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Synopsis: The winner of the Best Irish Feature Documentary at Galway Film Fleadh, PURE GRIT is a thrilling tale of extreme bareback horse racing, and an intimate love story. Written and directed by one of Ireland’s most renowned documentary filmmakers, Kim Bartley, the film chronicles three years in the life of a young Native American bareback horse racer Sharmaine, her dogged determination, and the relationships that sustain her.

Sharmaine dreams of becoming a champion again but she needs money to compete, and jobs are scarce on the reservation. Sharmaine quit racing and her job to care for her sister who was paralyzed in a catastrophic accident on the racetrack. When the atmosphere at home turns toxic, Sharmaine and her girlfriend Savannah are forced to leave the Wyoming wilderness for the industrial Commerce City, Denver. The city brings freedom and opportunity, but also distractions and a strain on their fledgling relationship. When racing season starts up, Sharmaine and Savannah hit the road and put it all on the line. With a new horse from her city earnings, Sharmaine sees the potential for a fresh start. But life, like the racetrack, doesn’t always go according to plan.



Run Time

88 minutes

Directed by

Kim Bartley

Written by

Kim Bartley

Produced by

Rachel Lysaght

Executive Producer

Taylor Sheridan

Director's Statement

The writer/director Kim Bartley said: “It’s been an incredible journey, one that took us way off into the wilds of Wyoming, into a world and culture I knew very little about. I filmed with Sharmaine and her family for almost three years through many highs and lows and no matter what life threw at her she never gave up. I hope her bravery and her self-belief will inspire everyone who sees this film to chase their dreams.”

Director's Bio

With a career spanning over two decades, Kim Bartley is a multi-award-winning filmmaker for television and cinema whose projects have received international acclaim. The film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised which she co-directed picked up numerous awards including Best Documentary at the prestigious International Documentary Association Awards.

Production Year


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