A new film — The Million Dollar Duck — gives us a chance to see the characters and back story involved today in one of America’s most long-lived stamp series: the federal duck stamp.
The documentary focuses on the strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only juried, art competition run by the U.S. government, in this case, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The film offers a look at the eccentric nature of the contestants who enter each year for a chance at wildlife art stardom, while also reflecting upon the history and challenges facing the continued existence of this successful conservation program. The stamp, as wildfowl hunters and stamp collectors know, must be affixed annually to validate hunting licenses, and the money raised by the fee goes to conservation efforts.
Director Brian Golden Davis’ film, which followed the 2013 contest, won both the audience and jury awards for best feature documentary at the Park City festival.
This is from part of Slug Magazine’s review: “I give props to Brian Golden Davis (director) and Martin J. Smith (author of The Wild Duck Chase, which inspired the film) for creating an engaging documentary about what, on paper, sounds generally uninteresting. They’ve made this topic relevant and entertaining … We find ourselves rooting for one artist or another, and their hardships, disappointments and shortcomings are felt. It’s also inspiring.”