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Polo Equipment - The Polo Kid, Film about Polo

About the Polo Film

Director's Statement

"When I first heard about Santi, I thought he was like all the other kids that play polo - rich, privileged and born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I had traveled to Florida to make a film about the American polo team competing in the Polo World Cup but when the team went out of the competition in the first stage - and when I realized how incredible Santi's story was - the film naturally shifted focus. Polo journalist Steve Crowder sums Santi up pretty well: "He rides like an Indian and weighs as much as a feather... He can run a whole in the windÉthe sawed-off shot gun answers to the name of Santi Torres". Crowder describes Santi's first tournament game, 'For the first few chukkas he seemed normal, then it was as though they has turned on a switch and they never really turned it off."

Many people were comparing Santi to the world's number 1 polo player: Adolfo Cambiaso - polo's equivalent of Tiger Woods.

When I met Santi, I was struck by his fragility, his youth and his quietness. When I met his parents I figured out why he was like this. This family has a proud heritage and a strong work ethic. They work around the clock, sacrificing their own lives to make Santi's career work. In him, they have spotted some raw talent and they're doing everything they can to develop it.

As I filmed on the road with Santi and Team USA, I learnt that people have many misconceptions about polo. Ranging from the understandable - 'it's only for rich people' to the more shocking confusion with water polo: 'how do you get the horses in the water?'. Many people thought you had to be invited to watch a game of polo and that it is only for the rich and famous. In contrast, I learnt that spectators are always welcome at a game, and price of entrance is usually less than popcorn and a coke at the cinema.

I met the people who really make up the polo world - the dedicated players, the grooms, the vets, coaches and the patrons, I saw a great team, connected by a love of horses and the game - and their nomadic lifestyle traveling through several countries each year. They all want to grow the sport to make it more accessible and more accountable.

I also wanted to work out how much of Santi's skill was down to nature and how much was nurture. What makes success and what sacrifices are needed to get it? I think the answer was commitment: every morning Santi gets up early and works with his horses. His family is not immune to the pressures of life: they worry about health, money, school work just like the rest of us but they keep the focus on polo.

Filming began in California in 2007 and then I followed Santi and Team USA to Mexico, then with Santi to Argentina and finally New York. Along the way we were helped tirelessly by the polo community: the players, patrons, grooms, vets and photographers and this film couldn't have been made without their help and support.

Nathaniel McCullagh,

Writer, Director and Producer, The Polo Kid

Los Angeles September, 2009

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