Wendie-Malick-wild-horse-annie-hallmarkIf you work alongside Betty White, good things will happen on TV, but in her case, she is a star in her own full right. And now Hallmark Movie Channel announces “Wild Horse Annie,” a Hallmark Movie Channel Original Premiere starring Emmy® and Golden Globe nominee Wendie Malick (“Hot in Cleveland,” “Just Shoot Me”), is in development with an anticipated premiere date of Summer 2012.  Ms. Malick will also serve as Executive Producer of the film which is adapted from a portion of Deanne Stillman’s grand epic Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West.  Helen Bartlett (“North Country”) is Executive Producer.  The screenplay will be written by Jenny Wingfield (“Man in the Moon”).  Deanne Stillman will also produce.

“Wild Horse Annie’ is the triumphant story of Velma Johnston’s commitment to majestic wild horses; that they be preserved, enjoyed and celebrated by generations of Americans,” said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.  “It is an honor to memorialize Ms. Johnston’s humanity in this film,” Vicary concluded.

“Velma Johnston, also known as ‘Wild Horse Annie,’ grabbed hold of me from the moment I read about her in Deanne Stillman’s fascinating book,” Ms. Malick said.

“Despite physical and emotional challenges, Johnston committed her life to getting federal protection for our wild horses and burros, saving them from cruel roundups and barbaric slaughter.

“Today there are 40,000 wild horses languishing in government holding facilities, and we are in danger of losing the wild mustangs forever.  Helen Bartlett, Jenny Wingfield, Deanne Stillman and I came together to tell this courageous woman’s story, and hopefully shine a light on the plight of these remarkable creatures before it’s too late,” Malick concluded.

Velma Johnston became a leading animal rights activist in this country.  Her dedicated quest to protect America’s wild horses, a campaign she began with the nation’s school children, culminated in the US Congress’ passing of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.  The bill became the law of the land, signed by then President Richard M. Nixon on December 15, 1971.  Ms Johnston’s legacy lives on.

Will you watch Wild Horse Annie when Hallmark Movie Channel premieres it next year? Let me know in the comments section.

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