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Chester County Press

County filmmaker wins award for documentary

02/26/2018 01:51PM ● By J. Chambless

Nancy Penn Smith Hannum was the focus of the short film.

“Goodnight Ladies,” a 37-minute documentary film about the world's most famous Master of Fox Hounds, Nancy Penn Smith Hannum, has won a WINNIE award at the Equus Film Festival for best of Equestrian History.

Directed by Christianna Hannum, Nancy’s granddaughter, the film is the story of a woman whose passion for her sport was unbridled. Christianna said, “My grandmother was as famous as they come. She hunted in Chester County for more than a half-century. How to capture her on film? She broke every bone in her body riding fast horses and jumping big fences. People worshipped her. 'Goodnight Ladies' is a film about an archaic sport, yes, but also a film about class, about America, and about a woman who never stopped in the pursuit of what she believed in.”

The Equus Film Festival was founded in 2013. The recent festival presented more than 80 films. Awards were presented in New York City in November. “Goodnight Ladies” was featured in an Equus film festival in January in Timonium, Ms. “We were sold out,” Christianna said. “I’m looking forward to the same type of reception in South Carolina later this month.”

The Equus film festival in Camden, S.C., will be held from Feb. 23 to 25. Equus is making plans for possible film festivals in England and France with “Goodnight Ladies.”

Equus was created to highlight and award the diverse and creative efforts of those who artistically pay homage to the horse. “Goodnight Ladies” has also won the Eastman Kodak award for cinematography and best short film in Paolo Alto, Calif. The film was a Rome Film finalist.

Christianna Hannum was born in Chester County. “Goodnight Ladies” is her first film. The premiere took place on the 100th anniversary of Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Fox Hounds at the Chester County Historical Society on Nov. 14, 2012. The documentary film began as a larger feature, “Keeping Sound,” in 1998.

“With 'Goodnight Ladies,' I was able to condense and shape a very personal film into a more traditional picture of my grandmother,” Christianna said. “This shorter film is about the joy of the human spirit and a woman who never stopped believing in what she stood for. I show the grandmother I remember, speeding down country roads in her battered Jeep. Gran was passionate about her grandchildren, and this film is for them, and for their children.”

Nancy Penn Smith Hannum died in 2008. Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds was founded in 1912 by Nancy Hannum’s stepfather, Plunket Stewart.

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