By Mark Kenyon:
“This is hunting. It’s a bloodsport. And make no mistake about it, we’re here to kill him.” – Donnie Vincent
The him in this quote was Steve. And no, Donnie was not a planning the murder of an addicted gambler who owed him $50,000. Steve was a whitetail deer, living in the Badlands of North Dakota, who sported a a giant, ivory rack. Steve was a massive and mature buck, he was the object of Donnie’s singular desire and he is the focus of one of the most incredible hunting films I have ever seen. “The River’s Divide”.
“The River’s Divide” is a full length film, just under an hour, devoted to the several year journey that Donnie Vincent embarked on in his hunt for the buck named Steve. If you haven’t already figured this out, “The River’s Divide” is not your usual hunting DVD. Rather than showing kill after kill after kill, this film instead focuses on one man and one deer. The entire time. That being said, the highlight of this film really is the story itself. It’s a story of struggle, of perseverance, of overcoming adversity and it’s a story that I think many hunters can relate to. Most importantly, this is a story that is enjoyable to watch. If you’ve ever chased whitetails, especially mature whitetails, you’ll definitely be able to relate to the roller-coaster of emotions felt by Donnie as he bounces from frustrations to moments of joy over the course of his hunts.
Set over the course of two years, we see Donnie try different locations, different ways of hunting, and different times of year. Always though with the same goal, to kill Steve. In the end, the story does come to a fitting conclusion, but I obviously can’t tell you what happens. Regardless though of if Steve does meet his maker, the narrative and events leading up the the final chapter of this film are excellent. It is story telling at it’s finest, and it’s the first time I’ve seen this level of creative excellence put in place for a whitetail related film. In short, this tale spun in “The River’s Divide” is incredible.
As important as a relatable and exciting story is, the production and execution of a creative plan is key to producing a film that captivates an audience. The Sicmanta group, whom produced “The River’s Divide”, definitely was able to do this. The production value of this film is top notch and is a welcome breath of fresh air for whitetail videos. We’ve seen a couple other high production films pop up in the hunting world over the past year or so (for example, Searching For West), but it’s really exciting to finally see this happen for deer.
Epic scenery, gorgeous camera work and music that seems to draw you into the wild with Donnie makes for a film that is completely engaging. If you’re a fan of Heartland Bowhunter, Sitka Films, or many of the popular skiing/outdoor athlete genre films, you’ll have a bit of an idea of what to expect with “The River’s Divide”.
In short, “The River’s Divide” is one of the best films I’ve seen created in the hunting industry yet. It is beautifully filmed, set in a gorgeous location, fraught with drama and anticipation, and finally and possibly most importantly it is just damn relatable. The frustration, the stress, the angst and anticipation. These emotions are ever so present for me during the fall months while hunting my heart out, and in some strange way, it’s reassuring that Donnie faced the same adversity and yet still overcame.
The hunt for Steve is a story worth telling, and lucky for us, it was told by a damn good story telling crew. Watch this film, you won’t regret it.
Where To See it
If you want to see this film for yourself, you have a couple options. First off, it’s going to air on national television sometime in October. You can bet I’ll be tuned in for that. Secondly, it’s eventually going to be available on DVD/blu ray, for purchase in stores, online, and as well as for digital purchase/download. If you’re interested in getting an update when the film is available, subscribe to the newsletter here – http://donnievincent.com/contact/.
Lastly, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer for the film below. I think you’ll begin to understand my glowing review once you see this preview!