Tale of wild horses hits the big screen

Lights, camera, acton: Director Russell Kilbey and producer Amy Scully will be screening their documentary, The Man from Cox's River at Cronulla Cinemeas on August 24. The film tells the story of the quest to save wild brumbies in the outback. Shown with son Logan. Picture: Chris Lane
Lights, camera, acton: Director Russell Kilbey and producer Amy Scully will be screening their documentary, The Man from Cox's River at Cronulla Cinemeas on August 24. The film tells the story of the quest to save wild brumbies in the outback. Shown with son Logan. Picture: Chris Lane

THE quest by a traditional Aussie horseman to save a herd of wild horses living in a remote part of Blue Mountains National Park is the subject of a new documentary.

The Man from Coxs River has been made by Sutherland Shire filmmakers, husband and wife Russell Kilbey and Amy Scully.

The film, which will screen at Cronulla Cinemas this weekend, shows the clash of culture and methods between NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Chris Banffy and traditional horseman Luke Carlon.

The service wanted to remove up to 100 wild horses, or brumbies, that lived in the Burragorang Valley. The area is near the source of Sydney's water supply and has been sealed off from the public for 50 years.

But instead of bringing in shooters in helicopters, the job of rounding up the horses was offered to Luke Carlon.

The experienced stockman takes tourists on horse riding tours along the Coxs River in the Megalong Valley, where his family has lived since the 1820s.

Stills from the film-The Man from Coxs River

Stills from the film-The Man from Coxs River

The Man from Coxs River tells the story of Luke Carlon's quest to find the wild horses, break them in and lead them out of the valley to safety and a new home, without injury.

The documentary was a labour of love for its director, Mr Kilbey, and producer, Ms Scully.

"We wanted to do a story about the environment and connection to country," Mr Kilbey said.

"Both Luke and Chris are connected to the country they grew up in.

"Luke has quite an insightful respect for the land that has been passed on from generation to generation, which is extraordinary considering we are still a young country.

"It's an important story. Think of Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, Red Dog and Kenny and those old-time Australian stories and voices.

"It's unashamed Australiana. There is also a little multicultural mix, with a Japanese stockman Takao Suzuki.

"It's a bit like The Man From Snowy River, with a Japanese mix.

"The film tells the story of a man who can only use horses to catch horses. It is a very challenging job for him in very difficult country.

"It plays out like an old-school western and also catches a slice of Australian history."

The film has been screening continuously in regional and major centres around Australia since March, including a seven-week run at Roseville Cinema, where it enjoyed sold-out sessions the first week.

The Man from Coxs River will screen at Cronulla Cinemas at 2pm this Sunday, August 24, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

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