Sparrow and how it speaks to people all over the world

May 30, 2019

Sparrow and how it speaks to people all over the world

Professor Welby Ings. Photo: Caitlin Simm

A 2016 short film by Kiwi filmmaker and AUT Professor Welby Ings has been selected for an international film festival for the 50th time.

Sparrow tells the stories of a grandfather, once a young gay man fighting in World War II who was misunderstood, and his grandson, who thinks he can fly, and is also misunderstood.

The film has now won 11 international awards since its release and was recently honoured with its 50th international film festival selection at the 51st Fotogramma d’Oro Short Film Festival in Messina, Italy.

Sparrow was originally going to be the opening to one of Ings’ feature films but took on a life of its own.

“Most people know in their heart what it is to be misunderstood, and you can sometimes talk to that as a filmmaker,” says Ings.

When Ings was young, he used to think he could fly and made wings out of his mother’s sewing patterns.

The film was partly about those childhood days, and partly about another family, whom he would like to be kept anonymous.

At the ending of the film, a sparrow in a corner of a room in a mental hospital was a way to link the two stories of the son and the grandfather together, Ings says.

Watch the trailer:

Ings says people often talk about being physically injured in war, but those psychologically injured are not acknowledged in the same way.

Films should use beauty as a way of making people acknowledge hidden emotions they may often avoid, he says

“Instead of telling it brutally, I would tell [the story] in the most beautiful way I could,” says Ings.

“I think beauty is a very powerful tool in film. You can use it to cause people to feel sensitive about things that they would block out.”

Ings also has made two other acclaimed films called Boy and Munted.

Below: Watch Professor Welby Ings talk about his work as part of the Wallace Arts Video Series.

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