‘Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison’ Coming to Independent Lens

Vincent Schilling
7/11/11

Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison, directed by Doug Hawes-Davis and presented by Big Sky Pictures, has been selected for inclusion in the 2010-11 season of the PBS series Independent Lens. The film is a comprehensive 72-minute documentary on the iconic American bison and its history in the American wilderness.

Using archival materials and interviews with experts, the filmmakers tell the story of the eradication of approximately 30 million buffalo from the Great Plains areas in less than 50 years. Although not of Native descent, Hawes-Davis gives an excellent account of the American Indians' relationship with the Bison.

Contemporary footage details the existence of the animal in national parks, on ranches—and in slaughterhouses. From graphic and bloody imagery of the animals being killed for buffalo burgers and jerky to scenes of errant buffalo being chased by helicopters, snowmobiles and hunters, the film isn't always easy to watch.

But Facing the Storm is not all doom and gloom. The film shows that the American Bison are growing in numbers, and are soon to make a comeback to our Great Plains regions, thanks to such American Indian groups as The Inter-Tribal Bison Cooperative, which is re-introducing bison to Indian reservations nationwide. It's a film that is not to be missed; look for it on PBS Independent Lens in the fall, or order it from the High Plains Films website.

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