Mustang Leadership Partners

EQUUS Film Festival

New York City, EQUUS Film Festival


Dr. Wells attended the 2017 EQUUS Film Festival in New York City, accompanied by 4 CGLA students, 1 faculty member, and CGLA’s Executive Director, Dr. Elaine Swafford. Chattanooga’s Mustang Leadership Partners’ Documentary When the Dust Settles won a Winnie award at EQUUS Film Festival. A documentary highlighting the parallel struggles and feats of mustangs and disadvantaged girls from Chattanooga’s urban core also won Best Feature Length Documentary Award at the film festival in New York City.

The EQUUS Film Festival highlights and awards the diverse and creative efforts of those who artistically pay homage to the horse. The Chattanooga based documentary When the Dust Settles made its debut in New York.

The hour long film shows the parallel struggles and triumphs of mustangs and disadvantaged girls. Recognized nationally as a “living symbol of the historic and pioneer spirit”, the wild American mustang has preserved through persecution, starvation, abuse, neglect, natural disasters, and predators. It is this resilience, the mustang’s spirit and beauty, and her father’s legacy that inspired Dr. Sue Anne Wells to establish Mustang Leadership Partners (MLP) to help sustain and preserve the breed. Realizing the powerful leadership lessons that mustangs can provide, Dr. Wells launched an equestrian program in 2009 at the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA), Tennessee’s first all-girls public charter school, which she helped co-found. CGLA serves primarily underserved minority girls in grades 6-12 and most have never been around a horse prior to starting the program. Meeting two hours each week through the school year, the MLP program exposes girls to a variety of hands-on experiences grounded in science, life skills, and leadership development. The journey of these students- and horses- is spotlighted in When the Dust Settles.


Watch “When the Dust Settles”


Chattanooga, TN premiered When the Dust Settles



Telly Award


The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. With the recent evolution and rise of digital video (web series, VR, 360 and beyond), the Telly Awards today also reflects and celebrates this exciting new era of the moving image on and offline.

The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world. The Telly Awards recognizes work that has been created on the behalf of a client, for a specific brand and/or company or self-directed as a creative endeavor.



Winnie Award


When the Dust Settles, was shown at the EQUUS Film Festival in 2017 where it won both the Wild Horse Full Length Documentary and Best of Festival about Wild Horses WINNIE Awards. This film shows the parallel struggles and triumphs that mustangs and disadvantaged girls from inner city Chattanooga have faced in their lives.


EQUUS Film Festival was “founded in 2013 by director Lisa Diersen and adding Diana De Rosa as co-organizer in 2015, the EQUUS Film Festival has grown into the “don’t miss” equestrian film industry event. In 2017, over 80 films were shown with the opportunity to win coveted WINNIE Awards for being the best in the herd, including Equestrian Art Film, Director, Documentary, Commercial, International, Music Video, People’s Choice and Best of Festival. EQUUS has created WINNIE Award categories for Literature and Art, which has rounded out its commitment to being the home to the storytellers of the horse world.”

Los Angeles, EQUUS Film Festival. June 2018.


Lexington, EQUUS Film Festival July 2019


With EQUUS Film Festival, MLP travelled to Breyerfest this year! This event celebrates many different breeds and is held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Students from CGLA introduced to a full stadium the mustangs with whom they have established a close bond. Several MLP mustangs, Amis, Argentina, Jolene, and Lily, travelled to Lexington to experience the vibrant community there. They were well behaved, focused on their job, and a crowd pleaser. Many who attended the event enjoyed meeting the mustangs and learning about their history.


To learn more about EQUUS Film Festival


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