After 18 months on the film festival circuit, Guardians of the Grasslands is now publicly available on YouTube.
The short documentary, produced by Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, outlines the role of cattle in preserving Canada’s Prairie ecosystem. Between September 2019 and March 2021, the film was screened at 25 film festivals across North America and was therefore only available for private screenings. Now that the festival run is done, Guardians is publicly available, in English and with French subtitles. The documentary was created by Sarah Wray and Ben Wilson of Story Brokers Media House.
A public launch for the film was held May 4, which included a panel moderated by Wray and featuring climate activist Steve Lee, Karla Guyn of Ducks Unlimited, rancher Ben Campbell and Catherine Grenier of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Amie Peck, stakeholder engagement manager with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, notes via email that 525 people watched the launch live, and submitted more than 50 questions.
Peck says the goal now is to garner 100,000 views of the film by January 1, 2022, by promoting it through media outlets, partner industries and social media influencers. The CCA and its partners are also looking for more distribution channels, including potentially Netflix and Amazon Shorts, Peck writes.
Other efforts include adding the stories of Canadian beef producers who manage native grasslands to the website; organizing group tours with media, teachers and the food industry as COVID restrictions allow and offering “Guardian for a Day” experiences for select social media influencers. Agriculture in the Classroom Canada is also creating curriculum-linked resources for the film and plans to have those classroom materials ready by September 10, Peck adds.
During its festival run, Guardians earned several awards, including:
- Toronto Alternative Film Festival 2019, Best Director of Festival
- Yorkton Film Festival – Winner, Research
- WILDsound Documentary Film Festival (Toronto) – Best Cinematography
- Hollywood North Film Festival (Belleville, ON) – Best Editing
- Montreal Independent Film Festival – Best Canadian Documentary
- Central Alberta Film Festival – Best Short Documentary
- Toronto Film Channel Awards – Best Short Documentary
- Canada Shorts – Awards of Excellence
For more information on the film, visit www.guardiansofthegrasslands.com.