The true story of Kendrick, a young calf roper in Lafayette, Louisiana who dreams of one day making it to the rodeo national championship in Las Vegas. (logline)
At its heart, The Roper deals with a young man’s ambition, hopes and dreams, in addition to the defiance of mainstream expectations. Kendrick Domingue, the focus of the film, is an African-American in the world of professional rodeo. He’s likeable. He’s charismatic. And he has ambitions of one day making it to the national championships, even if it’s just one brief time.
The film is actually part of Lucid Inc’s Meet Me Here series, which features short documentaries about select unique people and groups. The entire library is worth checking out (shorts range from a woman who doesn’t waste anything, to a church made up of bikers), and can be found scattered throughout their Vimeo account here: https://vimeo.com/lucidinc.
While The Roper was originally made solely for the purpose of adding to the library, the film ended up being circulated online before being picked up by The One Club — winning awards for Best Documentary, Best Cinematography, and Best of Show. In addition to other various awards and festivals, The Roper was eventually selected to be shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
The short presents a unique journalistic take within a cinematic experience, and gives a distinct look at what life is like for one man within the professional rodeo circuit. I personally found it interesting to see the idea of “today’s cowboy” in the modern world — hanging around outside gas stations and riding horses on paved roads.
In a sense, The Roper doesn’t even feel like something that was meant for a short film. It feels like a video made for a Kickstarter campaign by people hoping to make a full-length documentary. With that said, I’d fund it. I’d love to see the feature version.
The Roper briefly touches on race issues, as well as the gaps in perception from generation to generation. It features an inspiring premise and lead, and will leave the viewer wishing it was much longer than its 6 minute runtime.