Q&A With The Founder of the EQUUS Film Festival: The Future of The EFF, International Equine Art Contest

New York City, the “City That Never Sleeps” probably brings to mind pictures of skyscrapers, the Empire State Building, and Wall Street. But for the last two years (and counting!) it is home to the one-of-a-kind film festival: The EQUUS Film Festival, show casing some of the finest equine films, art, and literature from all corners of the globe. Read on for an interview with the founder/director of this marvelous festival.
EQUUS Film Festival
Location: New York City
Founder/Director: Lisa Diersen
Date: November 17-20th, 2016
To VOTE for the EQUUS Film Festival’s poster contest and Literary Awards, go here and here, respectively. 
Founded by Lisa Diersen 2013 in her home state of Illinois, the EFF has been leading the highway of success for filmmakers, artists and authors by showcasing their creations in premier locations. One of the reasons Lisa Diersen chose to bring her festival to the East Village in NYC was because “The easy access for people from around the world to join us at the film festival.” Lisa said in an exclusive interview on The Flying Shetlands’ #equinearthour on Twitter.
12924626_488799981320202_1091526394097648587_n.jpg Lisa Diersen, Beatrice Bulteau, Diana De Rosa, L.A. Pomeroy and Suzanne Kopp-Moskow at the EFF in 2015

The EFF also has their annual poster art contest where artists from every corner of the globe can participate in by  submitting their equine art to be reviewed then entered in the contest. The entry with the most Facebook likes wins. The contest goes from February 14th to June 17th.
Hundreds of films, ranging from documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials have found an international presence at this truly one-of-a-kind festival that brings everyone, from designer clothes to dusty cowboy boots, together to celebrate the horse.
The EFF is growing and getting bigger year by year. The WINNIE Awards Tour, which is a group of films that won “Winnie awards” at the festival in November of 2015, are going on a tour to different screening events/film festivals, including locations in Germany and France this summer. “We just got back last Sunday from a film festival in Ocala Florida , the “Horse Capitol Of The World,” Lisa said on #equinearthour.

 We believe that film holds the power to experience a story in the most compelling way. Therefore we empower storytellers to share their unique stories in the most optimal setting, a movie theater. Placing the festival in the capital of the world, New York City, where people from all walks of life can enjoy these inspiring stories.- EQUUS Film Festival

Janice Fischer’s entry into the EQUUS Film Festival’s poster contest


Last year in 2015, the EQUUS Film Festival presented over 150 films and awarded 32 WINNIE Awards, including Equestrian Art Film, Director, Documentary, Commercial, International, Music Video, People’s Choice and Best of Festival.
Besides having a spectacular list of filmmakers, artists and authors at the festival, the EFF has also opened its doors to panel discussions about some of the horrific treatment some horses receive. From the outrage of horse slaughter, Soring, wild horses and PMU mares by EQUUS Magazine Directors Panels, the EFF brings awareness by having talks and discussions, to educate people about these horrific things that horses are put through. “PMU” stands for “pregnant mare’s urine”, where the urine is used in Premarin for hormone replacement therapy.  For more information on this, go here.
Artists that entered the poster contest had fun photo shopping their art into NYC as promotion for their entry!


There is a $25 USD fee per literary work entered per category (print material, e-books, magazine articles)

CATEGORIES: You may enter up to three titles of your choosing.

_____ Equine Fiction
_____ Equine Non-fiction
_____ Equine Children
_____ Equine Short stories
_____ Equine Photography collection
_____ Equine Poetry
_____ Equine Illustration Collection
_____ Equine Magazine Article


Equine Art Poster Contest:
Official EFF Poster Contest DEADLINE: June 17th, 2016

Winners will be announced on our Facebook page July 1, 2016.
Winners will be notified by email June 27, 2016.
The selections will be narrowed down by Facebook interaction (how many likes/shares each entry has) and the top ten will go before our EQUUS Film Festival Judging Panel to select the winners.


Bonnie Cazier USA: Entry for the Poster Contest

You may enter up to three images of your choosing.
The only criterion for each piece is that it captures the elements or essence of the horse, the horse industry at large and/or all that surrounds the horse.

They will select six EQUUS Film Festival Official images:
EFF Official Poster
EFF Official Wild Horse Fund Raising Poster
EFF Official T-Shirt Image
EFF Official Projection Image
EFF Official Program Cover
EFF Official Illustrated Image (cartoon).

“Blind Spot” One of the films on the WINNIE Awards Tour
The WINNIE Awards Tour will be in Baltimore Maryland May 11, 2016 for a kick off celebration for the Preakness at the Senator Theater!
TFS: What made you bring your festival to NYC?
 LD: The easy access for people from around the world to join us at the film festival.
TFS: What do you hope to achieve from it?
LD:  Showing the world all of the amazing work that the equestrian filmmakers, artist and authors have to share!
“Their Last Ride” is on the WINNIE Awards Tour
TFS: Can you tell us more about the daily schedule of this year’s EFF in NYC? 
LD: Yes, there are screenings running from noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Also, panel discussions that run through the festival covering topics from Soring to Racing, Mustangs, PMU mares and Nurse Mare Foals.

12814213_479804235553110_677489760286064912_n.jpgCatherine Ingleby’s Entry into the Poster Contest

TFS: How does the EFF benefit filmmakers/artists/ authors?
LD: We help promote the work for all by the association with the EQUUS Film Festival as well as adding two $2,500 awards this year for filmmakers!
TFS: Can you tell us more about your future plans for the EFF? 
LD: The $2,500 awards will go to the films selected by a team in honor of one of our sponsors son and husband.
“Riders of The Mist” Another film on the WINNIE Awards Tour
Have you learned anything from you past years as the director of the EFF?
LD:  Yes, plenty! Working with people from around the world all of the time takes getting used to all of the time zones. I love what I do and I love when people discover a new film or artist that they didn’t know about! We are also joining the Kentucky Horse Park this year to screen a selection of our films throughout the year. Four different films every week in each of their two theaters all year!
“Harry & Snowman” on the WINNIE Awards Tour
TFS: How did you get involved with horses? 
LD: I was one of those people who sat on a horse before they walked! I have always been in love with horses I cannot imagine life without horses in it! I feel it is our job (the Horse Tribe People) to watch out for  and care for the horses. We cannot stand by and let pain and suffering happen to horses without doing what we can so STOP it and enlighten through the arts and film all others to to beautiful spirit of horses.
Dinky The Nurse Mare Foal by Marta Morgan Bishop in the literary awards contest

TFS: Do you make any of your own films/art/books?
LD: Not really only fun ones : ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2hDCGIZzzU … like this one for a client who bought one of our horses for his wife for Christmas….now they also own Hermes do Royal and here is his film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVFF5-K8AZQ
“One Day” On the WINNIE Awards Tour
TFS: How did you come up with the idea to have the art contest online with social media? 
 LD: I love the telling stories about horses and their people through film and art work! Social media is our main source of film and art lovers so it just made sense to do the contest online.
TFS: Can anyone enter the poster contest, or is it by invitation only? 
LD: Anyone can enter after their artwork is reviewed and then we send the application.
The art contest is underway and we have some really beautiful work entered!
“Smoke The Donkey” entered into the 2016 literary awards
TFS: Can you tell us what some of your panels/discussions will be about? 
LD: We will again focus on SORING because it just will not go away! Along with Nurse Mare Foals and PMU Mares.
TFS: Can you tell us more about the literary awards? What authors will be there? How are the books judged?
LD: We have about 26 books entered and a judging team who is reviewing the books!


“Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse” entered into the 2016 literary awards

TFS: Any advice for aspiring filmmakers? 
LD:  If you think you have a story to tell with either film, paint or pen….just DO IT!! And, if it is good…………..You never know! You could be up on the BIG screen in NYC!


“The Horse Lover” entered into the 2016 literary awards


How did the idea for the Poster Contest come about?
LD:  Beatrice who did our first beautiful poster is now our Official Artist and helps with other art. So I thought that is would be nice to see if any of the other amazing artists out there would like to join us!

               Corolla’s Sand Horse BeachCroatoan’s Memoirsby Kay Kerr

TFS: Can you tell us more about the activities on Sunday? For people that come to the EFF, what other attractions can they see/do?
LD: Yes, we will be hosting tours through the historic Carriage Horse stables to see the horses and their home!
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions and provide the information for this article, Lisa! Looking forward to seeing your new projects and ideas unfold. Be sure to VOTE for your favorite entry in the literary and poster contest!

Ana Marta Loura – Portugal-entry into the EQUUS Film Festival’s poster contest



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