Sparrow Film Project

It starts with a three week, three minute movie making experience

The Sparrow Film Project started as a film making contest in Astoria, New York. A rag-tag group of artists came together and picked made-up movie titles out of a hat. Based on the title picked, each participant had three weeks to make a three minute film. We screened all of the finished films and held an awards ceremony at The Sparrow Tavern


The Assignments

Every edition is shaped by an over-arching concept, with unique assigments for each participating team.

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SFP 2018

Our 10th anniversary project challenges participants in an entirely new way.  Filmmakers were given a work of art (painting, sculpture, photograph, etc.) to inspire the story of their film.  Art moves us all in different ways, what we interpret from a piece can spark our own creativity in ways we had never expected.  Filmmakers were also given a piece of original music, created and curated by our friends at YouTooCanWoo, a music studio & record label based in Brooklyn, N.Y.  The piece of music is meant to inform the tone of the film.

SFP 14 

Entries for the 14th Sparrow Film Project. This edition focused on character development. First, the character needed a motivation, these were unknowingly provided by patrons at The Sparrow Tavern when asked to write down a wish they'd like to come true. Second, an obstruction in the form of a character flaw. And finally filmmakers spun a wheel for a random Commedia dell'Arte character to be included in their film


A Christmas Carol: Holiday Revue 2016

We joined forces with The Queensborough Theatre Project for a noncompetitive holiday edition. We divided the entirety of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol into sections. We invited seven teams of filmmakers and the ensemble of QTP's production to tell each piece of the story in their own voice.

SFP 13: The Occult

For this, the thirteenth edition of the Sparrow Film Project, could we really have gone in any other direction? The number 13 is evocative of luck - almost universally interpreted as bad, but good according to the Italians. It is a omen of future outcomes, and a fear (Triskaidekaphobia) unto itself. 
The assignment begins with our medium choosing a tarot card, which describes a feature of either your film or main character. Next, crack open a fortune cookie to reveal a phobia or superstition. Last, spin the Wheel of Misfortune: you'll have to limit or exceed your intentions by a power of 13.



SFP 12: Mythic Pitches

We’re sure you, like us, have noticed that Hollywood has run out of ideas lately. It feels like every blockbuster movie is something we’ve seen already. This repetition of stories isn’t a new phenomenon – it’s something we humans have done throughout our existence. Every culture, at every point in history, has created narratives to explain the world around them, comment on the way we interact with each other, and share experiences of the the universe. We are speaking, of course, of mythology. 

Myths can range from the completely fantastic to the absolutely banal, often at the same time. How did the universe get here? Why do we argue with our siblings? No matter what kind of magical events happen, myths, at their core, resonate with what it means to be human. While the places and characters tell us much about the culture they come from, their essence remains timeless. 

We are giving each team their own mythic story, drawing from cultures from around the world. We want you to take these old tales, and think like a Hollywood exec. Imagine you’re pitching the idea for a not-so-new new movie. “Well, it’s the story of …, but wait!” The two twists take your story off in an unexpected direction. 

First, is a time. We’ve randomly assigned you a year or time period to set your movie in. Your story will take place somewhere between prehistoric times and the far future. Second, we’re asking you to interpret your myth in one of three ways: as a prequel, sequel, or reboot. Because there’s no better way to cash in on a good story than telling what happened before, what came after, or just telling it over again.