Bareback bronc riding is not for the faint of heart. The risk of serious and possibly fatal injury looms with each buck and kick. For Liam Marshall, it’s a thrill he’s always known growing up in the Big Muddy Valley, in rural Saskatchewan. Training to compete and become a bareback champion requires his complete focus. It’s clear that it fills his every waking moment (when he’s not checking his cellphone).
Bareback bronc riding is not for the faint of heart. The risk of serious and possibly fatal injury looms with each buck and kick. For Liam Marshall, it’s a thrill he’s always known growing up in the Big Muddy Valley, in rural Saskatchewan. Training to compete and become a bareback champion requires his complete focus. It’s clear that it fills his every waking moment (when he’s not checking his cellphone). Surrounded by family and providing inspiration to his three younger brothers, this brave teenager holds on tight to a tradition that’s been passed down through generations.
From a young age, director Kristin Catherwood was fascinated by rodeo. Growing up on a cattle farm, she was no stranger to the sport but was always a spectator. Her passion for storytelling and the opportunity to participate in Doc Lab Saskatchewan inspired her to use her talents to take a closer look at this one-of-a-kind culture. Working with producer Jon Montes and director/mentor Robin Schlaht, she focused on capturing the intensity of the bareback riding that takes place near her home in Radville, Saskatchewan, as well as the vulnerability of the riders. But it wasn’t just the excitement and thrill of the ride that motivated her to tell this story. “I think what really captivated me, over and above that, was the strong sense of community, the mentorship that goes on—there’s a real sense of cultural continuity.” Although her teenage subject had to convince his ranching parents to let him get involved with the sport, Catherwood discovered during production that his great-grandfather used to stage rodeos on his Big Muddy ranch. “It was this sort of latent tradition in his family that this young guy has brought back,” says Catherwood.
Having the ability to collaborate with a team to bring her vision to the screen was one of the most beneficial aspects of participating in the Doc Lab program. Catherwood also realized that “being a director means accepting a lot of input from lots of different people, and sometimes it’s directly contradictory! But you have to work with other people’s ideas, which I really respected, while at the same time staying true to what you want to do with the film.”
Doc Lab Saskatchewan Filmmakers: Kristin Catherwood, Eric Thiessen, Louise BigEagle
Doc Lab Saskatchewan is a collaborative training initiative between the National Film Board of Canada, Creative Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, launched in the spring of 2017. Three emerging filmmakers were selected from an open call for submissions to individually create short documentaries, from concept to post-production, with a focus on visual storytelling. The successful applicants were provided mentorship and production support to develop films that shared perspectives about their home province, aiding their career development in non-fiction filmmaking.
Written and Directed by
Director of photography
Second camera operator
Horse wrangling & stock provided by Outlaw Buckers
Technical support – editing
Recording & re-recording
The Marshall Family
Clint, Jackie, Liam, Orrin, Kyler, Rand
Connie Chaplin (Clearview Arena)
Michelle Van Beusekom
Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Association
Canadian Cowboys Association
Centre operations manager
Katja De Bock
Dara Jade Moats