14 Aug 2022

Proud Tipperary woman celebrates winning top film award at the LA Shorts International Film Festival

Short documentary 'Steve Halfpenny' showcases working with horses using the principles of Light Hands Equitation

Proud Tipperary woman celebrates winning top film award in Los Angeles

Kilfeacle’s Elaine Heney filmed 'Steve Halfpenny' in the summer.

An equestrian documentary directed by Tipperary filmmaker Elaine Heney has won the 'Best Documentary' Gold Award at the LA Shorts International Film Festival.

Short documentary 'Steve Halfpenny' is based on the work of the legendary horse trainer.

“It was an honor to able to tell the story of such a remarkable horseman,”  Kilfeacle’s Elaine Heney says.

Elaine explains that the documentary showcases working with horses using the principles of Light Hands Equitation. “I wanted to film this documentary as I believe Steve Halfpenny's 'Light Hands Equitation' approach is missing in many areas of the horse world today.

“Steve works with feel, timing, balance and relaxation. It's amazing to see how fast a horse can change when you really try to connect with their mind,” Elaine highlights.

Elaine filmed the documentary over three weeks in Ireland and the UK during the summer.

“The trickiest part of making this movie was improving my cinematography skills. I had minimal video production experience. I decided to watch four online cinematography courses over four days. Then I spent a few days filming my horses at home in Tipperary and soon after this I took a flight to the UK to begin the shoot. The entire film was done in a little over three weeks,” Elaine admits.

Although the documentary has humble beginnings, Elaine feels its message has resonated with horse riders around the world. 'Steve Halfpenny' has gone viral on social media and has been shortlisted for eight international film festivals, along with receiving the LA Shorts Best Documentary Award.  Its world premiere was held in Wexford this month, and it has been nominated in the Best Equestrian Documentary and Best Equestrian Director categories at the EQUUS Film Festival Awards in New York this November.

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