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'Rough Rider', Ergo/Wildfire Films' Documentary, in Post Production
21 Oct 2013 : By Kevin Cronin
Paul Kimmage in Wildfire Films' 'Rough Rider', now in post production.
‘Rough Rider’ - a documentary co-produced by Dublin’s Wildfire Films and Ergo Films about Irish sports journalist Paul Kimmage, who helped expose Lance Armstrong’s doping - is currently in post production, and aiming for completion by the end of the year.

The documentary follows Kimmage as he takes part in the centenary of the Tour de France and reflects on his long struggle for credibility in blowing the whistle on doping within the cycling world.

Last week, Stephen Frears began filming his own feature about Lance Armstrong and relationship with another Irish journalist David Walsh (played by Chris O’Dowd) - but ‘Rough Rider’ takes a different focus.

IFTN spoke to producer Martha O’Neill this week to get an update on the production and to trace its journey through production to date.

‘We started filming around September 2012 with the intention of journeying with Paul to the Centenary Tour in 2013. He wanted to observe whether or not things had changed in the sport,’ she began.

Ms O’Neill recounted how Paul had been the original Whistleblower in the sport he loved and how, in 1989, he quit his career as a professional cyclist to write ‘Rough Ride’ which exposed the culture of drugs use in cycling.

‘He was universally shunned by fellow cyclists and media for letting the cat out of the bag. From then on he was treated like an outsider,’ she added.

As Wildfire were filming the documentary, the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) report was released which proved that Lance Armstrong had been doping – thus propelling Paul back into the spotlight where everyone suddenly wanted his reaction.

‘This was Paul's vindication. We had to react quickly to what was happening in front of us and we just kept shooting as things developed. We found ourselves inside this amazing story of corruption and cover-ups along with Paul,’ Ms O’Neill continued.

Wildfire travelled to the Tour de France this year with Paul, spending three weeks with him and shooting his daily diary, as he covered the event for the Sunday Independent.

Ms O’Neill reserved special praise for the crew who helped make the documentary a reality - including director Adrian McCarthy; fellow producer Tony Whelan; Directors of Photography Rónán Fox and Richard Kendrick; Additional camera by Fergal O'Hanlon and Sean O'Driscoll; Additional Sound by Bob Brennan and Fiachra O'Hanlon; and editor Mick Mahon.

‘This film would not have been made except for our amazing crew. We are working on a very tight budget with all the crew giving their services on a 50% deferment basis. That is a big leap of faith in these recessionary days. The producers and director deferred entire fees,’ she explained. ‘I would very much like to acknowledge and thank the crew for the gift of their services and commitment.’

IFTN asked Ms O’Neill if she was concerned that the market might soon be over-saturated with films & documentaries on Lance Armstrong and those connected to his story.

‘This is not a film about Lance Armstrong, although events surrounding him feature in the film from Paul's perspective,’ she said. ‘Of course, this is a cycling film and there is a wave of films coming along that are operating in the same space albeit from different angles. We will have to strategise our release plans and dates and take cognisance of what is going on out there but I think our film has a unique angle in that it is about the first Whistleblower about doping in cycling and how that has affected his life since he wrote his book ‘Rough Ride’.

In other projects, Wildfire Films are about to go into post production on a documentary for RTÉ provisionally titled ‘Somebody to Love’, which examines the area of disability and dating, sex, and the laws surrounding consent for intellectually disabled people.

It will be directed by Anna Rodgers, produced by Zlata Filipovic and edited by Patrick Hodgins.

They are also currently developing a new musical drama commission from TG4 called ‘JIVE!’ - with further details to be announced in the coming months.

A promo trailer for ‘Rough Rider’ can be viewed below:

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