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Waterbyrd peddles Voice of Cycling doc

Australian filmmakers Nickolas Bird and Eleanor Sharpe are embarking on a feature documentary profiling veteran British cycling commentator and journalist Phil Liggett.

Phil Liggett

Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling will be filmed at major events starting with the Tour de France next month, and in South Africa, the UK, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Cinema on-demand platform Demand Film, which operates in eight markets including Australia, the UK, North America and Germany, will release the film in early 2021 following a conventional cinema release down under.

Produced by Bird and Sharpe’s Waterbyrd Productions, the film is their follow-up to MAMIL (Middle Aged Men in Lycra!), which was narrated by Liggett and ranks as Demand Film’s most successful title, with a global gross of A$400,000 (US$279,000).

During his 51-year career, the 75-year-old has covered 44 Tours de France and 15 Olympic Games.

Liggett said: “As we have been filming [the sizzle reel] in secret in various locations and scanning the archive I was not aware how full my life has been and how privileged I have been to be a part of this wonderful sport and pastime of cycling. Demand Film did a great job with MAMIL and I know that they can be trusted to handle my story and share it with the world.”

Bird will use the 40% producer offset and has secured 30% of the budget from private investors. He aims to raise the balance from federal and state agencies.

“How Phil calls races makes him cycling royalty,” said Bird. “After meeting Phil whilst producing MAMIL, Eleanor and I thought a documentary about the history of cycling through Phil’s eyes would make fantastic viewing. Back then, we didn’t realise that Phil’s story involves a lot more than cycling and is far wider and bigger than that first idea, and can reach a wider audience.”


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