Finlay Pretsell’s documentary TIME TRIAL, following the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading up to his last encounter with the Tour de France, will be released in UK cinemas on 29 June 2018. Praised by critics at festivals around the world including IDFA, Goteborg, SXSW and CPH:Dox, UK audiences will now be able to experience the highs and lows of competitive cycling through the lens of the documentary.
Produced by Sonja Henrici of SDI Productions and executive produced by Iain Smith OBE (Mad Max Fury Road, The Fifth Element), with an original score by US composer Dan Deacon, TIME TRIAL gives a new insight in to the world of professional cycling and reveals how the human spirit is driven by a force deeper than success and glory.
TIME TRIAL provides an immersive experience ‘as close to actually competing as you will ever see on film’. The film blurb continues… David Millar, shrouded in darkness, declares an intention to rise again. A sensory ride through the thrill and hardship of professional cycling. We are hurtled off a hillside, details blurring like watercolors. The euphoria and the fatigue, the highs and the lows. It’s as if it were ourselves struggling through the bumpy roads of France. David bluntly and fearlessly narrates his last season in the saddle, intimate and immediate, along with the intricate relationships of cyclist, road crew, fellow competitors, manic fans, and the media circus surrounding it all.
Scottish-born David Millar bought his first road bike aged 15 and when he turned 18 he moved to France to race. Two years later, in 1997, he was offered his first professional contract leading the biggest French team, Cofidis. He was soon winning stages of the Tour de France, La Vuelta a Espana and World Championships before receiving a suspension for doping in 2004. Since then, based on his experiences, Millar has become a voice on anti-doping. In 2008, he became part-owner and rider for the Garmin Slipstream team – renowned for its anti-doping stance.
Following his rebirth as a clean cyclist, Millar made his mark as one of Britain’s most successful road cyclists, with stage wins in all three of the Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and La Vuelta a Espana) as well as winning the gold medal in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the silver medal in the same event at the UCI Road World Championships that same year. Millar was instrumental in Mark Cavendish’s world title in the road race in 2011 in his role as ‘team captain’ and he represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games in London 2012.
He has written two books, Racing Through the Dark and The Racer, and was a consultant on the Stephen Frears film, The Program. Since his retirement in 2014, Millar has become a television commentator for ITV and BBC and is working on a number of projects, including a role with British Cycling, mentoring their Senior Academy riders, and with his CHPT 3 clothing brand.
Director Finlay Pretsell is an award-winning filmmaker who once set out on the long road to becoming a professional cyclist, riding for a few national teams and representing Scotland a number of times. Finlay’s breakthrough as a filmmaker was in 2007 with Standing Start, a short film which followed his passion for cycling (shortlisted for Grierson Newcomer Award), taking a unique look at the world of track cycling featuring world champion Craig Maclean.
He followed up that success with several more short films, winning Scotland’s top prize, a BAFTA for Ma Bar, which was shown at the prestigious Sundance Film festival and over 50 other international film festivals, and Cutting Loose, which was financed by the UK Film Council and BBC. Most recently Finlay produced Norfolk (2015), a feature film directed by longstanding collaborator Martin Radich starring Denis Menochet (Inglorious Basterds) and financed through BBC Films, BFI and Creative England.
Leslie Finlay, Screen Executive at Creative Scotland said: “TIME TRIAL, Finlay Pretsell’s debut feature documentary, is an extraordinary, beautiful and immersive work of cinema. Developed and supported through Creative Scotland Screen Funding we are delighted that it will be released in cinemas across the UK for audiences to enjoy exhilarating documentaries from Scotland.”
UK Cycling Films Ltd was set up by Sonja Henrici & Finlay Pretsell to finance films through private investment. TIME TRIAL is the first feature. SDI Productions Ltd was set up by Noe Mendelle and Sonja Henrici in 2007 to provide the production platform for the Scottish Documentary Institute for all its international feature documentaries.