but said that they won’t know until the top five are announced on January 24th. Ballots went out Tuesday for voting.

The film won an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival this past spring, along with being recognized at several others it appeared in overseas.

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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)


Film Feature: The 10 Best Overlooked Films of 2011

Submitted by mattmovieman | December 28, 2011


There’s a striking early moment in Cindy Meehl’s documentary where horse trainer Buck Brannaman slows the speed of his walking to demonstrate how he might move as an old man. His horse observes this change and adjusts its movement accordingly by following its owner at a slower speed. It becomes quickly apparent that Brannaman has somehow created a silent language with horses that allows him to calm and navigate their minds. As one of the nation’s most respected practitioners of the “natural horsemanship” method, Brannaman spends the majority of his time on the road, holding clinics at various locations throughout the continent where he’s gradually built a base of avid participants. Meehl’s film becomes an extension of Brannaman just as his horses become an extension of him. It’s a stripped-down and straightforward portrait with a great deal of depth and wisdom that applies to life beyond the stable. The structure he imposes on the horses is mirrored by the structure provided by his own rigid schedule, which may function as a form of protection. Brannaman’s need for order in his life seems to have sprung directly from his troubled upbringing. At a time when America’s divisive culture is anchored by shouting matches with the power to drown out all common sense, I suspect every person could benefit from emulating Brannaman’s serene, no-nonsense approach to dealing with conflict.

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FSR Film School Rejects Year in Review picks BUCK

#7. The Great Docu-Biopic

2011 Year in Review by Landon Palmer
December 28, 2011

Documentaries have often proven to be a useful means of exploring the life of an important individual. The non-fiction biopic can give us a closer connection to the real person (living or dead) than any famous actor caked in makeup and accompanied with an imitating voice (for example, see Eastwood’s J. Edgar – or better yet, don’t). But 2011 gave a smorgasbord of great documentaries that dove into the lives of fascinating individuals who might not have otherwise made the history books.

Cindy Meehl’s Buck captured the incredible story of a horse-training professional who spoke to horses after humans failed him at an early age. Richard Press’s Bill Cunningham: New York examined the annals of the city’s fashion history as it’s been lensed by a charming and enigmatic elderly man for decades, and in the process slyly says more about the newspaper industry than Page One and more about fashion than The September Issue.


Bloomberg – BUCK in Top 10 for 2011

Top 2011 Films Star Clooney’s Baron, Gosling’s Getaway Driver

By Rick Warner – Dec 28, 2011 12:01 AM ET

They’re all leading characters in my favorite films of 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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Cincinnati CityBeat on BUCK

Is This Real Life?
As usual, compelling documentary films abounded in 2011
By Steven Rosen | December 28, 2011


Buck Brannaman, a modern-day cowboy who travels the country holding horse-training clinics and who was the model for The Horse Whisperer, proves a rewarding subject for filmmaker Cindy Meehl. His folksy wisdom and gentle manner with horses hide tough memories of childhood abuse. The film also is a paean to America’s wide-open spaces.

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Movies: Ten of the best

City Pulse | Lansing MI
James Sanford
December 28, 2011

8. “Buck” — This has been a terrific year for documentaries, and director Cindy Meehl’s look at real-life “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman is one of the very finest.

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BUCK Gallops to rescue of documentaries?

According to the respected film industry website IndieWire, Buck — Cindy Meehl’s acclaimed documentary portrait of real-life “Horse Whisperer” Buck Brannaman — played a major role this past year in revising conventional wisdom about the box-office prospects of nonfiction cinema. How did it do that? Simple: It got a significant number of folks to get out of their houses and go to movie theaters. Read complete article >

Wall Street Journal – BUCK makes top 10

by Joe Morgenstern
December 23, 2011

“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. Read complete article and watch scene from film >

Roger Ebert on BUCK

The best documentaries of 2011
Roger Ebert, December 25, 2011
Chicago Sun Times


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.

Buck was abused as a child, and that experience influenced his gentle approach to horse training. It involves empathy for the feelings of the horse. Buck understands how horses read humans, how they interpret gestures, and how they’re “so sensitive they can feel a fly land.” I was reminded of Temple Grandin, the autistic designer of cattle-handling chutes, whose secret was identifying the feelings of cattle with her own.

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