Wide Open Sky

Reviews Films


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival, WIDE OPEN SKY shows us how footy and music can live in harmony – even in the Aussie outback!

As a Music Teacher, I felt obligated to check this flick out. I did my duty, getting up early on my day off and making the hour-long journey to the cinema…. it was worth it.

WIDE OPEN SKY tells the uplifting true story of a children’s choir in outback NSW. In this remote corner of the state, footy is king and music education is relatively rare.

Determined to see the children of these communities reach their potential, the choir’s driven artistic director, Michelle Leonard, travels thousands of kilometres across the Aussie outback every year to audition isolated children to join her choir. WIDE OPEN SKY focuses on four adorable kiddies who travel far from home to take part in Leonard’s music camp.

Director Lisa Nicol is to be commended on her excellent choice of focus children: They are incredibly likeable, and each very different from the other. The audience are absolutely won over by these kids. I felt totally invested.

Nicol also achieves a great balance between music and story; This doco would equally appeal to those with little musical interest / knowledge. Pace is well maintained, and visually the film is gorgeous, set against the stunning backdrop of rural Australian landscape.

As a WA girl, I had one issue with WIDE OPEN SKY: The areas they were labelling as “remote” and “disadvantaged” weren’t a patch on our remote communities. We’re taking towns with paved roads, facilities, industry and all year access….many of WA’s remote communities can only be reached by dirt tracks. Some can’t even be accessed at all in the wet season.

So a little voice in my head couldn’t help but argue that these kids weren’t that disadvantaged compared to others….but this is a small gripe (filled with obvious bias!)

WIDE OPEN SKY will make your heart sing. I rate it 8 stars.


Sian's love for movies spawned from having a tight mother whose generosity stretched only to hiring movies once a week for entertainment. As a pre-teen Sian spent more pocket money then she earned on cinema tickets and thus sought a job at the cinema. Over the next decade she rose to be one of the greats in her backwater, six-screen cinema complex, zooming through the ranks from candy bar wench with upselling superpowers, to pasty projectionist, to a manager rocking a pencil skirt. Sian went on to study Journalism at university though feels her popcorn shovelling days were far more educational