Five Stone Of Lead (05:22)

Jonny Madderson

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Film location: Glenbeigh, Ireland
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On the west coast of Ireland, kids don’t dream about winning the world cup. They dream about being championship jockeys. But with Ireland still in the grip of recession, there are less horses for kids to ride and less opportunities. This is the story of a 12 year old jockey called Dylan who is tiny, even for a jockey. Since stepping up a level he has to compete against older, stronger jockeys with more experience. At the Glenbeigh Races, one of the biggest events in the grassroots horse racing calendar, Dylan has the chance to make a name for himself...

“The west coast of Ireland is an inspiring part of the world and it gets in your blood. It’s wild and rugged and feels like the edge of the earth.”

Five Stone of Lead was filmed on the west coast of Ireland, the race in County Kerry, and Dylan’s backstory further north in County Donegal. ‘The west coast is an inspiring part of the world and it gets in your blood.’ says Madderson, ‘It’s wild and rugged and feels like the edge of the earth. The people there are natural storytellers. It’s a great place to make a film.’

“Dylan walked in and although he’s absolutely tiny, he has the presence of a rockstar and this huge charisma”

‘It’s a very cinematic world. The images of the sport sort of remind you of the great westerns - riders on horse back set within raw, epic landscapes. The fact that these riders are kids all striving to become professional jockeys adds the emotional tension.’

We wanted to tell the story from the perspective of one of the jockeys, so we met them all the night before the race. Dylan walked in and although he’s absolutely tiny, he has the presence of a rockstar and this huge charisma. He was our man! It was inspiring following his story - he’s a very talented rider, with big ambitions, commitment to match and his feet on the ground. I’d love to see him win the Derby some day.’

“A lot of documentaries tell the audience what’s happening rather than show them”

Talking about the approach to making this film Madderson references Francois Truffaut and his quote “what is said and not shown is lost on the audience”. As Jonny explains, ‘That was something that we thought about a lot in the editing process. A lot of documentaries tell the audience what’s happening rather than show them - everything is explained and it doesn’t make you feel anything. The ambition for this film was to make something evocative that would hopefully move people. So we were quite lean and light with the detail of their backgrounds, the amateur nature of the sport, the context of the race meeting and so on. We just tried to make a simple story about a young lad taking on a big challenge and growing up along the way.’

‘The project as a whole was hugely enjoyable because we were able to collaborate with some serious talents. Eoin the DoP, Stephen the editor, Father for their sound design and composition and Steve for the grade… Great people who brought so much to the film. I can’t wait to work with them again.’

‘Lastly, there was a feeling when we made it that there is so much depressing news going on in the world right now, that we wanted to contribute, even in the smallest way, something that was a little more uplifting. We took our lead from charming little Dylan, and hope that the film is a bit of a crowdpleaser.’

On Location


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