Mutton-Busting Tyke Stars In Award Winning Short Doc ‘Just Keep On’ – Deadline

Ten-yr-previous Texan Marlie McDonald has retired from mutton busting, acquiring outgrown the sport. But in her time she could outride the finest of them.

Marlie’s exploits in the arena are documented in the shorter film Just Maintain On, specially her gold buckle-profitable effort at RodeoHouston in 2018. Just 6 yrs previous then, McDonald climbed aboard a sheep, grabbed a couple fistfuls of wool and when the gate opened and the critter bolted, she held her grip for 90 toes, earning a great score.

“All the way to the wall!” hollered an fired up announcer. “She’s carried out it!”

“My coronary heart was racing,” she recounts in the movie directed by Oscar winner Rayka Zehtabchi and Sam A. Davis, “like I was acquiring a stress attack.”

Behind the scenes shooting the documentary 'Just Hold On'

Marlie McDonald tactics mutton busting with her dad though a movie crew records
Courtesy of Mehrdad Sarlak

“I assume she likes difficulties,” observes her cowboy-hatted grandpa, leaning on a gnarled wooden cane. “And she has a temperament that will make her want to do what she needs to do and when she wants to do it, and that is ok. We’re happy of her.”

With her curly hair, Marlie could be a pink-haired ringer for Shirley Temple. She charmed the rodeo crowd with her victory and article-race job interview in which she declared, “I’ve been training on my father.” By that, she meant she organized for races by jumping on her father’s again as he obligingly got on all fours in the property.

As the rodeo audience listened, the interviewer asked Marlie what she preferred to be when she grew up.

“A spy,” she replied without the need of hesitation, detailing the career appealed to her for the reason that it’s “where you get to battle for the globe [against] the negative men, wherever you get to combat them.”

The film, clocking in at just 7 minutes, has been on a festival run due to the fact premiering at SXSW in 2020, exactly where it received the Texas Shorts classification. It performed at the recent HollyShorts Movie Pageant, and beforehand screened at Palm Springs Worldwide ShortFest, where it was nominated as Most effective Documentary Shorter.

Viewers occur to comprehend the title of the movie applies not just to mutton busting. Marlie McDonald has experienced to maintain on her whole lifetime. She was identified in utero with mind cancer and underwent surgical procedure just four times right after she was born. She invested the very first two decades of her lifetime going through chemotherapy and, luckily, is now in prolonged-expression survivor care.

“We used to often convey to her to keep on,” Marlie’s mother Nathalie recollects in the movie. Marlie’s father Kevin states, “She’s a survivor and a fighter.”

Directors Rayka Zehtabchi and Sam Davis

Administrators Rayka Zehtabchi and Sam A. Davis
Courtesy of Mehrdad Sarlak

Zehtabchi, Davis and producer Mehrdad Sarlak shot with the McDonalds in quite a few areas, including the family home and at an supplemental rodeo opposition in which Marlie took portion. The filmmakers explained to the Houston Chronicle in 2020 that they grew to become intrigued about mutton busting when they heard about it on social media and that led to them looking at the online video of Marlie’s profitable experience at RodeoHouston. But at first they had been unaware of the deeper proportions to the youngster’s practical experience.

“We had no thought there was extra to her tale,” Zehtabchi told the paper. “It is worthy of sharing. She is impressive.”

Sarlak represented the filmmaking group at the HollyShorts Competition screening. At a Q&A right after the shorts program that integrated Just Maintain On, he gave a shout out on stage to Zehtabchi and Davis, calling them “my dear, expensive mates.” He observed, “They gained an Academy Award a couple of a long time in the past for Period. End of Sentence… Right after their Academy run they called me and said, ‘Hey, we have this amazing tale about this wonderful little girl, Marlie McDonald, and would you like to produce it?’ I stated, totally.”

'Just Hold On' producer Mehrdad Sarlak

Producer Mehrdad Sarlak
Courtesy of Matthew Carey

Throughout the Q&A, Sarlak acquired Marlie’s mother Nathalie on the cellphone so she could handle the HollyShorts viewers. She discussed that Marlie experienced retired for the evening, indicating, “It’s now past her bedtime in Texas.”

McDonald extra, “I just want to say a big thank you to HollyShorts for choosing our film and we’re so honored that Just Hold On has been a section of this festival. We’re very sad that we can not be there in man or woman. But Mehrdad, Rayka and Sam truly captured the essence of Marlie’s journey, and I hope you have been impressed by her bravery and willpower to just hold on via all of life’s problems.”

Mutton busting rivals usually operate concerning the ages of 5 and 7 and just can’t exceed 55 lbs., so Marlie has moved on from that. She’s also considering distinct occupation paths apart from espionage.

“I’d like to be a spy and battle for the planet but my deal with has been blown,” she informed the Houston Chronicle. “Maybe I will be a singer or a specialist basketball participant instead.”

You can watch Just Maintain On by clicking on this website link.

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