For more than 1,000 years, Iceland has kept its indigenous breed of small, sturdy horse pure by prohibiting imported breeds — no re-entry for traveling horses, either. Icelandic horses roam free and wild throughout the countryside and the mountains all summer until farmers head out for the annual round-up, bringing the horses home for the harsh winter months.
Try as I might, I can't picture herds of Thoroughbreds galloping wild through (a fence-less) rural Kentucky all summer.
Filmmakers Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggart follow the round-up in their new documentary “Herd in Iceland,” which screens Friday in Louisville's International Film Festival at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. The film explores Icelandic horse culture, which is deeply tied to the isolated country's rugged landscape.
“Herd in Iceland” has already racked up awards on the festival circuit, including Best Short Documentary from the Black Hills Film Festival and a win from the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis (an Academy Award-nominating festival for the short film category), where it will screen later this month and compete for the grand prize for short documentary.
Weekend passes are on sale for Louisville's International Film Festival, which runs through Sunday and features more than 80 films alongside panel discussions on film industry topics. The festival opens Thursday at the Kentucky Center with Matt Berman's “The Wedding Pact.”
Here's the trailer for “Herd in Iceland”: