A film by Anuradha Rana and Laurie Little
Produced by B. RIch
Musher is a feature length documentary that follows four women mushers and their sled dogs over the course of an exhilarating year as they prepare to compete at the annual Copperdog 80/150 Race held in March in the upper peninsula of Michigan. From the youngest, Kelsey Beaber, who just participated in her first race, to Blair Braverman, a published author who writes about her experiences, Alex LaPlante whose day job as a vet is a perfect foil to her hobby, and Martha Schouweiler, who climbs a 30-foot rope as part of her daily regimen, we explore how women influence this sport.
From the moment a newborn puppy begins its career as a sled dog, to the day a dog is retired from the sport, the lives of sled dogs (and mushers) resemble those of devoted athletes from other sports. The year is based around racing, and throughout it we see the challenges faced by the teams, focus on the bonds between the animals and their humans, and observe the everyday lives of people.
“Musher” follows four female sled-dog racers as they prepare for the annual Copperdog150, bonding with their dogs, and passing the torch between women and girls and their dogs and puppies. As each musher prepares for the race, we reveal their community, devotion to the lifestyle, and how women influence the sport.
We believe in the power of subtlety to convey messages and pose questions for an audience to ponder. This film celebrates the lives of sled dogs and those living with them, and it has the potential to bring attention to animal welfare, gender equality and environmental concerns.
Anuradha Rana | Director and Producer
Born and raised in India, Anuradha Rana’s immigrant roots create the lens of a curious interloper at the heart of her films, where everyday characters push conventional boundaries. She was a 2019 CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) Fellow, a finalist at Tribeca Film Institute’s 2019 If/Then Shorts program, showcased at the TFI Network in 2020, and selected for the 2021 Chicago Independent Producer’s Lab organized by Full Spectrum Features and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Anuradha is an Associate Professor and Co-Chair of the Documentary Program at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts, and Creative Lead for the Diverse Voices in Doc Fellowship organized by Kartemquin Films and Community Film Workshop of Chicago. She was named one of Chicago Film’s 50 Screen Gems by Newcity Magazine in 2017 and 2019 and a DCASE Esteemed Artist in 2021.
Laurie Little | Director and Producer
Originally from Canada, Laurie Little is a Chicago based filmmaker, artist and educator. Her films have screened in festivals and exhibitions worldwide and her observational documentaries and short fiction films work to inspire dialogue and advocacy for change. Her film, “Sisters March”, a short documentary reflecting on the journey between Chicago and DC, connects voices of hope, empowerment, and intersectionality during the Women’s March. “Totalité” about Photographer/Umbraphile Richard Bellia, looks at Bellia’s passion for the creative process and its parallels to nature. Her latest feature documentary, “Musher” follows four female dog sled racers ranging from ages 13 to 64, on the Lake Superior race circuit a collaboration. Little is currently producing “The Light of Truth: Richard Hunt’s Monument for Ida B. Wells”. Her short film, Canopy screened at “Night of Ideas” at the Field Museum just before the pandemic hit. Little holds a BFA from York University and an MFA in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago where she teaches the classes Documenting Social Injustice and Culture Race and Media. Her work as a freelance digital artist/colorist helps to support her passion projects.
B. Rich | Producer
B. Rich is a writer, filmmaker, designer, teacher and storyteller. He holds an MFA in Film/Video, and a BA in Biology. He writes and directs both fiction and nonfiction films, shoots his own and others’ documentaries, and seeks to distill complex concepts and issues into relatable stories that speak across boundaries, ‘bubbles’ and differences. He weaves stories across multiple media formats, like games, interactive designs and virtual reality. His love of non-fiction is grounded in his desire to experience others’ cultures and see the world through their eyes as authentically as possible. His creative focus never strays far from his interests in the environment, sustainable development, gender, aging and inequity.
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