From Indianapolis, the Heartland International Film Festival announced the filmmaker award winners for the film festival’s 28th edition during a recent Awards Brunch. Among many prestigious awards, Brett Fallentine’s documentary about the horse riding community in South Central L.A., “Fire on the Hill” received the film festival’s Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award and $5,000. Three of the film’s subjects attended the ceremony with Fallentine, and as they accepted the award, one of the subjects, Ghuan Featherstone, said, “This film is about perceptions and changing those perceptions. Here we are in the Midwest and our lives relate to you.”
Five miles south of downtown Los Angeles is a place that was, until recent years, known as the murder capital of the world. For most, South Central LA is synonymous with gang violence, drug trafficking, and high amounts of crime. Yet for much of the twentieth century, South Central L.A. was an agricultural boomtown filled with ranchers, farmers and equestrians alike. Since the city’s establishment, Compton and the surrounding neighborhoods have always had a culture of Black Cowboys. Once common to the dusty dirt roads, this culture has all but disappeared now in a wash of land-hungry developers, apathetic politicians, and relentless gang activity. “Fire on the Hill” tells the story of one of the last strongholds that the Cowboys have; a horse stable known as the Hill that was mysteriously set on fire in 2012. This is the story of three of those Cowboys and their fight to live out their vision of the West.
See for yourself: