×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Blair: Period pic makes waves Down Under

10 Directors to Watch 2013: Wayne Blair

In the annals of Aussie feel-good indies, few have captivated their home audience like “The Sapphires.” Inspired by the true story of an Aboriginal girl group that performed for Vietnam War troops, the ebullient period pic stands as Oz’s highest grossing domestic film of 2012.

“The quality of films from indigenous filmmakers is second to none, but this film has such a commercial accessibility,” says Wayne Blair, whose feature debut was nabbed by the Weinstein Co. on the eve of its Cannes premiere and bows Stateside in spring. “It’s definitely one that will open up the American market for other indigenous filmmakers and Australian films.”

This particular story has a personal resonance for the actor-turned-director, a star of the original Sydney stage production who was handpicked to helm the bigscreen adaptation by playwright Tony Briggs, son of one of the real-life Sapphires. “My old man was the first Aboriginal sergeant major in Australia,” Blair says. “Everywhere you looked, there were people in our lives that had a close association with that time period and what was taking place. It was sort of meant to be.”

The stars may have aligned, but Blair was ready for the opportunity. Juggling stage-acting gigs, he found time to take special classes, one at NYU and the other designed for emerging indigenous filmmakers at Sydney’s Metro Screen. He put that training to the test directing shorts and television.

“What’s put me in good stead is just having that close proximity with actors — an understanding of what they’re after,” he says. “I’m interested in directing a good story that has heart and pathos and gives the world a little bit of love, whether that’s in the U.S., the U.K. or Australia. I love to sit in the cinema with a smile on my face and a little tear in my eye. Then you can walk out and feel a bit more human again.”

Homebase:Sydney
Inspired by: Spike Lee and Steven Spielberg. For “The Sapphires,” he studied “Ray,” “The Color Purple” and “Angela Bassett as Tina Turner.”
Reps: Agents: Andrew Cannava, Bec Smith, David Flynn (UTA), Duncan Heath, Roxana Adle (Independent Talent Group), Jean Mostyn (The Yellow Agency)

More Scene

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

  • Millie Bobby Brown on Her Feature

    Millie Bobby Brown Calls Her Film Debut in 'Godzilla' 'Kind of Unreal'

    Millie Bobby Brown is no stranger to stardom thanks to “Stranger Things,” but she still can’t believe she’s making her feature film debut in the monster reboot “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” “It’s kind of unreal,” Brown told Variety at the premiere. “I’m like, ‘What is happening right now?’ It’s so bizarre and unreal, and [...]

  • CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Robert

    Robert Pattinson Helps HFPA Donate $500,000 to Refugee Organization at Cannes Event

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association proved in Cannes Sunday night that the Golden Globes aren’t the only festive bash it can pull off each year. At the glamorous Nikki Beach party held in association with Participant Media, the HFPA donated $500,000 to international aid organization Help Refugees. Co-hosts Robert Pattinson and Helen Mirren along with Quentin [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan

    Peabody Winners Talk Empowered Women and Social Justice Challenges on Red Carpet

    The theme on the red carpet at the 78th annual Peabody Awards? Empowering women. On Saturday, Peabody winners gathered at Cipriani Wall Street, and one of the hot topics on everyone’s mind was the wave of female empowerment spreading across the industry. From Peabody’s Career Achievement Award recipient Rita Moreno to shows like ‘Killing Eve’ [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content