SXSW Film

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The Ostrich Testimonies

D: Jonathan VanBallenberghe

D.C. "Rooster" Cogburn's story reeks of injustice and helplessness. For years, Cogburn had been building his legacy as a premier ostrich rancher. After obsessively cultivating a particular breed, jumping through hoops of fire to get the ostriches out of Africa, Cogburn and his wife operated the successful Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch near Tucson, Ariz. reaping profits from the meat, feathers, and eggs. And in 2002, two hot air balloons came within 5 miles of the Cogburn Ranch and destroyed the Cogburns' business in minutes by triggering a stampede of their 1,600 ostriches. Terrified by the balloons, the ostriches repeatedly slammed into the fence surrounding the ranch, at full speed. Jonathan VanBallenberghe's camera travels through the court system as the Cogburns sue the hot air balloonists for negligence. It's a losing battle, and it's painful to watch the Cogburns ridiculed for dreaming about ostriches.

Friday, March 14, 6:30pm, Dobie

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