Filipe Masetti Leite's documentary premieres in Calgary

A young cowboy's epic journey 10 years in the making comes to life on the big screen for Calgary audiences starting on Canada Day.

The Long Rider is a documentary film shot by Filipe Masetti Leite with his story of adventure departing from the Calgary Stampede bound for his family's property in Brazil -- but the journey takes him beyond what he could've imagined.

"The first time I hit record on this project was over a decade ago," Leite told CTV News on Friday.

His long ride began in Calgary in 2012, when he left the Calgary Stampede grounds with his horses packed and headed south.

Leite captured about 500 hours of video, as he and three horses rode through the 12 countries between Canada, U.S.A. Central and South America over two years.

Leite is the youngest person to journey on horseback through this part of the world.

In 2020, he returned to the Calgary Stampede as the parade marshal, which he's described as an honour for a cowboy with a dream.

"Literally I feel like I have family in Calgary. I feel the Calgary Stampede is a part of my story and it feels amazing to share this film with audiences in Calgary," said Leite.

His journey to reach  his family ranch in Brazil was at times lonely, even dangerous.

"It was fraught with speeding transport trucks and corruption at borders and nature's wrath," said the documentary film director Sean Cisterna.

Leite's journey didn't end in Brazil; he embarked on more long rides totalling more than 25,000 kilometres.

Along the way he learned more about himself, his horses, his family, and his sense of home.

The filmmakers say they wanted his global perspective to translate on screen.

"It's rooted in Canada but its so expansive and it definitely bridges the gap between north and south and Latin America," said Cisterna.

The Long Rider premieres in Calgary at the Cineplex Eau Claire with showings at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on July 1st.

The documentary will be shown in theatres around the world later this summer.