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We really hope you Tweet this story A documentary based on faculty member Martin J. Smith's 'The Wild Duck Chase' will premiere at Slamdance

The Million Dollar Duck, a documentary based on the book The Wild Duck Chase, written by Department of English faculty member Martin J. Smith, premieres Jan. 24 at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Like Smith’s book, the film explores the peculiar world of competitive duck painting as it plays out in The Federal Duck Stamp Program. Say what?

Yes, every year the federal government runs a juried art competition inviting wildlife artists to compete for the coveted honor of having their rendering of an American waterfowl grace the federal stamp that hunters are required to purchase to legally head out into the field. It gained a bit of quirky attention in Joel Coen‘s 1996 film Fargo. While a very pregnant Sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) tries to solve a particularly grisly murder, her husband (John Carroll Lynch) toils away at his duck stamp entry, lamenting that it probably won’t be good enough to beat the legendary waterfowl artists, the Hautman brothers.

The less widely known beauty of the federal program is that sales of the stamps support conservation of important wetland habitat and the careful management of the nation’s waterfowl populations for generations of artists and hunters to come.

Check out the documentary trailer below.


Dawn Bonker

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