From Friday, Jan. 16, to Sunday, Jan. 17, the Border Inn near Baker hosted its annual Sheepherder’s Ball.
On Saturday, a young filmmaker named Jared Jakins presented a documentary that provided a small look into the current state of the industry. Jakins directed the film with his wife Carly. Titled “Ghosts on the Mountain” and shot in remote areas of Utah’s Wasatch Plateau, the short film documents migrant workers from Mexico and Peru tending American-owned sheep herds.
The film was well shot and revealed several candid and poignant moments in the workers’ lives.
“Americans don’t want to work that hard,” said an American sheepherder supervisor.
“People eat oranges, but they don’t know where they come from,” a Mexican migrant worker tells his interviewer. “Who does that kind of work? The Latino.”
Another migrant worker fashioned punching bags from sand-filled sacks.
“To keep my hands tough,” he said.
The discussion after the screening proved informative and swirled through controversial issues such as race, labor and immigration. Jakins explained his was an “ethnographic” film, meaning that social science researchers could interpret it as data. The film was also nominated for a 2014 Emmy Award for Long Form Student Production.
Jakins said he is still trying to get the documentary aired on KUED, the public television station in Salt Lake City. The film will be uploaded soon on the website of the same name and trailers are available on YouTube.