County Antrim Hollywood star Liam Neeson lent his voice-over skills, for free, to the new short movie examining the shared history of horses and humans in New York City, included the controversial topic of horse and carriages in Central Park.
Neeson has been a longtime advocate for the continuation of these horse and carriages in Central Park. In March 2014 he publicly announced his support for the horse and carriage drivers and told New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to “man up” as he attempted to have the long tradition nixed. De Blasio is pushing for the carriages to be replaced by vintage cars.
The new 10-minute film, created by award-winning directors, writers and film producers Mary Haverstick and Michele Mercure, looks at how horses and their labor have shaped New York City.
In the opening moments of the movie Neeson says, “When man filmed the first moving images he turned the camera on something deeply familiar: a companion that had been by his side for thousands of years. And when he built ships and roads and cities, they did the work side by side. Now their work together is mostly forgotten and only a rare few of us still carry forward that ancient bond.”
Neeson also asks, “Should the government be able to shut down a legal, thriving, regulated business, rendering the skills and property of workers to little or no value?”
Mercure explained that they became drawn in to this story. He told the NY Daily News, “It became a labor of love. When we started interviewing people, it became much larger. This issue has more connections than people realize . . . quite a few will be affected if there’s a ban.”
The filmmakers plan a private screening of the film in May for friends and family. They are also hoping to show it in public, to community groups, unions and politicians. A spokesman for the Historic Horse and Carriages of Central Park told the NY Daily News the industry hopes to use the film to educate PETA and NYCLASS.