World Premiere of TIME TRIAL at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

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Time Trial

IDFA Documentary Film Festival 15-26 November 2017

TIME TRIAL World Premiere

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) announced today that it will present during this year’s festival (15-26 November) the World Premiere of Finlay Pretsell’s compelling documentary TIME TRIAL, following the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading up to his last encounter with the Tour de France.

The film has been selected for Feature Length Competition and will have a special screening at the 1500 seat Royal Theatre Carre. IDFA attracts more than 3000 industry professionals and film audiences in excess of 271,000 a year.

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, the film takes us in to the very heart of competitive cycling as never before. Using pioneering filming techniques, bespoke vehicles and on-bike cameras, TIME TRIAL gives a radical new insight through the eyes of leading sportsman David Millar, of the experiences inside the peloton, pushing up impossible climbs and down rapid descents, with every mile travelled, a mile closer to the end. Also featuring professional cyclists Thomas Dekker and Mark Cavendish, TIME TRIAL reveals how the human spirit is driven by a force deeper than success and glory.

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 an authoritative voice on anti-doping. In 2008, he became part-owner and rider for the Garmin Slipstream team who became renowned for their strong anti-doping stance. Since his resurgence as a clean cyclist, Millar has 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, 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.

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. The film won a raft of awards including Best Documentary at Encounters FF and the Grand Jury prize at Asterfest, and qualified for Oscar nomination after a theatrical run in New York in 2012. 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. It premiered at IFFR 2015 and was nominated for the Michael Powell Award at EIFF 2015. Finlay has been an integral part of Scottish Documentary Institute since 2005.

Director Finlay Pretsell says about the inspiration for making Time Trial: “I have ridden and raced a bike all of my life – it’s a part of me. And David captures an ecstatic vision of what it felt like to ride or race. He allows me to translate this reality into images and to encapsulate what it feels like to truly ride in this way day after day, year after year. Many racers last a year or two in this world; to be consistently inhabiting this space for this long, is an incredible feat.”

David Millar adds: “With Time Trial we wanted to capture not only what it’s like to be in a bike race, but also what it’s like to be inside a bike racer’s mind. That mind was mine, in my final season, and although it wasn’t the final season I had dreamt of it made for the most realistic depiction of being a pro bike racer we could have ever imagined. Even if it at times it was a bit of a nightmare, all the more so perhaps.”

Leslie Finlay, Screen Officer at Creative Scotland says: “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 IDFA has embraced the film by screening its world premiere in competition at one of the World’s greatest documentary film festivals.”

David Millar, Finlay Pretsell, Sonja Henrici and Dan Deacon along with other special guests featured in the film will attend the World Premiere of TIME TRIAL at IDFA. Screening date and time to be announced shortly.


Running time: 81 min | colour 24 fps
Format: 1.78:1 | DCP – 5.1