8 Years On Horseback: Filipe Leite’s “The Long Rider” Documentary

Horse & Rider Living is proud to introduce The Long Rider, an award winning documentary film receiving the Audience Award at the Beaufort International Film Festival in South Carolina as well as Best Documentary at the SunScreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Adventure. Curiosity. The desire to become something more physically and mentally; to do what others only talk about.

This among other things is what separates people like Filipe and other long riders apart from the rest of the world..

The unknown becomes more intriguing than the known.

It takes guts.

So it is that Filipe Masetti Leite, who calls Canada home, began his epic journey on horseback from Calgary to Brazil – 8 years, over 15,500 miles, 12 international borders, and documented by film with more than 500 hours of footage. The Long Rider is a once in a lifetime event – and now available for your viewing pleasure.

The Long Rider premiered in Florida at the 17th Annual SunScreen Film Festival Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 1:30 PM. Read more about Team HRL’s viewing experience here!

Barb Godwin, Publisher

The poster for The Long Rider documentary, showing Filipe Masetti Leiti on horseback surrounded by two more, reaching out to pet the horse on his right (our left). Tagline is "A Journey of 25,000 kms Starts With A Single Stride".


When Filipe Masetti Leite leaves his adoptive home of Canada, he sets out on an epic quest to ride from Calgary to his family’s home in Brazil – and later beyond – entirely on horseback.

Inspired by Aimé Tschiffely’s 1925 equestrian journey from Argentina to New York, Filipe’s 8-year odyssey of over 25,000 kms across twelve international borders, sees the young immigrant battle intense heat, drought, speeding transport trucks, nature’s wrath and corrupt border guards on his history-making long ride home.

Culled from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, The Long Rider deals with the issue of chronic loneliness, and the insensitive and restrictive nature of international borders, but is above all an inspirational and emotional story of the most daring and epic proportions.

About the Production

A journey of 25,000 kms starts with a single stride.

The Long Rider is a film that is 10 years in the making.

Shot almost entirely by Filipe Masetti Leite on his cross-continental long ride, and directed by award-winning filmmaker Sean Cisterna, who went to the same high school as the cowboy, the duo seemed destined to bring this epic story to life.

While there is plenty of danger down every road, Filipe’s focus, resiliency and dedication prove no matter the circumstances, anything is possible. The kindness of humanity is on display in The Long Rider, made evident through the extraordinary strangers who helped Filipe along his journey.

In these challenging times, The Long Rider offers hope and inspiration, one hoof at a time.

Filipe made a historically important equestrian journey, overcame tremendous challenges, suffered in the saddle physically and emotionally, and after a Hurculean effort rode into his beloved hometown in triumph.
— Cuchullaine O’Reilly, Founder of the Long Riders’ Guild and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Filipe Masetti Leite, The Long Rider’s Documentary Subject

About the Documentary Subject – Filipe Masetti Leite

Filipe Masetti Leite is a world-renowned Long Rider, award-winning journalist, and best-selling author. The Brazilian born cowboy is the youngest person in the world to cross the Americas on horseback. In 2020 he was chosen as the Calgary Stampede’s Grand Marshal and ‘white-hatted’ by Mayor Naheed Nenshi. He is the author of the best-sellers, Long Ride Home (soon to be a motion picture) and Long Ride to the End of the World, published in Portuguese (Harper Collins) and English, soon to be released in Spanish. Filipe is a regular contributor to The Toronto Star, a frequent guest on Rede Globo’s Fantastico, Brazil’s most watched Sunday night television show, and is writing his third memoir, Last Long Ride. His feature Documentary, The Long Rider, will be released in 2022 on Super Channel and Amazon Prime Canada. The first pair of boots he wore on his Long Ride are on display at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and two statues, more than five meters tall, have been erected in Brazil to celebrate his feat.

Sean Cisterna, The Long Rider’s Director

About the Director – Sean Cisterna

Sean Cisterna is a multi award-winning and versatile film director. His latest film is the feature documentary The Long Rider (2022), the expansive and inspiring story of Filipe Masetti Leite’s journey from Canada to Brazil entirely on horseback, and filmed in 13 different countries. Cisterna found success with From the Vine (2020), an international coproduction starring Emmy winner Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, Memento, The Sopranos), and distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Cisterna directed the acclaimed cancer drama Kiss and Cry (2017), which topped the Canadian box office, and is currently streaming on Netflix worldwide. His 2015 feature Full Out, starring Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, The L Word), is based on the true story of gymnast Ariana Berlin. The film was broadcast on NBC, now residing with Netflix Worldwide and Disney Europe. Cisterna was awarded a Canada 150 Citizenship Award by the Federal Government for his dedication to and community engagement in the arts.


Q: How long did it take to film The Long Rider?

A: The journey portion of the documentary took place over 8 years, and the interviews were collected over the course of 1 year. With all that footage, the editing process took almost 2 years.

Q: What countries was The Long Rider filmed in?

A: The Long Rider was filmed in 13 different countries – Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. In addition, the interview segments with the Long Rider’s Guild founder Cuchullaine O’Reilly was filmed in France.

Q: How about the horses wellbeing?

A: Filipe, an experienced rider and equestrian competitor who rode with his father since he was a baby, spent two years speaking to Long Riders around the world to learn how to properly travel on horseback. Through the Long Riders Guild, the world’s first international association of equestrian explorers and long-distance travellers, Filipe was also awarded the opportunity to participate in Stan Walchuk’s wilderness riding clinic in Northern British Columbia. Filipe always had his animals’ health in mind, travelling only thirty kilometres a day, taking lots of rest days, and never pushing them.

Q: Was there a film crew travelling with Filipe the entire time?

A: No, for the most part, the journey footage seen in The Long Rider was captured by Filipe himself using a tripod, or by locals and friends that he encountered along the way.

Q: Filipe’s story is epic in scale. Are there plans for a narrative feature film?

A: Yes. The filmmakers are already in development on the narrative version of the film, and a script has been fully developed.


Mythic Productions and Mojo Global Arts presents

in association with NC2 Media

“The Long Rider”

  • Directed and Produced by Sean Cisterna

  • Executive Producers Filipe Masetti Leite, Sonya Di Rienzo, and Aeschylus Poulos

  • Director of Photography Filipe Masetti Leite

  • Interview Cinematography Carl Elster and Ingrid Vido

  • Edited by Lee Walker

  • Maps Created by Esri

  • Original Score Edgardo Moreno

  • Original Song My Horse by 4i4/Filipe Masetti Leite/Shelagh Haney

  • Sound Design Kathy Choi

  • Re-Recording Mixer Will Stephens

Contact Information

Sean Cisterna
Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn @seancisterna

Instagram @filipemasetti

Mojo Global Arts
324 S. Beverly Dr., #185
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Don’t miss the chance to see The Long Rider yourself at Sunscreen Film Festival on April 30, 2022 in St. Petersburg, FL!

Barb currently resides in Central Florida with her three horses; when she’s not writing or riding for HRL, she loves to read and travel. horseandriderliving@gmail.com