Buck Brannaman Documentary Wins Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival

 Buck Brannaman
Buck Brannaman photo by Emily Knight, courtesy Sundance.org

Among the hundreds of entries showcased at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, one will stand out to horse lovers. Buck, a documentary about renowned horse trainer and clinician Buck Brannaman, earned recognition at the festival with the U.S. Documentary Competition Audience Award.

Brannaman and his brother performed rope tricks at rodeos and on television as children, but behind the act was an abusive father. When the boys went to live with a foster family, they experienced a life free of fear for the first time. Today, Buck Brannaman uses his firsthand experience with abuse to work with troubled horses and their owners. Buck follows the journey of Brannaman’s life and shows how he has become an inspiration to people through his work with horses.

The film’s director, Cindy Meehl is a horse owner with a background in fashion and art. Buck is her first documentary film.

A wider theatrical release may be on the horizon as Sundance Selects has acquired the North American rights to the film.

The Sundance Film Festival, held each January in Park City, Utah, is the largest independent film showcase in the United States. Being selected for Sundance is one of the highest honors for up-and-coming independent filmmakers. Many films from outside Hollywood’s mainstream have been discovered and gone on to box office success after being showcased at Sundance.


  1. I’ve been a follower of Buck Brannaman for years and it’s about time people will hear his story. I’m looking forward to seeing this documentary, please put it out there for everyone to see. He’s one true horseman and a man of true character (which is missing these days).

  2. Buck Branaman is right up my alley, so to speak, as I was also an abused child, have raised over 65 abused, abandonned, neglected children in my own horsemanship program and have bred, raised, trained and taught riding lessons for thirty years. Where can I get this complete movie? IMO it is one of the most important, significant stories of our time.

  3. I consider the documentary “Buck” to be a life changer type of movie with regard to human relations in our everyday lives. I love horses and this movie shows how they must be properly treated in order to improve our knowledge of horses in connection with true human kindness and understanding. Buck could have continued throughout his life to carry on abusive practices. Instead through the kindness of his mother and adoped parents went the other roote-TG! When will this documentary be introduced into the theaters of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa.

  4. “Buck”, I thought was the most beautiful films ever watched, Dan (Buck) is an inspiration too all, young and old alike.His demeanor with horses and people is truly remarkable, especillay after the terrible past the man has endured. He gives hope and faith a place where it probaly never existed before. Keep up the great work, you will never know the impact it will and has on the world. God Bless.

  5. buck has my respect. we both grew up hard.i would like to see more of buck on t.v.the article is great. it has left me wanting to see more of him. i sure hope i do.i am 64 and haven’t rode or had a horse in 23 years. i am going to find a horse that needs me,to be a friend first.i am moving back to the farm lands in mo.i must leave this city life behind me.my sister said, “you are crazy” well it may be true,but i want a horse ans i want to ride again. please do more with buck on t.v. i know i can learn from him. thank you pat


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