Family Fun
August 19, 2013 • 08:25:22 a.m.

Chit Chat: ‘Equestrian’ among films to be shown at Equus fest


Filmmaker Sybil Mair’s short movie, “The Equestrian,” is about the relationship between a dressage competitor and his horse. Mair will present the film at the Arcada Theatre at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16. (Photo provided)

ST. CHARLES – While Sybil Mair’s new short film, “The Equestrian,” is mainly about a relationship between a man and his horse, she said it isn’t “just a horse film.”

Mair’s film is one of several slated to be shown during the inaugural Equus Film Festival during the Festival of the Horse and Drum. The film festival will be from Thursday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. She said the 25-minute feature is a fictional drama that follows a dressage rider and how his relationships with other beings develop.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “I’m excited. It’s been great showing it to people and hearing what they have to say.”

Mair, who lives near Yorkshire, England, said “The Equestrian” is the third short film she has produced. The film includes an appearance by Carl Hester, a British dressage rider who won an Olympic gold medal last year. The film’s composer, Tom Hunt, specializes in writing music for dressage competitions, Mair added.

But even nonhorse lovers will find the film interesting, Mair said.

“It’s not just about a dressage rider. It’s more about relationships,” Mair said. “It’s a film for anyone – anyone could come see it. It’s not specifically a horse film.”

The film follows the relationship between a rider named Freddie Forester and his black stallion, Gaius, who appear to be positioned to take the dressage world by storm. But pride and vanity stop them short, turning what was once a close partnership into a relationship that seems beyond repair.

“I think people can understand it, in particular if they have relationships with other beings – in particular, nonhuman beings,” Mair said. “It’s about the growth of the person, my character, developing to find out about himself and his relationship with his father, too.”

Almost 30 films will be screened during the Equus Film Festival, which also is part of the inaugural Festival of the Horse and Drum at the Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles. The Festival of the Horse and Drum will be Saturday, Aug. 17, and Sunday, Aug. 18. Judy Jelm, one of the festival organizers, said it appears the festival will be the first of its kind in the world.

“It’s an exciting event to say the least,” she said, adding that festival dates already have been set through 2017.

The festival is sponsored by Equus Concepts LLC and the Horseman’s Council of Illinois. Jelm called it a “multi-cultural, multi-media festival” because it will include an Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow and Drum session, an international jousting competition and a Mexican fiesta, as well as an area dedicated to western-style games.

“It’s a getting-together of all cultures in relationship with the horse,” Jelm said. “What people will see is how the horse is truly a multi-cultural friend and has been in our history.”

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