This is the story of mankind’s attempt to bring back a horse from the dead. Tarpan had roamed in wild herds across Europe for millennia, running through the dreams of our ancient ancestors and onto prehistoric cave walls. The film takes us on a journey of discovery, illuminating the dark past of the hunting lodges of Europe, miraculous scientific coincidence and the chilling efforts of the genetic breeders of the past. World Wars and doomed attempts to re-engineer the horse left a hopeless situation.
To watch a Horsefly Film like TARPAN, Repainting An Ancient Picture, is akin to a private tour of the most interactive natural history exhibit in the world (and an equi-centric world, at that).
The last pure Tarpan was lost to the wild in the Ukraine in 1879; the last in captivity by 1918. What Jen Miller and Sophie Dia Pegrum, who produced and directed this half-hour documentary, shot on location in Poland and Bulgaria, have achieved is nothing short of historic. They have captured a ground floor effort to bring a breed back from the dead and reintroduce a “modern Tarpan” to its ancestral home.
In August 2014, a second herd of 35 Tarpan were released to Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, and in October 2014, Horsefly Films released TARPAN, Repainting An Ancient Picture, the second in its Rare Equine Trust Film Library series of intelligent, exceptionally photographed and detailed films, narrated by James Herron, that introduce us to rare equine breeds and the often vanishing cultures around them.
TARPAN joins Horsefly Films’ Of Gods and Kings: The Skyros Horse, in a lovingly-crafted, ongoing “film atlas” about horses and humanity while reminding us that the fate of each of the world’s vanishing and fragile breeds remains ultimately entrusted with us. Smitten. Again. As Usual. Great work.
L A Pomeroy: Equinista
I think you nailed it. This is really, really good. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical when I first heard that you would be examining the efforts to recreate the Tarpan, but what really impressed me with the film was how you handled the delicate question of whether humans can truly recreate a breed. In my opinion, you nailed it. I would be proud to have this production shown at IMH.
Bill Cooke, Director - International Museum of the Horse