IN 2015 Ballarat jockey Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup and in a few weeks time filming will begin on a movie showcasing her victory.
Ride Like A Girl will see acclaimed actress Rachel Griffiths directorial debut and last Friday Payne and Griffiths were in Ballarat to officially announce the partnership.
Ms Griffiths said she was inspired to make a film about Michelle after watching her Melbourne Cup win on Prince of Penzance.
“I didn’t know women were jockeys, I didn’t know a woman was riding the 2015 cup,” Ms Griffiths said.
She added that she wants Ride Like A Girl to touch on Michelle’s personal life and motivations.
“The core of the Payne story is how Paddy (Michelle’s father) kept his family together, a family of 10, after the loss of his wife and their children’s mother, and how through thick and thin they’ve stayed together,” she said.
“I think that message will resonate with all cultures, with all languages across the world.” Michelle said that she’s overwhelmed, but proud to have her and her family’s story told.
“It hasn’t always been easy throughout my career and my life,” she said.
“But I think it’s nice to show people and young people with dreams that even when it does get tough you don’t have to give up.” The film is also an opportunity to tell the story of Stevie and to change the publics’ views around intellectual disabilities.
“Stevie’s been treated as normal all our life, we never knew any different way to treat him,” she said.
“I think that’s a story to be told in itself because obviously, given the opportunity, look what he can do.” Michelle’s brother Stevie will play himself as the horse’s strapper in the film and actor Sam Neil will play Michelle’s father.
It has been confirmed that Ballarat will play a central role in the production of the movie and a five-day shoot will take place from May 7.
Filming is also due to take place in Riddells Creek, Clarkefield and Hanging Rock.
Ride Like A Girl will portray the tale of Victorian thoroughbred racing and the diverse range of people working within the sport, culminating in Michelle’s historic victory at Flemington.