Tag Archives: documentary


(Image from ‘Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo.’ Photography by Shane Brown.)

If you haven’t seen this compelling documentary about Oklahoma’s female inmates partaking in a break from prison life for a chance to compete in the state’s Penitentiary Rodeo, or if you have seen it but want to see it again or share it with a friend, save “Sweethearts of  the Prison Rodeo” on your Netflix queue and bring it that much closer to convenient viewing.

From the filmmakers that brought you ‘Okie Noodling,’ ‘Fearlesss Freaks,’ ‘Summercamp!’ and “The Creek Runs Red’ comes another heart-gripping journey into Americana life—the subculture of the Oklahoma penitentiary system and the modern-day Wild West: ‘Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo.’

Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo’ goes behind prison walls to follow convict cowgirls on their journey to the 2007 Oklahoma State Penitentiary Rodeo. In 2006, female inmates were allowed to participate for the first time. In a state with the highest female incarceration rate in the country, these women share common experiences such as broken homes, drug abuse and alienation from their children. Since 1940, the Oklahoma State Penitentiary has held an annual ‘Prison Rodeo’. Part Wild West show and part coliseum-esque spectacle, it’s one of the last of its kind – a relic of the American penal system. Prisoners compete on wild-broncs and bucking bulls, risking life-long injuries. For inmates like Danny Liles, a 14-year veteran of the rodeo, the chance to battle livestock offers a brief respite from prison life. Within this strange arena the prisoners become the heroes while the public and guards applaud.

Freedom, family, forgiveness—these are human needs. Without ever loudly announcing its statement of purpose, while focusing on bulls and broncos and adrenaline, “Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo” makes a plea for human dignity and compassion. –Filmmaker Magazine

SWEETHEARTS OF THE PRISON RODEO, (is) a gorgeous, insightful, hilarious, emotional look at tradition, criminal justice, hope and regret.  It’s as pure a piece of movie-making that you will see in nonfiction in 2009, commercial as hell, and certainly one of the best films of the year. – A.J. Schnack, All These Wonderful Things

‘Sweethearts…’ is a story of gladiatorial desperation and hope, tied up with one whole lot of Oklhahoman heart – Hell yeah!” – Time Out London

For more information on the film or to buy it directly, visit the film’s website at: www.sweetheartsoftheprisonrodeo.com


  • Login to Netflix http://www.netflix.com.
  • Once on the film title page for SWEETHEARTS, click “SAVE”
  • Once you get a confirmation that it’s been added to your Queue, SWEETHEARTS OF THE PRISON RODEO will be that much closer to becoming available as a rental on Netflix.




Support GRINGO TRAILS, a documentary about backpacking culture & tourism by PEGI VAIL

GRINGO TRAILS is about one of the most powerful global industries of our time: tourism, and it starts with backpackers! They are the key to opening the door in developing countries. The film looks at the long term effects of travelers on cultures, economies, and environments worldwide—through their most important souvenirs… their stories.

GRINGO TRAILS follows travelers and locals in locations within Thailand, Bolivia, and Mali- looking at all sides of the cultural encounter. It also looks at the complicated relationships that can arise when host countries are looking for economic opportunities and travelers are seeking authentic experiences.

The documentary is now at a critical stage in funding for our FINAL SHOOT on the film: we need YOUR SUPPORT to return to Bolivia in July and August, where we first filmed in 2000 and 2002 (the earlier footage from all locations is now used as archival to show the changes over time!). Our featured story from Bolivia forms a counterpoint to the current situation faced at Haad Rin beach on Koh Pha-Ngan island in Thailand, shown in the trailer. I’m exploring the topic as a former backpacker and anthropologist whose Ph.D. and forthcoming book focuses on backpackers in Bolivia!

We will film in the Salt Desert of Bolivia, the town of Rurrenabaque and at the Chalalan Ecotourism lodge – tourism in the latter two of these locations traced back to the influence of a backpacker’s published account in the mid-1980s (Yossi Ghinsberg’s “Lost in the Jungle”– recently interviewed, he will also be featured in GRINGO TRAILS). Ecotourism pioneer Costas Christ (National Geographic Adventure) and travel writer Pico Iyer are also featured in the film.

Chalalan is managed and owned entirely by the indigenous Quechua-Tacana community of San José de Uchupiamonas. We’ll also be filming at another Tacana ecolodge at San Miguel del Bala, SO ALL PROCEEDS for our room, board, and tours while filming there GO DIRECTLY TO THESE COMMUNITIES – that’s OVER 1/3 of the total amount we’re requesting!

Your support also aids them in the continued protection of the wildlife-rich Madidi national park. The remaining funds donated cover flights (r/t to Bolivia, r/t to Amazon gateway, ground transportation from the Amazon to the Salt Desert, additional car hire and tour for Salt desert, accommodation, and meals for 2 people!). WE ARE REQUESTING THE MINIMUM we need for this shoot! Any surplus will go directly to much needed post-production editing costs upon return to FINISH THE FILM THIS FALL!

For this campaign, We THANK FRIENDS FOR THEIR DONATIONS for the pledge rewards—check ‘em out- they’re great!! Now we really need YOUR HELP to make this shoot happen and to finish a film that is more relevant than ever before!! Click here to SUPPORT the project.