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Director Behind Disney’s Black Beauty and Nation’s Top Horse Protection Lobbyist Announce Partnership to Produce Film

Wild Beauty Film

Wild Beauty Film

Marty Irby

Marty Irby, one of The Hill's Top Lobbyists for 2019 and 2020 who was honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses.

Ashley Avis, creator of ‘Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West,’ and director behind Disney’s ‘Black Beauty.’

Ashley Avis, creator of ‘Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West,’ and director behind Disney’s ‘Black Beauty.’

'Wild Beauty' Documentary Seeks to Capture the Spirit of Iconic American Wild Mustangs

The relationship between humans and horses has been a key part of our evolution and history. The American Wild horse deserves our respect and protection.”
— Jeremy Bolt, producer of Disney’s ‘Black Beauty’
LOS ANGELES , CALIFORNIA , USA , June 3, 2021 / -- Today, Ashley Avis, the director behind Disney’s newly released film, Black Beauty, founder of Winterstone Pictures, and president of the Wild Beauty Foundation, and Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and one of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists for 2020, who was recently recognized by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for his work to protect horses, announced a new partnership to produce “Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West,” a passion project and documentary centered around the plight of America’s iconic wild mustangs that have long-faced eradication by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“Wild Beauty” is a sweeping, cinematic experience that will immerse audiences into the world of wild horses— exploring their closely bonded families and profound emotions. Using innovative technology, this elegant narrative journey will highlight the under-illuminated issues wild mustangs are facing today, while emotionally connecting viewers to the horses and their stories.

“Whilst Producing Black Beauty and working with Ashley Avis I became aware of the plight of the American Wild Horse. Horses helped shape the modern world, especially America. We owe them and we should protect them— all of them,” said Jeremy Bolt, producer of Disney’s ‘Black Beauty.’ “Horses pulled our carts and wagons. They helped fight our wars and plowed our fields. The relationship between humans and horses has been a key part of our evolution and history. The American Wild horse deserves our respect and protection. It played a major role in the development of this country— horses are a central part of America.”

“Herd management is key to finding a way forward in order to protect our iconic American mustang from round ups and holding pens,” said Monty Roberts, the Man Who Listens to Horses. “It is my great pleasure to become a part of The Wild Beauty Foundation whose mission aligns with my philosophy of studying horses to teach us that violence is never the answer. To save the wild horses is to preserve the therapeutic qualities for humans to learn from.”

“Growing up with horses, it wasn’t until I began writing the screenplay for Black Beauty, that I realized what wild horses were going through in our country,” said Ashley Avis, creator of ‘Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West,’ and director behind Disney’s ‘Black Beauty.’ “The helicopter roundups, the tearing apart of families, it’s devastating and deeply antiquated. My partner Edward Winters, and I knew that we had a unique platform in entertainment to help raise awareness, and we are fortunate to be supported by an outstanding team. Few people know about what is happening to our wild horses, and that’s a huge part of the problem. We are working tirelessly to change that.”

“I’m elated to join world-class director Ashley Avis, Jeremy Bolt, and Winterstone Pictures in producing ‘Wild Beauty’ and believe this venture will help educate Americans about the plight of our wild horses and the imminent threat of eradication they face,” said Marty Irby, one of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists and an eight-time world champion equestrian. “America was built on the backs of horses, and they are iconic symbols of the west that should be revered – not rounded-up, incarcerated, and shipped off to slaughter at the hands of politicians and federal bureaucrats.”


The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was signed into law in 1971 as advocates who love American mustangs lamented the poisoning, shootings, and round-ups that left around 25,000 wild horses on the range. But enactment and implementation are two different matters and by 1973, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was rounding up so-called “excess numbers,” and adopting out those captured horses and burros to private owners. Many of them ended up in the slaughter pipeline, and there’s been constant controversy over the population levels and Herd Management Areas (HMA) ever since. In recent years, the BLM, has utilized helicopter round-ups to corral and incarcerate more than 70,000 wild mustangs from public lands, and the threat these icons face continues to grow. The New York Times published and investigative story on the issue earlier this month. There are now more than 4.3 million cattle and sheep on our western lands – 30 of these domesticated ruminants for every wild horse. Livestock interests have long sought to exterminate the wild equines, who eons ago occupied a central role in the North American ecosystem, or to reduce them to remnant populations that are the equivalent of functional extinction

Ashley Avis is a filmmaker and passionate longtime equestrian. She is the writer, director and editor of Black Beauty on Disney+, starring Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Mackenzie Foy, and Iain Glen which acclaimed film critic Richard Roeper calls “a beautifully uplifting film ... a gorgeous, sweeping epic.” Ashley recently founded The Wild Beauty Foundation, and runs boutique production company Winterstone Pictures in Los Angeles alongside her husband and producing partner Edward Winters. Upcoming projects include writing and show running the television series Breyer Hollow for Imagine Entertainment’s Executive Producers Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Stephanie Sperber. Ashley’s great hope is to illuminate important issues wild and domestic horses are facing today, while also reaching children and families through positive messaging, education, and creative programs. The Wild Beauty Foundation recently debuted “A Day With a Horse,” a special immersive experience created for the patients of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Marty Irby is an eight-time world champion equestrian who currently serves as the executive director at Animal Wellness Action (AWA) in Washington, D.C. Irby worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as Communications Director and Animal Protection Advisor to Congressman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and has testified in hearings before the U.S. Congress on horse protection issues on numerous occasions. He was named as one of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists for 2019 and 2020 for his work securing the enactment of six federal animal protection laws including the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act that was signed into law in December. Irby was recognized in 2020 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses and was featured in Forbes Magazine in April of this year. Irby’s written works on horse protection have been published by NBC News, USA Today, Chicago Daily Herald, The Hill, Lexington Herald-Leader, Louisville Courier-Journal, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Boulder Weekly, Horse Nation, Pennsylvania Capital-Star, and dozens of other outlets across America.

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West is a documentary currently in production by The Wild Beauty Foundation and Winterstone Pictures.
Written, directed, and produced by Ashley Avis, the project’s team includes producers Edward Winters (Black Beauty), Richard Avis (Adolescence), Executive Producers Jeremy Bolt (Black Beauty), Larry Hummel (Them That Follow), Laurel Werner, and Andres Liljeblad. Partners include Marty Irby and Cameron Ring, with cinematography by Kai Krause.

The Wild Beauty Foundation is proudly sponsored by Blundstone and the Xanadu Fund at Greater Horizons.



Marty Irby
Wild Beauty Film
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