When Filipe Leite leaves his adoptive home of Canada, the aspiring journalist sets out on an epic quest to ride from Calgary to his family's home in Brazil - and later beyond - entirely on horseback. Inspired by Aimé Tschiffely's 1925 equestrian journey, Filipe's 8 year odyssey of over 25,000 kms across 12 international borders, sees the young immigrant battle intense heat, drought, speeding transport trucks, nature's wrath and corrupt border guards on his history-making long ride home. Culled from over 500 hours of never-before-seen-footage.
Sean Cisterna is a multi award-winning director whose most recent film is From the Vine (2020), an international coproduction starring Emmy winner Joe Pantoliano, and distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Cisterna directed the acclaimed cancer drama Kiss and Cry (2017), which topped the Canadian box office, and is currently streaming on Netflix worldwide. His 2015 feature Full Out, starring Jennifer Beals, is based on the true story of gymnast Ariana Berlin. The film was broadcast on NBC, now residing with Netflix Worldwide and Disney Europe. Cisterna was awarded a Canada 150 Citizenship Award by the Federal Government for his dedication to and community engagement in the arts.
On a personal level, I grew up in the same community as Filipe Leite. Filipe and I went to the same high school, and we've been friends for the past 15 years. So when Filipe undertook this remarkable, history-making journey, I knew his story would make for a compelling and inspiring film.
Our team expertly weaved over 500 hours of compelling archival footage, shot across 12 countries in the Americas, into an inspirational and engaging documentary. The adventure has been intimately captured through Filipe’s perspective, an experienced cinematographer and journalist.
The Long Rider also features stirring interviews collected in aesthetic surroundings and never-before-seen footage/photographs from cinematographers who were compelled to track and capture his treacherous journey. My intention was to creatively exhibit the hardships Filipe faced so that the audience feels deeply immersed and roots for our hero. We want the audience to feel his euphoria from overcoming adversity and be motivated to chase their own dreams.
The obstacles that Filipe surmounted were extremely taxing on his body, brain, and emotions, but he believed in himself and never gave up, which is an invaluable lesson at a time when we are collectively yearning for inspiration during this time in our shared history.
#AniFab the Animalis Fabula Film Festival '22 compiles the information presented in the official selections from FilmFreeway our film festival partner as well as from the filmmakers.
The Festival Director presents the information as it is presented to AniFab.