2019, Canada, 13′
Welcome to the Calgary Stampede,
"The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth". For over 100 years, city residents have dusted off their cowboy hats and headed to the fairgrounds to celebrate the myth of the Wild West. Today their cowboy hats are plastic, the bulls mechanical, and attendance is higher than ever.
Unfolding over the course of a day, Stampede turns its attention to visitors at the infamous event. We follow crowds through the entrance line, and onto rides. They crunch popcorn and eat giant turkey legs while horses are tenderly groomed. But something seems strange here. The pacing of the film is slower than expected, the camera patient. The film focuses on faces and gestures as people wait absentmindedly, tuning out the noise. With subtle humour, these portraits begin to reveal the quietness at the heart of the crowd, and as the sun goes down a sense of exhaustion rises. Maybe the objective of spectacle is to induce a boredom so great that one has to look inward.