Shot at various locations by cinematographer Robert Tremelling under the direction of Brenton Manser, the docudrama Rider and Writer is based on poet Adam Lindsay Gordon’s life during the time he lived in South Australia and Victoria.
Gordon, an outstanding horseman, arrived in Adelaide from England in 1853, aged 20, and was soon posted to the south-east as a mounted trooper. He then took up horse breaking and racing, mainly steeplechase riding. He was later elected a member of parliament to represent the district. Rider and Writer is the third docudrama for Manser and Tremelling. The self-funded Mount Gambier based identities and their team of volunteers have become well known for their earlier works, The Wreck of the Admella and Old Mary’s Ride.
Manser has been researching, planning and developing the script for the new film since February 2012. Much of the footage for Rider and Writer has been shot in Mount Gambier, Port MacDonnell, Penola, Coleraine and Warrnambool. Jakin Manser has the leading role of Adam Lindsay Gordon, and former Grant High School drama teacher, David Reed, returned to Mount Gambier to act in the film, cast as John Riddoch, wealthy pastoralist and friend of Gordon. After 50 commended performances playing Riddoch in the stage production ‘Reckless’, Reed had retired. However, he was enticed by Manser to revive the character for the film.
With a bust of Adam Lindsay Gordon in Westminster Abbey, London, his story is of national and international significance. Only one other film about Gordon is known to exist, produced in 1916. Allan Childs, curator of Gordon’s former residence ‘Dingley Dell’ is excited by the project: ‘To have a film that is made with the latest high definition equipment will bring the story of this famous poet alive to a new generation. We’ve come a long way since the black and white silent movies of 1916.’ The film premiered in Mount Gambier on 30 August 2014.