on air now

GIVING VOICE: Jim Schembri’s interview with Wide Open Sky director Lisa Nicol


GIVING VOICE: Interview with Wide Open Sky director Lisa Nicol

When Sydney director Lisa Nicol set out to make her new film she was looking for something close to home.

It turned out that while the subject she selected lived relatively nearby, making the film would involve trekking several thousand kilometres deep into the Outback.

Each year choir director Michelle Leonard puts together a children’s choir for the Moorambilla region.

She and her crew audition around 2000 school kids from 55 schools in 30 towns sprinkled across western New South Wales.

Mack, one of the film

Mack, one of the film’s talented young singers.

Focussing on four remarkable children – Taylah; Mack; Kyhnan – Wide Open Sky follows the initial auditions, subsequent rehearsals and the final performance.

The film, which won the audience award for best documentary at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival, is an uplifting odyssey that shows the power music can have in transforming lives.

Filming on digital video, Nicol, cinematogapher Carolyn Constantine and producer/editor Anna Craney ended up shooting about 100 hours of footage, which took them around three months to whittle down.

In this interview Nicol discusses the making of the film, the function of music, the social conditions she encountered, and the dire state of funding for school arts programs.

Please enjoy.


Click play for the interview


Click play to view a trailer for Wide Open Sky