D.C. Cogburn, known to his friends and family as "Rooster," had spent much of his life working with animals and running small businesses when in the Nineties he thought he'd found his life's calling -- raising ostriches. Discovering there was a lucrative market for their feathers and hides and that their meat was a lean, healthy source of protein, Cogburn opened an ranch in Arizona, and by 2005 he had 1,600 of the huge birds living on the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch. However, when a pair of hot air balloonists crash-landed on Cogburn's property, the birds panicked, and in the stampede that followed, over half of his herd was dead, ruining his anticipated sales. Cogburn filed a lawsuit against the balloonists in hopes of recovering some of his losses, but the trial turned into a labyrinthine nightmare which left the fiercely independent rancher deeper in the hole than before. Filmmaker and Arizona resident Jonathan VanBallenberghe traces the curious story of Cogburn's life, his career in ostrich ranching, and the circumstances which dashed his dreams in the documentary The Ostrich Testimonies, which was an official selection at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival.
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