Pure Grit Makes Its U.S. Debut at NBFF – Review

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Kim Bartley’s Documentary Pure Grit follows the life of Sharmaine Weed, a Native American, Bareback Horse Racing Champion.

Kim Bartley’s Documentary Pure Grit follows the life of Sharmaine Weed, a Native American, Bareback Horse Racing Champion that make its U.S. Debut at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach California.

What does an Irish documentarian and a Native American Bareback Horse Racing Champion have in common besides being women? They are both descendants of survivors.

Bartley has a need to tell stories and Weed has a story that needed to be told. After a chance meeting via social media and an incredible life that Weed had lived being of the the Wind River reservation in Northern Wyoming and is enrolled in the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes, Weed has endured a life that only people have read about.

An abuse survivor that took the stand all alone after confronting her abuser on the witness stand for over six hours without the support of family, Weed proved that she was more than a victim or someone that self medicated, she cleaned up her life and became a Bareback Horse Racing Champion!

In this 3 year journey, Bartley introduced us to Weed, allowing us to see her find love with a new girlfriend in Savannah, how the young lovers are forced to leave for the industrial Commerce City, Denver; which brings freedom and opportunity, but also puts a strain on their fledgling relationship.

As racing season beings, we also learn how Weed’s sister was paralyzed in a tragic accident, that forced her to leave the sport of horse racing before her triumphant return to the sport.

Pure Girt shows us the drive that Weed has as a person and how nothing stopped her in life, not even addiction or abuse and that anyone can come back from anything if they so choose to in this life.

Bartley’s visual storytelling in capturing the life of a women who lives on the other side of an entire ocean and nearly clear across another continent shows that good storytelling is what matters, not geography of ethnicity. Even the landscape of Wyoming becomes apart of the narrative and with everything going on in this world, humanity, love and drive are intricate parts to our survival.


  • Overall Score


Kim Bartley introduces us to Sharmaine Weed in Pure Grit and makes sure we never forget her story in this powerful documentary that even gives the hopeless, hope to thrive.

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