The 2011 Eclipse Award finalist for Outstanding Owner has joined up with a Texas horse rescue organization to help fund a grassroots documentary film about off-track Thoroughbreds.
This week, Richard and Karen Papiese, owners of Midwest Thoroughbreds pledged $12,000 toward the ongoing production of the film Back on Track, a documentary that examines the efforts within the race industry to help retired equine athletes.
The Papiese family agreed to pledge $12,000 toward the film costs after Donna Keen, president of Remember Me Rescue of Texas, began promoting the film on social media, and asking friends to contribute to the project spearheaded by filmmaker and student Kara Colvin.
Colvin recently graduated with a 4.0 from Savannah College of Art and Design, with a degree in film and television, and is continuing at the college to pursue her master’s in film. And central to her filmmaking activities is a documentary she has been making by recording interviews with top-tier jockeys, owners, and horse rescues.
In the quest to interview top racing personnel, Colvin has crisscrossed Kentucky, the mid-Atlantic and Florida and has interviewed such luminaries as Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion, and Kim Zito, wife of Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, as well as Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day.
When more funding for the project was needed, Keen took a passionate interest in seeing the film come to fruition.
“We need this film,” Keen says. “It’s such a good thing for horse racing. People think we’re mean to our horses, and we’re not. Most people in horse racing are good to their horses, and I think a film like this will show that.”
Shortly after Keen helped publicize the film’s effort to fundraise $12,000, the Papiese family contacted Keen to offer to match the $12,000.
“Rich called me personally to say he would match that initial $12,000 that they raised,” Keen says. “He says it is real important for the film to (have the funds) to be done right.”
Colvin explains that the lion’s share of the funds raised would go toward the purchase of a high quality camera, a Red Epic 5K camera, which is considered an “industry standard” and has been used to shoot HBO documentaries and other films, she says.
She reasons that the film, which aims to raise awareness about efforts being made to help off-track Thoroughbreds, would have a broader appeal in the film industry if it is made with the right equipment.
Colvin was thrilled that Keen took up her cause, and flabbergasted that the Papiese family agreed to fund the project.
“What Midwest Thoroughbreds did was huge and it was amazing,” she says. “It was a generous gift.”
This is the second time in recent history that the Papiese family has stepped up to the plate to help Keen. In March, they paid to build a first-rate barn for Remember Me Rescue.