Film on Hannum wins WINNIE award

Christianna Hannum

Goodnight Ladies, a 37-minute documentary film about the world’s most famous Master of Fox Hounds, Nancy Penn Smith Hannum, has won a WINNIE award at the Equus Film Festival for best of Equestrian History.

Directed by Christianna Hannum, Nancy’s granddaughter, the adventure film is an epic story of a woman whose passion for her sport was unbridled. Christianna said, “My grandmother was as famous as they come. She hunted in Chester County for more than a half century. How to capture her on film? She broke every bone in her body riding fast horses and jumping big fences. People worshiped her. Goodnight Ladies is a film about an archaic sport, yes, but also a film about class, about America, and about a woman who never stopped in the pursuit of what she believed in.”

The Equus Film Festival was founded in 2013. The recent festival presented more than 80 films. Awards were presented in New York City in November. Goodnight Ladies was featured in an Equus film festival in January in Timonium, MD. “We were sold out,” Christianna said. “I’m looking forward to the same type of reception in South Carolina later this month.”

The Equus film festival in Camden, SC, will be held from February 23 until February 25. Equus is making plans for possible film festivals in England and France with Goodnight Ladies.

Equus was created to highlight and award the diverse and creative efforts of those who artistically pay homage to the horse. The festival empowers storytellers to show the rich history and diverse tapestry of horses in human culture through equestrian content.

Goodnight Ladies has also won the Eastman Kodak award for cinematography and best short film in Paolo Alto, CA. The film was a Rome Film finalist. A film team from New York City was used to capture footage of Nancy Penn Smith Hannum.

Christianna Hannum was born in Chester County and attended the University of Pennsylvania and the Universita di Bologna to study Art History. She was awarded a national Coro Fellowship in public policy. Christianna moved to New York City where she founded Swim Pictures. Goodnight Ladies is her first film. She is also a writer and is currently working on happy, happier, Happiest, a memoir of her international adoption of siblings from Latvia.

Goodnight Ladies’ premiere took place on the 100th anniversary of Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Fox Hounds at the Chester County Historical Society on November 14, 2012. The documentary film, shot on super 16-mm film, began as a larger feature, Keeping Sound, in 1998.

“With Goodnight Ladies, I was able to condense and shape a very personal film into a more traditional picture of my grandmother,” Christianna said. “This shorter film is about the joy of the human spirit and a woman who never stopped believing in what she stood for. In Goodnight Ladies, I show the grandmother I remember, speeding down country roads in her battered Jeep. Gran was passionate about her grandchildren, and this film is for them, and for their children.”

Nancy Penn Smith Hannum died in 2008. Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds was founded in 1912 by Nancy Hannum’s step-father Plunket Stewart who married Hannum’s mother, Carol Harriman, after Hannum’s father died of pneumonia at age 35.

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