Short documentaries

Director: John McDonald, Nina Schwanse

Length: 11 minutes

MULE: Living on the Outside follows the journey of John Sears aka Mule and his three mules. They have been traveling throughout the western United States for three decades and lived outdoors every single day for over twelve years. Practicing this nomadic lifestyle, however, is becoming more difficult. Urban sprawl and crowded highways are consuming much of the open space that once allowed them to move freely and find a place to spend the night. Although the Mules are welcome by many, confrontations with law enforcement have resulted in citations, court appearances, arrests, incarceration and even institutionalization. Nevertheless, Mule is determined to continue the journey– through noisy cities, quiet suburban neighborhoods, small country towns and the backcountry wilderness. A man who values individual freedom above all else, Mule represents the right of all citizens to choose their own path, to roam freely across the land and sleep under the stars.

The directors returned in 2023 with a full-length documentary, “Call Me Mule,” which won the award for Excellence in Filmmaking.