Tanya’s, Lemoine’s and Dillie’s stories are good ones. So is the one about how the team of Sarah Brennan Kolb, director; Jessica (Jess) Burgess, producer and Kyle Kelly, cinematographer, got involved with Good Ol Girls.
Sarah is a native Texan and UT-Austin graduate. She’s based in Brooklyn and splits her time there and in Kenedy, Texas. Jess is from North Carolina and graduated from New York University. Kyle lives in Brooklyn and studied at Ithaca College.
When the documentary Good Ol Girl got started, Sarah and Jess had been working together about a year. They talked about creating films about women achieving great things in male-dominated industries. During a stint in Kenedy, Sarah got to know Dillie, a friend of her mom’s.
“She invited me to work on the ranch,” Sarah says. The rest of the story happened quickly.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Convention came next. Lemoine and Tanya were in action.
“Lemoine was making a legal presentation,” Jess says. “Then, Tanya showed up wearing a hot pink hat and hot pink boots and told us her story. She’s phenomenal. So is her appreciation for TSCRA. Her story is all the better because she doesn’t come from an agricultural background. Her desire to work on the land is entirely hers.
“Since this project started, we’ve discovered there are a lot of women in the cattle business – more than we realized.”
Kyle came into the picture and the work’s been going strong since.
Sound animal handling second nature
Any good cowhand will admire the respect this team has for the film’s subjects and their cattle.
“We’re working side by side with these women and their families,” Jess says. “Putting as little stress on the cattle as possible is important. First, they welcome us onto their land. We respect them, their property and their livelihood. Second, we want a real documentary. To get that, cattle can’t be spooked. We want to capture the relationships between the ranchers and their cattle. It is something beautiful.”
Compact camera equipment helps. It’s all handheld to ensure realistic portrayals and to move as the cattle does.
In an industry that’s spent millions on proper handling protocols, it’s a testament to this group’s professionalism that these practices are essentially second nature and a top priority.
It’s also indicative of their desire to tell the ranchers’ real stories. By telling them unvarnished, they increase understanding of our industry. And, when good good people tell our story, we all win.
Know any Good Ol Girls who are doing things their way in the cattle business? Drop a confidential line here so Sarah, Jess and Kyle can consider them for future projects. Thank you.