The Million Dollar Duck encompasses the passion and intensity of thousands of ravenous wildlife artists vying for the ultimate prize.
Art is very much a subjective thing. Show one thousand people a work of art, and there will be one thousand opinions on the piece. With that being the case, many artist struggle to find the balance between appealing to the viewer, while also still staying true to their style, and expressive themselves within their work. For the six wildlife artists featured in The Million Dollar Duck, there’s no doubt of their ability. Each and everyone of them is incredibly talented, and has accomplished plenty with their work. While their stories are all different, they share the common goal of winning the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, which is the only contest of it’s kind run by the U.S. Government.
Winning this prize appears to be the ultimate goal for these artists, at one point in the documentary feature the contest was likened to The World Cup, and American Idol. With this being a jury contest, they, like most artist, will have to accomplish not only a piece expressing their style, but also something appealing to the jury. For a lot of them this contest goes deeper than the prize, as the money raised by the stamp goes to help wildlife, which is obviously something important to these artists. Through this documentary, we are able to see the successes and struggles of trying to create The Million Dollar Duck.
While many filmmakers would look at this topic and deem it too dull to warrant a film, Director Brian Davis rejected that claim, and I for one am certainly glad he did so. The filmmaking quality of this documentary is thoroughly impressive, as I found myself enthralled with a duck stamp contest, something I’m sure I wouldn’t have ever enjoyed. The balance Davis took with each of the different stories truly rounds the film out, so it’s no wonder The Million Dollar Duck took both the Jury and Audience awards for Best Documentary at Slamdance Film Festival this year, and also got picked up by Animal Planet.
I’m no fool; I know documentaries have a tendency to be dull, and I can understand how one would be reluctant to go see one with this subject, however I assure you that you will find The Million Dollar Duck in particular truly captivating.
You can catch this documentary at Omaha Film Festival, March 10th at 6:15 pm. Check out their full schedule at http://omahafilmfestival.org.