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Independent Boards Irish Co-Production 'The Racer'
24 Apr 2019 : News Desk
Tour de France in Ireland, 1998.
International sales agent Independent has boarded the gripping cycling drama ‘The Racer’, which it will introduce to international buyers at Cannes this May.

Blinder Films (‘Love & Friendship’) in co-production with Calach Films (‘Mammal’) and Caviar Films (‘The Rider’) produce the film, which stars Louis Talpe (‘Of Kings and Prophets’), Tara Lee (‘A Date for Mad Mary’), Matteo Simoni (‘Gangsta’) Iain Glen (‘Game of Thrones’) and Karel Roden (‘The Bourne Supremacy’) and is directed by Kieron J. Walsh (‘Jump’, ‘Finding Joy’).

Summer 1998 — the opening stages of Le Tour de France are relocated to Ireland. Belgian rider Dom Chabol (late 30s) has been one of the best “Domestiques” (support riders) on the Tour for the last 20 years. It’s a sacrificial role — setting pace, blocking wind, and providing support to enable the team’s sprinter to victory - winning is not an option. But Dom secretly harbours a desire to wear the yellow jersey — just once before his career is over.

At the start of what will likely be his last Tour, Dom is unceremoniously dropped from the Team he has dedicated his life to. His best mate Sonny, the team masseur, fails to reassure him about his future. But a chance liaison with Lynn, a young Irish doctor, softens the blow, and Dom starts to accept - and even enjoy - the idea of civilian life.  But as he gears up to go home and to face his estranged sister, a massive doping error knocks another teammate off the Tour and Dom is thrown back in the saddle…

Written by Ciaran Cassidy (‘The Last Days of Peter Bergmann’) and Kieron J. Walsh with Blinder Films’ Katie Holly (‘Vita & Virginia’, ‘Love & Friendship’, ‘Citadel’) and Yvonne Donohoe (‘Extra Ordinary’, ‘Striking Out’) producing and Jesus Gonzalez-Elvira (Calach Films) co-producing along with Caviar Films’ Robin Kerremans and Dimitri Verbeeck. The film shoots in Ireland and Luxembourg.

Speaking about the film, Director Kieron said:

“I am delighted to be finally bringing The Racer, to the screen. I distinctly remember the Tour de France descending into Ireland in 1998 and the buzz that it brought with it. That tour proved to be a challenging time for cycling, filled with scandal, emotion and turmoil and I am confident that the film will be just as thrilling. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast along with a crack-team of HODs including DOP James Mather and designer Ray Ball.”

Sarah Lebutsch of Independent added:

“The Racer is one of those rare scripts that manages to give a glimpse into the determination and obsession it takes to be a professional athlete. Tour de France riders take their bodies to the absolute limits and must respect their role within the team, and it is within this explosive environment that we spend three days following a team at a turning point. We have huge confidence in Kieron’s vision to bring the story to life and are excited to work with the talented production team.”

The film is supported by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Film Fund Luxembourg, Eurimages, Screen Flanders, the BAI Sound & Vision Fund and RTE.  Kinepolis Film Distribution (KFD) will release the film in the Benelux territory.

Independent will introduce the film to international buyers at Cannes this May.

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