Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the worldwide rights to “Jockey,” a horseracing drama starring Cliff Collins Jr. that will make its premiere in competition at Sundance on Sunday.
The film is directed by Clint Bentley in his directorial debut and written by Bentley and Greg Kwedar. It stars Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker, Moises Arias, Logan Cormier and Colleen Hartnett.
Collins stars as an aging jockey who hopes to win one last title for his longtime trainer (Parker), who has acquired what appears to be a championship horse. But the years — and injuries — have taken a toll on his body, throwing into question his ability to continue his lifelong passion. The arrival of a young rookie rider (Arias), who claims to be his son and whom he takes under his wing, further complicates the path to fulfilling his dream.
The main character in “Jockey” was written specifically for Collins and was based in part on Bentley’s own father, who was also a professional jockey. The filmmakers spent time on the race track for months before shooting, and the entire supporting cast is made up of real-life jockeys.
“Jockey” is produced by Bentley, Kwedar and Nancy Schafer and executive produced by Larry Kalas, Larry Kelly, Linda and Jon Halbert, Cheryl and Walt Penn, Genevieve and Mark Crozier, Cindy and John Greenwood, Ann Grimes and Jay Old, Benjamin Fuqua, Jordy Wax and Collins Jr.
“Filmmakers Clint Bentley, co-writer Greg Kwedar and producer Nancy Schafer have made such a good movie, that is engaging, satisfying, visual, and precise cinematic storytelling,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a statement. “Anchored by a truly amazing performance by Clifton Collins Jr., an actor we have admired in so many roles for over 2 decades, ably supported by Molly Parker and Moses Arias, ‘Jockey’ is about what happens to a professional at the end of a career with the background of horse racing, a subject of interest to audiences worldwide. We are excited to bring the movie to a wide audience this year.”
“We’re overjoyed Sony Pictures Classics will be releasing ‘Jockey.’ Growing up, watching movies with their logo made us the filmmakers we are today,” said Bentley and Kwedar. “We were so taken by SPC’s passion and vision and our shared love for Clifton Collins Jr. It’s surreal for our movie to be in the family of so many incredible films and filmmakers. This movie was made with so much love, in the vibrant, itinerant world behind the racetrack. It’s an honor to partner with Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and their team who take such care in how they release films.”
“Through my years of programming film festivals, I would beg Michael and Tom for their latest releases to include in my fests. They handled the best films from around the world with love and care so it’s a joy to see ‘Jockey’ joining this auspicious line-up,” Schafer said in a statement.
Sony Pictures Classics negotiated the deal with ICM Partners, on behalf of the filmmakers. International sales were handled by Films Boutique.