Bison documentary focuses on Canadian producers in 2023.

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Screen shot of a lone bison bull walking through Caprock Canyon State Park in Texas.Photo byMeet My Neighbor Productions, Inc.

Producers of NATIVE | The Prodigies of an Icon have announced their plans to film Canadian bison producers and indigenous groups in 2023.

NATIVE | The Prodigies of an Icon is a feature documentary film project about North America’s most iconic mammal, the American Bison (aka Buffalo). The film features ranchers and indigenous producers across North America and Native American Territories.

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Film producer Shauna Rankin with "Peaches" filming Cherokee Valley Ranch in Thronville, OhioPhoto byMeet My Neighbor Productions, Inc.

The bison documentary aims to highlight the history of bison and its relationship with mankind, the regenerative significance bison has on our ecology, and the industry that has made its comeback both possible and economically sustainable in a modern world. You can watch the pilot to the documentary filmed in 2021 here, Bison Documentary.

Together bison ranchers, conservationists, and indigenous people are running one of the largest conservation programs in the world. They have reestablished a species from the brink of extinction while restoring, managing, and protecting grasslands that are essential to our ecosystem all while developing an industry that is contributing to everything from food security to clothing.

The objective of this project is to create a documentary AND social movement that entices viewers to support the bison community through their purchasing and donation decisions and to ultimately help them recognize the role that they can play in repopulating and maintain this incredible keystone species in a modern world. Connecting the benefits of bison to the ecology is an essential part of the documentary. -Charlie Rankin, Co-Producer

To illustrate the bison’s environmental impact and accessibility across the continent the film will provide viewers with local and regional resources.

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Charlie filming at Durham Ranch in Wright, Wyoming.Photo byMeet My Neighbor Productions, Inc.

Over the years, documentaries have often fallen victim to special interest narratives. It’s our prerogative to document and share the whole of the truth of todays bison story. - Said Charlie Rankin, Co-Producer and Creative Director.
As our team has ventured down the road of documenting the bison’s story, we’ve discovered another almost mystic hallmark of this extraordinary species. Beyond its naturally regenerative influence on our ecosystem, or its remarkable story of survival against our best efforts to eliminate it. The bison has managed to unite people of varying political, ethnic, and extreme culturally diverse backgrounds into a single cause even during disruptive social, political, and economic times.

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Screenshot of bison walking through Yellowstone National Park.Photo byMeet My Neighbor Productions, Inc.

What started as an idea birthing from Charlie and Shauna Rankin's own admiration for this mammal, has evolved into a story of healing of the land, people, and nations.

Charlie and Shauna established Meet My Neighbor Productions, Inc. a 501(c)3 United States nonprofit in 2020 to help tell the stories of regenerative, sustainable, and humane agricultural producers.

NATIVE | The Prodigies of an Icon is a documentary completely narrated and funded by the bison community, its supporters, and donations. This entire project is being made possible by industry peers, conservation lovers, and their counterparts.

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Screenshot of bison in West Virginia on Riffle Farm.Photo byMeet My Neighbor Productions, Inc.

The film received grant funding from the National Buffalo Foundation in 2022 and has received support from Sierra Meat and Seafood, Durham Ranch, Tender Bison, Mosquito Park Enterprises, Great Range Premium Bison, The Buffalo Wool Company, Bigelow Fields Bison Ranch, Herd Wear, and the National Bison Association.

It's not easy funding a documentary today. When we hit the road in late 2021 we did not have funding for the film. Supporters of the film have rallied behind our efforts so far and we hope to continue that momentum as we enter our final year of filming in 2023. - Charlie Rankin

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Screenshot of bison at the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative on the Wind River Indian Reservation.Photo byMeet My Neighbor Productions, Inc.

To date the film has covered ranches across the lower 48 United States of America including Maine, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, South Dakota, including two Native American Reservations, the Wind River Reservation and Rosebud Reservation.

The bison once roamed the North American continent in such vast numbers that the entire ecology of the continent evolved in concert with bison and other large ungulates like elk, deer, and antelope. These numbers far exceeded the number of cattle we see today, without them our landscape faces the danger of environmental degradation and deforestation." - Charlie Rankin

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Screenshot of bison on Bigelow Fields Bison Ranch in Maine.Photo byMeet My Neighbor Productions, Inc.

NATIVE | The Prodigies of an Icon is expected to enter post production in 2024. The film is the first of its kind to cover such a vast variety of ranchers, indigenous people, and conservationists across North America.

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