Words: Ciarán Howley
Image: Underground Films
‘Pure Grit’ follows the life and loves of Native American horse racing champion Charmaine, both on and off the Wind River reservation in Wyoming.
Award-winning documentary Pure Grit makes its theatrical debut this week at the Irish Film Festival and the Lighthouse cinema, following a successful run at film festivals last year.
Directed by Kim Bartley, the film won Best Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh, Best Editing at the Beach Newport Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary at the IFTAs last year.
The film follows horse-rider Sharmaine Weeds over three years and her to return to the sport following a difficult sabbatical caring for her sister, paralyzed in a horse-racing accident. It also explores Sharmaine’s romantic relationship with Savannah, helping each other process abuse they suffered in their childhood.
“Pure Grit is a magnificent documentary which does the job it should – it teaches us about the humanity we don’t recognise. I wept, I raged, I was enchanted. The lesbian hero who is a cowgirl, Sharmaine, is fierce and vulnerable. Wherever this film plays, rush to see it,” said Room and Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson on the film.
The film was produced for Underground Films by Rachel Lysaght, in association with Frontline Films and the Support of Screen Ireland.
Director of An Cailín Ciúin Colm Bairéad described the film as, “an extraordinary, deeply human account of a life lived on the margins, PURE GRIT is at once tender and tough, an ode to individual courage and a powerful, clear-eyed portrait of a lesser-seen America.”
Director Kim Bartley’s name will ring a bell to many for her 2003 documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, a report chronicling the coup in Venezuela during the presidency of Hugo Chavez.
Pure Grit is in cinemas now.
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