Fire on the Hill

Three urban cowboys fight to live out their vision of the West

Fire on the Hill When a sudden and mysterious fire wipes out the Hill Stable, the last public horse stable in South Central, Los Angeles, a culture of urban cowboys come under threat. This western-documentary follows the life and struggles of three inner-city cowboys and the line they must walk between the gang-filled streets of LA and the path of an American Black cowboy.

Fire on the Hill (2018) on IMDb


LaurelLA Film Festival - Documentary Award Winner
LaurelTwin Cities Film Fest - Finalist
LaurelDoc NYC - Official Selection
Laurel Big Sky Documentary Film Festival - Artistic Vision Award Winner
LaurelSonoma International Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelMountainfilm - Official Selection
LaurelBANFF Mountain Film and Book Festival - Finalist
LaurelPort Townsend Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelPortland Film Festival - Best Documentary Feature Grand Jury Award
LaurelHeartland International Film Festival - Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award Winner

Reviews and More

...the expectation-defying doc focuses on a disparate trio of modern-day Los Angeles cowboys: the visionary, the athlete and the player.” – Hollywood Reporter

...The intimacy of the interviews can be attributed to the close relationship that director Brett Fallentine fostered with his subjects. Through them, we learn not only about their personal struggles but the unrest of their community as well.” – Santa Barbara Independent

Watch a Q&A with director Brett Fallentine at LA Film Festival here.

To learn more and support Fire On The Hill, head to the film's website here.

The Producers

Brett Fallentine - Director

Brett began his career working at Skywalker Ranch on Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Mentored by George Lucas, he left to attend USC’s Cinematic Arts program where he earned an MFA degree while working as James Cameron’s Assistant Editor on Avatar. After receiving multiple awards for his student films, he transitioned into commercial and documentary filmmaking in 2008. His commercials have garnered millions of views, several Webby Awards, and a Cannes Lion.

In 2018, Brett completed his first feature-length documentary titled Fire on the Hill. The film highlights Brett’s unique expertise for gritty storytelling in a stunningly, cinematic way. The film won Best Documentary at the L.A. Film Festival and the Creative Vision Award at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and distributed worldwide in 2019.

Making The Film

Director's Statement

I came into this documentary like many first-time directors do—with a handful of assumptions of what the story could be and turned out to be anything but real. Take Chris, a young Black male from Compton, CA who enters into the world of professional rodeo. Like most, I assumed that he would encounter some level of discrimination. Yet what I discovered through his journey was a side of rodeo that operated more as a family than a group of opponents reaching for the top. Just as meeting the cowboys defied my assumptions about South Central, diving into the world of rodeo broke down the stereotypes of this culture that I didn’t realize I had.

In the same way, it’s my hope this film breaks down the many assumptions that we all make about the cultures that we don’t know. As the world steams towards division, this film attempts to show just how similar we are. I hope that audience members walk away with new insights and bridges into other cultural worlds throughout our Nation that can help us all to understand one another just a little bit more. This film could not have been made without the help of the many women and men who helped along the way. Those who didn’t make it into the film, helped out with photos and archival films. The PRCA, the entity in charge of pro rodeo, allowed us unparalleled access into their world and trusted us to tell this story truthfully and how our cameras saw it. And our own production staff rallied for years around this film with little to no pay because their hearts believed that this was truly an important story that must be shared. It truly was a tribe from all walks of life that rallied around this film.

Finally, I want to mention the cowboy as part of the American mythology. To me, a “cowboy” is neither man nor woman nor any race nor creed. It is value system that we hold ourselves to. Whether it’s helping those less fortunate, muscling through the hard times, or the relentless pursuit of justice, we all have our notions of what a “cowboy” means to us. Throughout the post process of this film, the editors and I constantly sought out what it means to be a cowboy in the eyes of our subjects. This eventually became the spine of each of their stories. Personally, I strive to my own inner cowboy and hope that this film will encourage audience members to ask what values they subscribe to in their own lives. I truly believe that if we all took a moment to reflect on our own inner-cowboys it would help plot a course to a more compassionate life for all.

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