Freelance writer and photographer with an interest in science communication. Always looking for new experiences and discoveries!
Published April 3rd 2016
Pack the tissues for this home-grown doco
According to the director and producer of Wide Open Sky you don't need to look far to find a great story, and the proof is here in this award-winning documentary.
Wide Open Sky follows the story of Moorambilla Voices, a not for profit multi-arts program in North West NSW.
The choir is driven by the dynamic and tireless Artistic Director, Michelle Leonard. Her journey to find the best voices covers a third of the state and visits over 55 schools in 30 towns across remote NSW. Simply, she believes that life is full of possibilities and she wants the kids she comes across throughout remote NSW to reach for that.
Now in its 11th year, the program takes in many students who would otherwise never be exposed to this depth of music education. The fundraising undertaken to ensure children who can't afford to go won't miss out is a feat in itself.
Following the selection process the chosen students head to camp to learn their songs in just three days, head home, then reconvene for the performance of a lifetime.
Perhaps the most touching part of the film is the candid thoughts of six of the children, giving their unfiltered views on what it means to be selected for this choir. It's well known regional towns are all about sport, so the choir is a vehicle for expression for these kids. Watching some of them articulate that they never knew there were other people like them is is almost heartbreaking.
While they may miss out on some city opportunities it's hard not to look wistfully at the dramatic landscape of remote Australia, with its wide open sky. There is beauty also in the simplicity of their childhoods… free to ride bikes, get dirty and even busk outside the general store.
While Moorambilla Voices is a vehicle of expression for these kids, Wide Open Sky is the vehicle to make this amazing story heard to a wider audience.
Wide Open Sky won the Best Documentary (Audience Choice) at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival. It opens in cinemas on 14th April 2016… pack the tissues.