|Directed by||Wayne Blair|
|Screenplay by||Keith Thompson|
|Based on|| The Sapphires |
by Tony Briggs
|Produced by|| Rosemary Blight |
Kylie Du Fresne
|Edited by||Dany Cooper|
|Music by||Cezary Skubiszewski|
|Distributed by||Hopscotch Films|
The Sapphires is a 2012 Australian musical comedy-drama film based on the 2004 stage play of the same name, which is loosely based on a true story.The film is directed by Wayne Blair and written by Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs, the latter of whom wrote the play.
The Sapphires is about four Yorta Yorta Indigenous Australian women, Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy), Kay (Shari Sebbens) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), who are discovered by a talent scout (Chris O'Dowd), and form a music group named The Sapphires, travelling to Vietnam in 1968 to sing for troops during the war. Production began in 2010, with the casting of the four members of The Sapphires and filming taking place in and around Albury in Australia and Vietnam during August and September 2011.
The Sapphires made its world premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival on 19 May 2012 during its out-of-competition screenings, was theatrically released in Australia on 9 August and received a limited release in the United States on 22 March 2013.
In 1968 Australia, Gail and Cynthia head into town to sing country & western songs for a talent contest but their young sister, Julie, is forbidden from going because she has a child and is too young until she bribes a fellow neighbour to take her into town. An alcoholic, Irish talent scout, Dave Lovelace, is scolded by his boss for being late despite him sleeping in his car that is near work. Despite being the best act in the contest, the girls not only do not win, but are told to leave. Dave recognizes their talent and is told that the troops need singers for Vietnam. Soon, Dave goes to make a call and he says they have been granted a spot to audition in Melbourne. Back at their place, Gail, Cynthia and Julie's mother tell him he can take them but without Julie, until Julie's father tells him not to worry about her. Advised by their grandmother, they meet up with their cousin Kay, who had been living in Melbourne for 10 years after the government took her from her family as part of the Stolen Generations, because she was half white. She rejects the offer of joining them, but later changes her mind and meets up at their uncle's place. After days of practicing their moves, they are almost ready until Julie gives Cynthia a letter from her fiancé that he is going to call it off. Despite that, they manage to audition very well and Kay comes up with the group's name, The Sapphires, after looking at Cynthia's engagement ring.
The Sapphires are a success with the crowds, but infighting among the women threatens to tear the group apart: Gail acts as the group's aggressive matriarch. Kay struggles with her multi-ethnic identity because 10 years earlier she was taken away from the family by the Government, along with thousands of other fairer-skinned Aboriginal children and sent to live in institutions where they were to be raised 'white'. Julie proves to be the group's best voice with a shot at a singing career. Dave and Gail begin a romance, but his reckless behaviour and a personal secret push Gail's patience to the limit.
When The Sapphires do another gig, Cynthia drinks with some of the men and is not allowed to go on again. Later, Dave and Gail talk a little before Dave hands her a letter, telling her to open it later and are about to kiss when they are caught in the crossfire of war; Dave disappears in the chaos and gets shot. The girls manage to escape in a helicopter. At home, Gail reads Dave's letter and realizes he wanted to propose to her, but it was her choice. The women band together and finish their tour. Dave survives and Gail is reunited with him in a Vietnam hospital. The Sapphires return to Australia and Gail and Dave announce to the family that they plan to marry. The Sapphires give a joyous performance for their friends and family in the yard of their home.
There had been an all-female Australian Aboriginal singing group named The Sapphires in the 1960s, although originally there were three of them: Laurel Robinson (the mother of screenwriter Tony Briggs), Beverly Briggs, and Naomi Mayers. They performed at hotels, pubs, cabarets, clubs, parties, army barracks and universities around Melbourne.When they were invited to Vietnam to perform for the troops, Briggs and Mayers declined, as they were against the war, so Robinson enlisted her sister Lois Peeler to join her. In Vietnam, the duo of Robinson and Peeler performed backing vocals for a New Zealand Maori band they had performed with in Melbourne. It was this Maori band who introduced them to soul music; the character of Dave Lovelace, portrayed in the film by Chris O'Dowd, did not exist. Director Wayne Blair, talking about the creation of the Lovelace character, said "That's where we went a bit Argo". Tony Briggs said in an interview in The Age in 2004 "he found it liberating as a writer to expand the number of characters" as it made the dynamics of the story richer.
Based on Tony Briggs' 2004 play of the same name commissioned by and debuted at Melbourne Theatre Company, the film was first announced in June 2010.The screenplay was co-written by Briggs and Keith Thompson. Filming primarily took place in New South Wales, at Albury, (and its surrounding towns Corowa, Howlong, Culcairn, Henty and Morven), with additional shooting taking place in Windsor, Camden, Summerhill, Newtown, and Canal Road Studios in Leichhardt, between August and September 2011. The rest of the film's production was moved to Vietnam, for a limited shoot.
On 2 June 2010, a press release announced that an open casting call had begun for The Sapphires, and that Goalpost Pictures Australia were searching for "four young Indigenous women, aged 16–28, to play the leading roles of the four members of [the title singing group]".The audition process involved submitting an audition tape to the casting website by 31 July 2010. Australian singer Casey Donovan, who had starred as Cynthia McCrae in the musical's 2010 production, auditioned for that part, but was unsuccessful, with the role instead going to newcomer Miranda Tapsell. Deborah Mailman, who also starred as Cynthia in the original 2004 production of the musical, landed the role of Gail McCrae, and Jessica Mauboy joined the film, being cast as Gail's sister Julie. In August 2011, the roles of all four group members were officially announced, when another newcomer, Shari Sebbens, joined the cast as Kay McCrae. Chris O'Dowd was added to the film, playing the role of Dave, who discovers The Sapphires.
The original soundtrack was released on 27 July 2012 by Sony Music.It features the vocals of Jessica Mauboy, Jade MacRae, Lou Bennett, Juanita Tippens and Darren Percival, with Mauboy singing in ten of the sixteen songs. An original track called "Gotcha", co-written by Mauboy, Ilan Kidron, and Louis Schoorl, was released as a single on 13 July. Two weeks after its chart debut, The Sapphires soundtrack hit number one on the ARIA Album Chart and the ARIA Australian Albums Chart.
The film had its world premiere on 19 May at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, at the midnight out-of-competition screening.Following the premiere, the audience in attendance gave the cast and crew a ten-minute standing ovation. It premiered in Australia at the Melbourne International Film Festival on 2 August, with its cinematic release on 9 August, distributed by Hopscotch Films. Entertainment One handled distribution in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada, while Lusomundo, Diaphana, and Lev Films released the film in Portugal, France, and Israel, respectively. The Weinstein Company bought the rights to distribute the film in the United States and other countries.
The US release of the DVD attracted controversy as the result of the design for the DVD's cover. The artwork placed actor Chris O'Dowd prominently in the foreground, with the four female stars appearing in the background and coloured with a blue wash. The decision was described as both sexist and racist, with O'Dowd describing the decision as "ill-judged, insensitive and everything the film wasn't".Anchor Bay expressed regret for any "unintentional upset caused" and said different artwork was being considered for future orders.
In Australia, the film was the highest-earning Australian film on its opening weekend, grossing $2,320,000 from 275 cinemas.News.com.au said it was the strongest first weekend for an Australian-made film since Tomorrow, When the War Began , which earned $3,860,000 upon its 2010 release. As of 31 October 2012, the film had grossed AU$14,215,596 at the Australian box office.
The film was far less successful in international markets than in its Australian release, with roughly $5 million from all international releases combined versus over $14 million in its Australian release alone.
In France, the film opened at #13 with just 35,786 admissions from 162 screens over its first week (25,847 over five days).It was dubbed "Le Flop" by French box office website Le Box Office Pour Les Nuls. In its first major English-language opening outside of Australia, the UK, the film opened at #7 and to a little under 25% of the box office it earned in its Australian opening weekend, on a roughly similar number of screens (279 vs. 233). The film exited UK cinemas after just 5 weeks in release with a final box office take of £680,643, equivalent to around AU$1m. The UK final box office takings were less than 1/14 of the film's Australian final box office takings. In its United States release, where the film only appeared in the top 20 for one weekend (at #19, 5–7 April 2013), the film completed its run with just under $2.5m, and releases in Germany and the Netherlands yielded under $100,000 each.
The Sapphires received positive reviews from Cannes, dubbed as the Australian version of Dreamgirls (2006), another film based on a play about a '60s girl group.Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 91% based on reviews from 131 critics; their average rating was calculated as 6.9/10. Metacritic gives the film a "generally positive" rating of 67% based on reviews from 30 critics.
Guy Lodge from Variety said Chris O'Dowd's "dorky-dirty warmth and manic performance energy... keeps the proceedings bouncy even when the script loses its own fizz."Mark Adams of Screen International called O'Dowd an "increasingly charismatic screen presence" who "helps give the film an edginess, spontaneity and some real laugh-out-loud moments." Eric Kohn from IndieWire gave it a C-, believing that it "belongs on Broadway more than the big screen".
Henry Barnes of The Guardian gave the film three stars out of five, calling it "a sweet 'n' dumb feelgood bopper."Brad Brevet of Rope of Silicon gave it a B-, summing it up as, "good music, good performances and good fun and should play well across several demographic quadrants." Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph gave the "workaday Australian comedy" three stars, calling it "uncomplicated" but praising Chris O'Dowd for elevating every scene he is in. Ross Miller of Thoughts on Film gave the film three stars, saying that it "may not break any especially new ground or end up in a place you're not expecting but along the way it's a genuinely pleasant watch."
Fiona Williams of SBS awarded the film three-and-a-half stars out of five, commenting that "There's much to love, lots to like... and enough roof-lifting musical numbers to make up for the dodgy bits."
Academic Bruno Starrs makes the argument that the film's Aboriginal protagonists undergo a journey in which they learn the importance of choosing the protest songs of black Soul over the white coloniser's "whining" Country and Western songs. Their song choices are an assertion of Indigenous sovereignty and Starrs argues that the Aboriginal Australian 'Welcome to Country' is twice subverted to reinforce this theme, firstly in the Cummeragunja pub and secondly in war-torn Vietnam."
|45th AWGIE Awards||Best Feature Film (screenplay) – Adaptation||Keith Thompson|
|Most Outstanding Script of 2012||Won|
|26th ARIA Music Awards||Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album||Nominated|
|48th Chicago International Film Festival||Gold Hugo for Best Feature||Wayne Blair||Nominated|
|35th Denver Film Festival||People's Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature||Won|
| AACTA Awards |
|Best Film||Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne||Won|
|Best Direction||Wayne Blair||Won|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Keith Thompson||Won|
|Best Lead Actor||Chris O'Dowd||Won|
|Best Lead Actress||Deborah Mailman||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Jessica Mauboy||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Warwick Thornton||Won|
|Best Editing||Dany Cooper||Won|
|Best Sound||Andrew Plain||Won|
|Best Production Design||Melinda Doring||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Tess Schofield||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||James Rogers||Nominated|
|Deadly Awards 2013||Film of the Year||Won|
Christopher O'Dowd is an Irish actor and comedian. He came to broad attention as Roy Trenneman, one of the leading characters in the Channel 4 comedy The IT Crowd, which ran for four series between 2006 and 2010. Moving into film, he appeared in Bridesmaids (2011), This Is 40 (2012), The Sapphires (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Calvary (2014), and St. Vincent (2014). O'Dowd created and starred in the Sky 1 television series Moone Boy, which aired between 2012 and 2015, earning O'Dowd Irish Film and Television Award nominations in acting, writing and directing.
Jessica Hilda Mauboy is an Australian R&B and pop singer, songwriter, and actress. Born and raised in Darwin, Northern Territory, she rose to fame in 2006 on the fourth season of Australian Idol, where she was runner-up and subsequently signed a recording contract with Sony Music Australia. After releasing a live album of her Idol performances and briefly being a member of the girl group Young Divas in 2007, Mauboy released her debut studio album, Been Waiting, the following year. It included her first number-one single, "Burn", and became the second highest-selling Australian album of 2009, certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
"Running Back" is the debut single by Australian R&B recording artist Jessica Mauboy, which features American rapper Flo Rida. It was written by Mauboy, Audius Mtawarira, and Sean Ray Mullins, and was produced by Audius. "Running Back" was released for digital download on 19 September 2008 as the lead single from Mauboy's debut studio album, Been Waiting. Mauboy felt "so excited and honoured" to work with Flo Rida, calling it a dream come true.
Australian singer and songwriter Jessica Mauboy has released four studio albums, one live album, three soundtrack albums, one extended play, and forty-one singles. Mauboy was the runner-up on the fourth season of Australian Idol in 2006, and subsequently signed a contract with Sony Music Australia. She released her debut live album The Journey in February 2007, which features songs she performed as part of the top twelve on Australian Idol. The album debuted at number four on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of 35,000 copies. Mauboy briefly became a member of the Australian pop girl group Young Divas later that year, before resuming her solo career early in 2008.
Get 'Em Girls is the second studio album by Australian recording artist Jessica Mauboy, released on 24 August 2010 by SRC Records and Universal Republic Records. Mauboy recorded the album in Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta. She worked with various American songwriters and producers she had not worked with before, including Bangladesh, Harvey Mason Jr., Chuck Harmony, Brian Kennedy, and Alex James, among others. Musically, Get 'Em Girls contains up-tempo and ballad-oriented songs, which derive from the genres of pop, hip hop and R&B. The album features guest vocal appearances from Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Jay Sean, and Iyaz.
"What Happened to Us" is a song by Australian recording artist Jessica Mauboy, featuring English recording artist Jay Sean. It was written by Sean, Josh Alexander, Billy Steinberg, Jeremy Skaller, Rob Larow, Khaled Rohaim and Israel Cruz. "What Happened to Us" was leaked online in October 2010, and was released on 10 March 2011, as the third single from Mauboy's second studio album, Get 'Em Girls (2010). The song received positive reviews from critics.
Friends with Kids is a 2011 American romantic comedy film written, produced, and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, who also stars in the film. Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, and Edward Burns also star in the film.
Goalpost Pictures is an Australian production company established in May 2008. It is led by producers Rosemary Blight, Ben Grant, Kylie du Fresne, and Cass O'Connor.
Rosemary Blight is an Australian film producer, credited with films such as The Sapphires, The Tree, and Clubland. Her television work includes the Lockie Leonard series. She has been principal partner and company director with Goalpost Pictures since 1992, and a board member of Screen Australia since 2013.
The Sapphires: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is a soundtrack album for the film The Sapphires (2012), released on 27 July 2012 by Sony Music Australia. It features the vocals of Jessica Mauboy, Jade MacRae, Lou Bennett, Juanita Tippens and Darren Percival, with Mauboy singing in ten of the sixteen songs. Produced by Bry Jones, the soundtrack contains songs from the 1960s, including: "Land of a Thousand Dances", "I Can't Help Myself ", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "What a Man". The track "Ngarra Burra Ferra" is a song based on the traditional Aboriginal hymn "Bura Fera" in the Yorta Yorta language of Victoria, Australia, the language spoken by the indigenous Yorta Yorta people of the Goulburn Valley and Murray River valley centred on modern-day Echuca.
"Gotcha" is a song recorded by Australian singer and songwriter Jessica Mauboy for the soundtrack album The Sapphires to the 2012 musical film of the same name, in which Mauboy stars as Julie McCrae. The song was written by Mauboy, Louis Schoorl and Ilan Kidron, and produced by The Schoolkids. It was released as the lead single from the soundtrack album on 13 July 2012. Musically, "Gotcha" is an upbeat pop and swing dance song, which incorporates influences of motown and elements of 1960s music.
The 2012 Deadly Awards were hosted by Luke Carroll and Casey Donovan at the Sydney Opera House on 25 September 2012. Jessica Mauboy and opera singer Deborah Cheetham performed at the ceremony. The Awards program were broadcast on nationally on SBS One on 30 September 2012. The event was an annual celebration of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement in music, sport, entertainment and community.
The 2nd Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards are a series of awards which includes the 2nd AACTA Awards Luncheon, the 2nd AACTA Awards ceremony and the 2nd AACTA International Awards. The former two events were held at the Star Event Centre, in Sydney, New South Wales on 28 January and 30 January 2013, respectively. Presented by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), the awards celebrated the best in Australian feature film, television, documentary and short film productions of 2012. The AACTA Awards ceremony was televised on Network Ten. Actor Russell Crowe hosted the show. These awards are a continuum of the Australian Film Institute Awards, established in 1958 and presented until 2010, which was rebranded the AACTA Awards when the Australian Film Institute (AFI) established AACTA in 2011.
Shari Sebbens is an Australian actress and stage director, known for her debut film role in The Sapphires (2012), as well as many stage and television performances. As of 2021 she is a resident director of the Sydney Theatre Company.
"To the End of the Earth" is a song recorded by Australian singer Jessica Mauboy. The song was digitally released on 17 July 2013, as the lead single from Mauboy's third studio album Beautiful. It was written by Mauboy, Jaden Michaels, Ben Berger and Ryan McMahon, and produced by the latter two. The uptempo dance-pop song received positive reviews from critics, who commended the production. "To the End of the Earth" peaked at number 21 on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association for selling over 35,000 copies. The track was promoted by performances at the 2013 State of Origin decider, on Sunrise and at Westfield Knox and Westfield Hurstville. The accompanying music video was directed by Emma Tomelty and filmed in Alice Springs. The video received a positive reception from critics, particularly for its presentation.
Beautiful is the third studio album by Australian recording artist Jessica Mauboy, released on 4 October 2013 by Sony Music Australia. The album was recorded at several recording studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles and Sydney. Mauboy worked on Beautiful with a variety of producers and songwriters, including DNA, The Fliptones, Brian Kennedy, Harvey Mason, Jr., Adam Reily and The Underdogs. She co-wrote ten of the thirteen songs on the album's standard edition. The album explored a mixture of dance-oriented tracks with R&B and pop.
To the End of the Earth Tour is the second concert tour by Australian recording artist Jessica Mauboy, but her first solo headlining national tour. There are 27 shows in metropolitan and regional Australia, running from November 2013 to January 2014. Launched to support the release of her third studio album, Beautiful (2013), the tour began on 7 November 2013 in Adelaide, South Australia. A diverse set of songs from the studio albums Been Waiting, Get 'Em Girls and Beautiful, along with covers and songs from The Sapphires are part of the tour.
Louis Schoorl is a Dutch-born APRA Award winning and ARIA-Award nominated and chart topping songwriter, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist.
"Never Be the Same" is a song recorded by Australian singer Jessica Mauboy. It was written by Mauboy, Anthony Egizii and David Musumeci, and produced by DNA. The song was released on 7 March 2014 as the fourth single from Mauboy's third studio album, Beautiful. "Never Be the Same" is a mid-tempo pop and R&B power ballad that speaks about "the confusion of growing up and the fact that changes in life are inevitable." The song received positive reviews from critics, who noted it as an emotional and powerful track and praised Mauboy's vocal performance.
Australian singer and actress Jessica Mauboy has released one video album and appeared in thirty music videos, two films, and many television programs and commercials. After she became the runner-up on the fourth season of Australian Idol in 2006, Mauboy signed a recording contract with Sony Music Australia. In 2008, she released her debut studio album Been Waiting and six music videos for its singles were shot. Mauboy's first music video was for the album's lead single "Running Back" featuring American rapper Flo Rida. It was directed by Fin Edquist and portrayed a fictional relationship between Mauboy and Flo Rida. At the 2009 MTV Australia Awards, the video was nominated for Best Collaboration. Keir McFarlane directed the music videos for the following singles, "Burn" and the title track "Been Waiting". The music video for the fifth single "Up/Down" was directed by Sequoia and shot in Los Angeles.
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