North Dakota is a land rich in stories, many already told and many waiting to be told.
One of those stories caught the attention of a New York photographer and filmmaker, Ejaz Khan.
Khan’s own story alone is quite interesting — but a story he found in Linton, North Dakota, is what filmmaking all about.
First, a little about Khan. His is forte is documenting fashion in film and photos — big lips, big hair, big city.
“Eight, nine years ago, I had a film that was made with some really big stars, and then we had a problem, so we had to put that on the side and I went into some kind of — not depression — but I felt horrible,” Khan recalled.
He turned his attention to photography, shooting wildlife in countries few people have ever been to.
“These things you don’t see in New York,” he explained.
One of his greatest passions became photographing horses, and Khan eventually found himself in North Dakota and in the company of Nokota horse expert, Frank Kuntz, of Linton.
“Horses, I’m comfortable with it. I’m not crazy about being an actor,” Kuntz said matter-of-factly.
Kuntz is a far cry from the prima donnas of New York. He’s more reserved, with a lifelong passion: Saving the Nokota horse.
The Nokota is a unique breed with a long history. Its ancestors include early Native American and frontier ranch horses, bred for use as war horses — “buffalo runners.”
Many lived wild in the rugged badlands, avoiding humans.
“There’s less than a thousand of this type of horse left in the world,” Kuntz noted. “They’re not the fastest thing out there but they’re tough.”
A tough, rare breed of horse. And a man with a wealth of knowledge about the animals in his head.
“A lot of people just don’t know the history of what happened to that horse,” said Kuntz.
The stuff movies are made of.
“Should I make a film? Should I make a film?” Khan wondered. “Because I think it’s so important the information that he stores in his mind. It’s not vastly known to anyone else.”
This is why Khan made Kuntz and the Nakota horses the stars of an upcoming episode in a Netflix series called, “Vanishing Knowledge.”
“It’s all about information being lost,” said Khan. “What Frank has will get lost if he doesn’t pass it on to the right people.”
But now, Kuntz’s knowledge will be shared with the world, all because a New York filmmaker came to rural Linton, North Dakota see a man about a horse.
“Vanishing Knowlege” is set to be released in April 2021.