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The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley (2011)

As the summer heat cranks up in the beautiful Sun Valley resort, so does the tension between 'wolf lovers' and 'wolf haters', with Idaho's first legal wolf hunting season quickly ... See full summary »

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As the summer heat cranks up in the beautiful Sun Valley resort, so does the tension between 'wolf lovers' and 'wolf haters', with Idaho's first legal wolf hunting season quickly approaching in the fall. 'The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley' documents the war over wolves that's taking place in the West, the result of a successful reintroduction of the species into the same area in which they were eradicated nearly a century ago. Made with the insider perspective of DeSiree' Fawn, a fifth generation native to the Sun Valley, Idaho area and NYC based filmmaker who is determined to understand the conflict over wolves and the culture war it represents. Written by Anonymous

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2011 (USA)  »

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A Decent First Effort by This Novice Filmmaker
2 October 2011 | by (Topeka, KS) – See all my reviews

I saw this at the Kansas International Film Festival yesterday, and found it to be an informative and interesting account of the roiling controversy over the US Government's decision to reintroduce wolves into the Rocky Mountains of Idaho and Wyoming. Most of the people she captures on film give reasoned opinions for their stances, though one fire-brand on the "kill 'em all!" side of the wolf debate gives an impassioned rant for the camera on why the re-introduction is one of the greatest evils ever perpetrated by our government (alas, he didn't rank this action against such other problematic policies--like slavery and the extermination of the native Americans). Most of the film was essentially talking heads, though the viewer was treated to some beautiful scenes of the area at the beginning, some shots of the wolf at the end (taken by a National Geographic videographer) and a bit of some of the mayhem wrought by the wolf in between. I think it could have benefited by more dramatization of the issue--film of wolves being trapped/snared/shot for example. It could also have benefited by some more immutable facts. For example, a rancher acknowledges that he would be paid for losses incurred by any predation from the wolf, but says he wouldn't be compensated for the aggregate loss of weight caused by the animals of his herd being terrified by the attacks and subsequently not eating. I'm sure an objective expert could have supplied figures for this claimed loss--or rejected it as illusory. To this viewer, it seemed only a rationalization for the rancher's disdain for the wolf though for someone who shared the rancher's view this would no doubt have engendered agreement--neither of us knowing for sure whether this argument has any merit. Still, I thought this was an impressive first effort by this young woman--done almost entirely on her own. Kudos!


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