‘Bull’ Takes Film Fans To Texas’ Black Rodeos

“It was important to us that that was a part of the story as far as wanting to expand peoples’ understanding about the West and who’s included in that.”

By Laura RiceMay 19, 2020 11:43 am,

Austin-based writer/director Annie Silverstein gained international attention with the success of her short film “Skunk.”

The feature-length “Bull” tells a different story. But Silverstein draws on some of the same themes of a young person struggling.

“I was a youth worker for ten years before deciding to go to film school,” Silverstein said.

But Silverstein also explores subject matter that was completely new to her.

“We met a man from a black cowboy family who shared with us his history and the story of his family and just meeting him inspired us to dig deeper into that history and culture and start going to backyard rodeos,” Silverstein said.

The film is set in the Houston area.

“In the film you’ll see rodeo scenes at PBR – which is like the NFL of rodeo – but you’ll also see these rodeo scenes that are in Texas – in Egypt, Texas at Old William Johnson Arena,” Silverstein said. “We also worked with the oldest black rodeo in Oklahoma.”

The stories of the white teenager and the black cowboy collide in “Bull” as both characters grapple with change.

“Often we talk about ‘coming-of-age’ stories and we just are talking about teenagers but we saw this as a dual coming-of-age story because we feel like we actually come of age many times in our lives,” Silverstein said.

“Bull” debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and was set to screen at SXSW Film. It was also supposed to play in theaters. Of course, a pandemic disrupted those plans. But the film is now available on several streaming platforms.


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