More details emerge of Marco Pantani cinema documentary
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

More details emerge of Marco Pantani cinema documentary

by Shane Stokes at 12:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Producer of hit ‘Senna’ film also involved in major project

Marco PantaniFifteen years after his victory in the Tour de France and nine after his tragic passing in an Italian hotel room, a feature documentary about Marco Pantani will appear in movie theatres prior to the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

Entitled ‘The Accidental Death of a Cyclist’ and drawing on race archive, contemporary news footage, interviews with those who knew Pantani and also stylised dramatic reconstructions, the film will tell the life of the last Italian winner of the Tour, a brilliant climber in an era polluted by EPO use.

Pantani became the last rider to take the Tour/Giro double in 1998, and appeared set to dominate the sport. However his rise was punctured by a over-high haematocrit reading days from the end of the 1999 Giro d’Italia, a race he had dominated and seemed set to win.

He was handed a two week suspension but rather than knuckle down and return after that to ride the Tour de France, he began using cocaine and started a long descent. Pantani rallied temporarily to take two stages in the 2000 Tour, but his career was never the same again. He died alone of a cocaine overdose on February 14th 2004.

The new film will trace those key moments in a collaboration between the director James Erskine and London's New Black Films. They previously worked together on the documentaries ‘One Night in Turin,’ featuring former British soccer player Paul Gascoigne, and the cricket-based ‘From the Ashes.’

“This is not just a film about cycling, but a psychological exploration of what drives athletes to compete; the masochistic pursuit of victory, to the point of self-destruction,” said Erskine, according to Variety.

“It will look in detail at the nature of what it means to be a sporting champion and what great victories mean, in the controversial context of the doping allegations that continue to plague the sport.”

He will join up with Victoria Gregory, producer of ‘Man on a Wire’ and one of the producers of the superb ‘Senna.’ The latter was hailed as one of the best sports movies of all time, and was a massive worldwide hit.

“We've been big fans of James and Victoria's work for some time,” said Dominic Schreiber, rights development manager at 4Rights, which is the rights exploitation arm of U.K. pubcaster Channel 4.

“After the success of 'Senna', it's clear there is a real demand for well-crafted films that combine stunning archive with brilliant storytelling.”

The film will be released in the UK next May, and will be screened in many countries worldwide. Given the ongoing interest in Pantani, it has the potential to be a big success.


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