Aussie short Yardbird selected for Cannes

18 April, 2012 by Sandy George

When official word came through that the 13-minute Aussie short Yardbird was in competition at Cannes, director Michael Spiccia had just stepped off a plane in Los Angeles ready for a series of meetings to do with his real job: directing commercials.

Producer Jessica Mitchell finally got in touch with him after two hours of trying at 4am LA time. Earlier she had gone through an hour of nail-biting while she played phone tag with Cannes representative Christian Jeune.


Spiccia is known in the commercials world for his visually potent work. Yardbird is his first drama and also Mitchell’s first film as a sole producer.

“A lot of people nurtured us through the making of this film,” said Mitchell, naming many of the heads of department that worked on the film. She said that 10 films were chosen from more than 4,500 considered.

Yardbird is the story of a young girl who lives in a remote car wrecking yard who takes on the local bullies that torment her father. It was filmed on location in six days at Talbot and Clunes in regional Victoria in January 2011. Post-production took place in Sydney.

Spiccia and Mitchell will be in experienced hands when they head to the south of France for the world premiere because Yardbird’s writer and executive producer, Julius Avery, wrote and directed Jerrycan which won the Cannes Jury Prize for best short film in 2008. The trio are all Sydney-based.

The film was produced by Mitchell’s fledgling Buffalo Films and Bridle Path Films, a collective of directors founded by Avery last year, in association with Goodoil Films, the production company that represents Spiccia’s commercials work.

The two key sponsors of Yardbird were Efilm and Fin Design + Effects, which played a big part in heightening the drama. It received some funding through Screen Australia’s short film completion program.

Cannes runs until May 16-27. The films in the main feature film competition are being announced tomorrow (April 19).