“Rare Breed” screened at the Chandler International Film Festival in conjunction with the Chandler Festival for the Arts benefiting Chandler Men of Action.
“Rare Breed” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that recounts the struggle of Alex Dees one of few African American cattle ranchers in Arizona.
Dees also played a key role in developing a new breed of cattle from his farm in Yuma, Arizona.
After battling against discrimination, both financial and professional, Dees became a pioneer and one of the founding breeders of the Brangus breed of cattle.
The Brangus cattle is a mixture of the Brahma breed and the Angus breed in a roughly 60/40 split.
The Brangus cattle exceeds in producing quality beef in dryer more arid climates like the deserts of Arizona or Australia.
“Rare Breed” opens with the birth of a newborn calf and serves as a reminder of the beauty and traumas of the breeding process in captivity.
In a similar way, Dees’ birth into the world of cattle ranching was also balanced with trauma and the beauty and strength that comes from the struggle.
After attending a primarily Native American school where they faced constant discrimination Dees began ranching.
Following the death of his mentor and employer Dees denied a commission in the closing of his estate and instead chose 10 hefers and one bull to start his ranch.
Dees also chose to settle a region of Yuma then called “No mans land,” after facing financial discrimination in the financial sector.
“Rare Breed” serves as a diary to Dees’ struggles and tribulations and painstakingly details the tremendous work involved in ranching: sheering, birthing, feeding, grazing, nursing, trimming, clipping, irrigation, re-seeding, fencing and all other manner of mechanical maintenance.
Dees struggled with his family in numerous ways from failed marriages to estranged children are all put on full display.
“Rare Breed” also documents Dees success in showing cattle and judging in shows despite racial discrimination.
Dees eventually closed his farm after auctioning off the cattle and raising thousands of dollars.
“Rare Breed” is an excellent documentary for people with very specific tastes that lean toward the bovine.