Just as we find surprises in life, we sometimes happen upon them in art. And when it is the case that we are delighted by the surprise, all the better. I believe this post will surprise some.
On Friday, I had the unique opportunity to see a screening of a new documentary called We’re Not Broke. This remarkable work is a chilling exposé that reveals the lack of income tax paid by multi-billion dollar U.S. based corporations and the growing discontent from citizens who are paying their fair share. But seeing this film was planned and feeling angry about the content was not a surprise.
What I didn’t anticipate is that the film would be preceeded by a 12 minute documentary titled The Debutante Hunters. Nor did I imagine that I would find this creative endeavor engaging, educational and enjoyable.
Let’s face it, I’ve never fired a gun. When I got married, I asked that hunting be off-limits for my husband. I rarely eat meat because I can’t kill it myself and I’ve tried to use that as consumption criteria. So stumbling upon a documentary detailing the hunting skills of five South Carolina women was certainly a bit ironic.
In The Debutante Hunters , a group of South Carolina women living in the Lowcountry share an interest that not only acts as a bond between them but also with their rural heritage. Through the eloquent film making of director, Maria White, we learn why these women hunt and how they revere nature in the process. We see glamorous photos of each, clad in pearls next to shots of them in fatigues holding rifles with a pair of hounds. While this could have smacked of sorority syrup, White instead took me on a journey where I learned about the experience of being in the forest when it wakes and the pride manifested in the ability to provide food for one’s family. One South Carolina woman shares how it is simply an extension of her gardening.
True, many in the audience flinched at the site of a deer being hauled in the back of a truck and the dialogue about finding a still fluttering dove but there was nothing cavalier in the portrayal of these women. Graciously, one woman turns her back on a doe that is too small and another gives thanks to the wild boar that has given up it’s life. One hunter even sheds a tear over her love for the hunt.
The short film’s director produced The Debutante Hunters with a grant from the South Carolina Film Commission and the generosity of family and friends via Kickstarter. She is not only a film maker but also a professional ceramic artist. I recommend that you check out her work.
As I was writing this piece, the Sundance Institute announced the 2012 awards with the Shorts, Audience Award going to the Debutante Hunters. Congratulations ladies! I could never do what you do but I respect your story.