TARPAN: REPAINTING AN ANCIENT PICTURE won BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY at the Equus NY Film Festival!  Go to our store to get your DVD copy of this award winning film today or watch today on Vimeo On Demand

Here's a fun behind the scenes look at the Horsefly team at work in Bulgaria.  Journey to Bulgaria.

TARPAN was recently featured on a segment for Bulgarian International Television. See an excerpt HERE. 

Tarpan: Repainting An Ancient Picture premiered in 2014 in New York at the renowned Equus Film Festival.  As well as celebrating the truly ancient and wild horse of Europe, the film has been translated into Bulgarian and is being used by ARK Foundation and Rewilding Europe as a conservation model for the effective “rewilding” of horses in many different parts of the world.  We are planning a series of screenings and outreach in conjunction with the International Museum of the Horse in Kentucky. 

This is the story of mankind’s attempt to bring back a horse from the dead.  Tarpan had roamed in wild herds across Europe for millennia, running through the dreams of our ancient ancestors and onto prehistoric cave walls.  The film takes us on a journey of discovery, illuminating the dark past of the hunting lodges of Europe, miraculous scientific coincidence and the chilling efforts of the genetic breeders of the past.  World Wars and doomed attempts to re-engineer the horse left a hopeless situation.  Finally the careful work of an international group including the Polish State Studs, the work of biologists in the Netherlands and the tireless efforts of a dedicated group in Bulgaria brought a small herd of modern Tarpan to the remote mountains of Eastern Europe.  Here the horse faces a whole new challenge, struggling to become wild once again and bravely learning to find a way back to their ancient selves.  The repainting of this ancient picture will depend on their ability to adapt to a thriving wolf population.  Their future still hangs in a delicate balance.  

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REVIEWS

To watch a Horsefly Film like TARPAN, Repainting An Ancient Picture, is akin to a private tour of the most interactive natural history exhibit in the world (and an equi-centric world, at that).

The last pure Tarpan was lost to the wild in the Ukraine in 1879; the last in captivity by 1918. What Jen Miller and Sophie Dia Pegrum, who produced and directed this half-hour documentary, shot on location in Poland and Bulgaria, have achieved is nothing short of historic. They have captured a ground floor effort to bring a breed back from the dead and reintroduce a “modern Tarpan” to its ancestral home.

In August 2014, a second herd of 35 Tarpan were released to Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, and in October 2014, Horsefly Films released TARPAN, Repainting An Ancient Picture, the second in its Rare Equine Trust Film Library series of intelligent, exceptionally photographed and detailed films, narrated by James Herron, that introduce us to rare equine breeds and the often vanishing cultures around them.

TARPAN joins Horsefly Films’ Of Gods and Kings: The Skyros Horse, in a lovingly-crafted, ongoing “film atlas” about horses and humanity while reminding us that the fate of each of the world’s vanishing and fragile breeds remains ultimately entrusted with us.

Smitten. Again. As Usual. Great work.
— L A Pomeroy: Equinista
I think you nailed it. This is really, really good. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical when I first heard that you would be examining the efforts to recreate the Tarpan, but what really impressed me with the film was how you handled the delicate question of whether humans can truly recreate a breed. In my opinion, you nailed it.

I would be proud to have this production shown at IMH.
— Bill Cooke, Director - International Museum of the Horse
In the wild Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, two Tarpans look toward the future.

In the wild Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, two Tarpans look toward the future.

Tarpan opens with images of prehistoric horse-paintings; a symbol of man’s earliest encounters with the horse. It is a story not only of the damage wrought by mankind, but of its potential for creation. Jen Miller and Sophie Dia Pegrum’s documentary traces the history of the Tarpan’s death and rebirth, the symbolic ‘repainting’ of the ‘ancient picture’ that is the Tarpan breed; but the film, seamlessly moving through thought-provoking interviews with the humans behind the project and stunning footage of the rewilded horses, is itself that ancient cave drawing, repainted for a modern audience.
— Alex Mullarky

"Tarpan" is a story that connects people with their successful devotion to bring back the wild horse and how the regenerated horse struggled to become wild again in Bulgaria, facing a more different predator than humans and to find their way back to their ancient selves.  Jen Miller and Sophie Dia Pegrum not only present the history of this tale and the milestone on the introduction of the koniks as modern Tarpans, but show also a turning point in evolution of both horses, humans and nature, providing hope and in a way, also forgiveness. 

-- Colinda Vergeer, Regional Manager at Rewilding Europe