Little Sparrows is my debut feature film as director, writer and producer.
The film was shot over 19 days in December 2009 around Perth area. The production was completed in remarkable record time, less than seven months and was proudly to be made entirely in Western Australia, utilising extraordinary local talents (cast and crew) and production resources.
In May 2010, upon finishing the film and after generating much international interest amongst several high-profile sales agents, the production company granted Urban Distribution (UDI and formally Umedia) worldwide sales rights – outside Australia/New Zealand. The exciting news was announced during Cannes Film Festival in Rivera. Paris-based, Urban Distribution is a leading international sales agent that specialises in arthouse cinema from around the world.
In June 2010, Little Sparrows made its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival (SFF). Festival Director Clare Stewart said she had welcomed Little Sparrows’ inclusion in the Sydney Film Festival’s Love Me pathway, calling it a “beautifully nuanced film.”
Following the launch at SFF, Little Sparrows continued to enjoy its Victoria premiere at Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in July. Michelle Carey (MIFF Head of Programming) wrote: “Little Sparrows was a real standout in the Australian films this year. It heralds a new voice in independent Australian filmmaking and shows there are still important things to say within the family-drama genre.”
In August, Little Sparrows screened to WA home audience at Cinefest Oz and which festival director Helen Shervington praised the film as “a very engaging film emotionally, beautifully acted and thought provoking.”
In November, Little Sparrows welcomed the news that it was one of only 16 feature films to be included in the Official Selection at the fifth edition of International Rome Film Festival.
The screening received lengthy standing ovations at its international premiere night and the positive reviews in international media the next day helped us seal a distribution deal with Film Movement for both US and Canadian (English-speaking) territories.
For 2010 Inside Film Awards, Little Sparrows was one of three nominees for the prestigious Independent Spirit IF Award which celebrates creativity, tenacity and vision.
Concurrently, Little Sparrows was the winner of SPAARTAN Award and has been acclaimed the best feature shot in digital format at the annual conference of the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) in 2010 and took away an impressive $50,000 prize package and a guaranteed screening on awards sponsor Movie Network.
To date, Little Sparrows has been sold to the US, Canada (English speaking territory), UK, China airline, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg internationally.
Little Sparrows have screened internationally at Rome International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Chennai International Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival and Taipei Film Festival as part of its New Talent Competition. In Australia, Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Brisbane Film Festival, Cinefest Oz, Dungog Film Festival, Australian Film Festival and a special International Women’s Day screening in conjunction with Arts Margaret River.
Little Sparrows was the winner of Lotterywest Award for Outstanding Achievement Drama Production. This Award is presented to a Western Australian drama production that achieved an outstanding level of success during the 2010 calendar year.
Little Sparrows was an important film for me to make. As a storyteller and filmmaker, the journey hailed a milestone in my creative growth. I’ve learned the importance in absolutely refusing to accept less than my best.
On a personal level, Little Sparrows was an honest effort. It was my way of dealing with the profound grief of losing my father. In many ways, years after my father’s passing, I am still trying to make sense of his presence in my life. A giant, he was and still is. Well, I suppose, to really accept how deeply I love the man and miss him.
That’s really all there is to it. I don’t set out to save the world but I set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how one’s actions affect other people’s hearts.
I never want to convey ideas to an audience (or anyone for that matter.) But I want to show people life and hope that somehow the audience will find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate life as it is.