Amy is the poignant drama of a young girl who, traumatized by the tragic death of her father, retreats into a world of silence. Ultimately, through the efforts of her dedicated mother and a young drop-out musician who lives next door, Amy breaks out of her self-imposed isolation by communicating through music – and transforming the lives of everyone around her.
Rachel Griffiths, the Academy Award-nominated star of numerous films including Blow and The Rookie, as well as the Emmy-nominated television series Brothers and Sisters, portrays Amy’s mother, a single parent haunted by the loss of her husband and fiercely protective of her child. The title role is played by the gifted Alana De Roma in her astonishing film debut.
Amy opened February 2, 2001 in New York and Los Angeles theaters where it was audience-favored. The film won international film festival awards and has been honored as the Best Film at the Public Festival du Film in Paris; the Gioffini Film Festival in Italy; the Leon, France International Film Festival, and the Australian People’s Choice Awards, among many other prizes.
A major success in Australia, Amy then became the #1 art house film upon its release in Japan and France, with crossover appeal to family audiences.
Amy has proven to be a breakthrough film for its creators, director Nadia Tass and her husband and partner, David Parker, who wrote the screenplay and is also the cinematographer. Tass and Parker are the producers of the Cascade Films Production.
Tass was subsequently signed by Disney to direct a remake of The Miracle Worker for television, which was shown during November sweeps on The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC in 2000. She also directed the television film Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story, and two American Girl films, Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, and Samantha: An American Girl Holiday. Tass most recently finished directing the Australian film Matching Jack, due out in 2010.
David Parker had the inspiration for Amy while watching a production of Man of La Mancha. "As I watched the play," he recalled, "I had the thought…what if you could only communicate through song? This has been a form of entertainment for centuries; what if that was real life?"
Parker wrote the script; the story of a little girl named Amy who, traumatized by the death of her father, can no longer speak nor hear. But when Amy is exposed to song by a songwriting neighbor (Ben Mendelsohn), she begins to express herself by singing. This magical story, while firmly anchored in naturalism, takes on a fairy tale-like quality, thus combining three very different genres, explains director Tass. "It’s a musical, it’s a comedy, it’s a profoundly moving drama."
Casting the key role of Amy was a crucial tashttp://www.amythemovie.com:2082/frontend/x3/filemanager/editit.html?file=about.html&fileop=&dir=%2Fhome%2Famymovie%2Fpublic_html&dirop=&charset=&file_charset=windows-1252&baseurl=&basedir=&codeedit=1k, one that took the director to the U.S., U.K, New Zealand and throughout Australia in search of a young performer who could sing beautifully, act, and handle the rigors of the demanding leading role. The search took Tass to schools, talent agencies and shows, and finally culminated at a small school in Sydney, Australia where Alana De Roma, the granddaughter of Italian immigrants, auditioned for the role. Little Alana sang for Tass. The search was over. Alana had never acted before, but she was perfect for the role of Amy. "Never have I seen such talent in someone so young," says Tass. "One minute she’d be playing with one of the crew members, the next she could be sobbing on screen. Everyone on the film was totally mesmerized by her."
When the script was presented to Rachel Griffiths, she immediately accepted the role of Tanya, Amy’s mother. "I was so moved by the deep, profound bond between mother and daughter in David’s script," Griffiths noted. "He writes so beautifully for women. And Nadia is a real actors’ director. She relies on actors to tell the story and does so much through them."
"This is a real family film with a lot of emotion and a lot of heart," Parker observed. "That’s why it’s been finding so much success with different audiences all over the world, because its themes are universal – the power of love, the magical joy of music, and the longing for a sense of community."
"At the end of the film," Tass comments, "Amy’s melodies have brought harmony to family, friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers; she’s brought all the characters together. And that’s what the film does – it brings audiences together."