After discovering Native American bareback horse rider Sharmaine Weed on Facebook, documentarian Kim Bartley (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised) spent three years travelling backwards and forwards between her home in Ireland and Wyoming’s Wind River reservation to film Pure Grit. With minimal funding, Bartley shot the whole thing virtually single-handed, following Sharmaine through the highs and lows of her relationship with city girl Savannah, the challenges of becoming a professional racer and the difficulties faced by her traditional family.
The result is a compelling documentary that weaves those three years into a narrative of hope and determination against the odds. Pure Grit won the Best Irish Feature Documentary award at this year’s Galway Film Festival, and will make its US premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival on October 24th. I spoke to Bartley about the challenges of making such an intimate yet expansive film, and why authenticity and honesty are are the core of everything she does.Continue reading