RARITAN TWP., N.J. — Annie is a little horse who helps troubled children who need to re-find joy in their lives.She also has a big dream, for her and her friends to have a permanent home.

Annie is also the star of Little Horse, Big Medicine a short film that will be shown at the Equus Film Festival in New York City.

The film is about a little girl who lost her best friend in a car accident. When she loses interest in everything around her, her grandmother takes her to Team Velvet, where miniature horse, Annie helps her through her grief. The story is told from Annie's point of view.

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Team Velvet, Inc. provides multi-modal horse therapy for traumatized children ages 5 to 12 with psychologist Dr. Susan Edwards, who wrote the script.

Due to privacy laws, real clients can’t be filmed so the film is about a hypothetical situation. However, according to the Team Velvet website, each day there is a child who experiences the death of a loved one, witnesses violence, is victimized by crime or intense bullying, disfigured by an accident, or other countless events — all resulting in severe childhood trauma. In the extreme, child trauma may cause flashbacks, blackouts, and may result in severe and harmful physical behavior. Team Velvet, Inc. is a non-profit organization providing proven and effective psychological counseling for children with trauma, often at little or no cost to the family.

Team Velvet currently leases a farm but Dr. Edwards would one day like to own it so the program can continue long after she's gone. Lillian Shupe, publisher of TAPinto Horses has been writing about the program for many years and  more recently members of her 4-H club started volunteering with the program. “Dr. Edwards is so passionate about helping these children, I would love to see her find a permanent home for this program,” she said, “So I suggested the creation of a video to enter into the Equus Film Festival to help raise awareness and, hopefully, in turn raise funds toward the purchase of the farm.”

Dr. Edwards came up with a script, some actors were recruited and “on a brutally hot humid day in July we did a few hours of filming to get enough for a video that's only a few minutes long,” said Shupe.

Molly Cleary played Peggy, while her little sister, Lucy provided a voice for Annie. Their real life grandmother, Rita Cleary played Peggy’s grandmother. Team Velvet board member Kathy Piparo and her daughters, Christina and Natalie handled the horses helped behind the scenes.

“The problem was, I’m good at the photography side but have not done much with editing video,” Shupe said. “My brother, David Ryan, however, is a professional video editor, so I recruited him to help."

"When I looked at the raw footage, my heart sunk. I didn’t think it could ever come together but David worked his magic and every time I watch the video, it brings tears to my eyes.”

As the saying goes, “It takes a village,” some fill video was needed but the Cleary family was not available, so David’s wife Deirdre, a professional photographer, and daughter, Jayden came up on yet another brutally hot day to get the extra footage.

“We also had some technical difficulties which caused many delays and the entry deadline was fast approaching. I didn’t think we were going to get it done, but somehow we did. It was a bit of a miracle,” Shupe said, “Now we’re hoping for a bigger miracle, someone to purchase the farm.”

To learn more about Team Velvet see www.teamvelvet.com

The annual EQUUS Film Festival will be held at the WYTHE Hotel in Brooklyn, N.Y., Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 with three days of films, Directors Panels, filmmaker Q&As, a Welcome Gathering, WINNIE Awards and more.

The program schedule for this year’s EQUUS Film Festival will include over 30 feature length films and documentaries along with over 35 equestrian shorts.

The 2018 EQUUS Film Festival will open with a Welcome Gathering on Thursday evening, Nov. 29, at the Wild Horses of Sable Island Gallery. This will include a meet-and-greet with equestrian filmmakers, authors and artists. It will conclude on Sunday evening, Dec. 2, with the WINNIE Awards.

Purchase tickets at www.equusfilmfestival.net.

See more Equestrian news at www.TAPintoHorses.net

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TAPintoHorses/

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