June 2, 2016 by lunchboxcity
Whether we’re replacing rotary phones with smartphones, nights out at the theater with nights in binge-watching shows on Netflix, Americans living in the year 2016 are all too familiar with the narrative of phasing out the old and welcoming in the new.
Sometimes, in situations like these, new certainly can be a cause for celebration. But in a world where jobs across all industries are being replaced by technology that can do it faster, and entertainment is being reduced from unforgettable live experiences to Disney on Ice, we have to stop and wonder what we’re losing. Because in rare cases, when art and history find each other in a moment of magic, evolution comes at a major loss, and what is left behind can be much greater than what is gained.
Such was the case in 2006, when Ringling Bros. made an announcement that would mark the beginning of a new era in circus history — an era that ushered in arena-only performances and, in turn, left behind its three-rings, its involvement of animals, and the only major stage for an entire group of extreme circus artists.
For centuries, the evolution of circus included and even revolved around this unique combination of art and acrobatics, talent and gusto, man and steed. The Rosinback Riders, the Bareback Riders, the Equine Extremists — no matter how we remember their professional titles, it is crucial to recognize the faces behind the now endangered breed; to learn about the lives and loss of generations of circus families left without a ring to ride in, or a livelihood to rely on.
The Donnerts, the Loyals, the Suarez’, the Turveys, and the Zoppes. These are just a few of the bareback dynasties Philly production team, Lunchbox Communications, wants to acquaint you with in their latest project, The Great Flip-Off.
The Great Flip-Off is a feature-length indie documentary that captures the 2006 reunion of riding royalty for one death-defying performance, and aims to return a decade later to show how these families have dealt with the passing of time. Some, like Olissio Zoppe, continue to trick-ride in much smaller arenas, while others, like Tommie Turvey, adapted to the times and achieved unusual success by shifting focus to animal training. Still there are even more who, sadly, could not fill the void created by the announcement, and went on to face ultimate heartbreak.
The near-extinction of the art and lives of the riders who were once so crucial to the American three-ring circus underscores the importance of bringing this story to life now. Fortunately, The Great Flip-Off is the only Philly documentary to be accepted into the UNTOLD STORY crowdfunding rally hosted by Project Greenlight Digital Studios and Seed&Spark. With the help of at least 500 followers and $10,000 raised during their one-month-long campaign that ends June 23rd, the dedicated team of creatives could qualify for matching finishing funds, distribution, and, above all, the chance to return to the riders abandoned by their circus.
In a world that seems to easily phase out the old, you can help save the magic by preserving this untold story.