A common assumption of someone raised in a small town is that they often choose to live a small life, but this is not the case for Balingup-raised Sophia Armstrong who is in the thick of establishing a sought-after portfolio in the Australian Film industry.
Sophia graduated from Bunbury’s Manea Senior College in 2014 with her eyes firmly set on a career in film, and has ramped up her ambition to succeed in the competitive industry in recent years by spearheading a number of projects across Western Australia.
Nestled in the South West region for most of her life, Sophia’s small-town background has been no barrier and has instead acted as an inspiration-driving tool for her numerous film endeavours.
Now CinefestOZ’s short film coordinator, Ms Armstong began her journey at Curtin University with a Bachelor of film before moving into a Master of Screen course at the WA Screen Academy in 2019 where she specialised in directing and producing.
She also recently co-produced the Screenwest funded short film Toolywith RUSH Films founder Cody Greenwood, worked as a Crowd Assistant Director on It Only Takes a Night, and is in development producing for a web series called Out of Here.
Sophia was even a CinefestOZ Cinesnaps Short Film Competition winner for her film Kinetic Happinessin 2014 before taking on an intern role with the not-for-profit.
Sophia said growing up in a regional town had helped her succeed in film.
“It taught me how to be resourceful with what you have which is essentially how we work in this industry,” she said.
“It also gave me great tools in how to work with a range of people, personality types and ages because you get to know such a broad spectrum of people really well growing up in such a small town.”
“Being from the country has been incredible for my career and pathway in life. I feel like it just sets a solid foundation to learn, grow and most importantly, adapt,” she said.
CinefestOZ is proud to announce this much-loved film will be included in its full film program next month to be screened at Grand Cinemas Bunbury on Saturday, August 28.
Created by a talented team of WA filmmakers, Homespun had its World Premiere at CinefestOZ Albany earlier this year and aims to shines a light on the authentic lives and relationships in rural communities.
The production, spearheaded by Kojonup producer, actor and writer Bec Bignell, and directed by Socratis Otto, follows two friends who stage a variety show in a shed as they shine a spotlight on stories from the country.
Sophia said despite challenges in the production process, she cherished her time working on the film.
“It was insane, fast-paced, hot, long and complex, but it was one of the most magical experiences I have ever had,” she said.
“Seeing the people, community, landscape and ideas come to life on screen is something myself and this community will cherish forever.”
She said an unexpected heatwave that tracked through the region when production was in full swing put the team to the test, but the dynamic crew was able to band together.
“It was such a wonderful experience getting to see a project out to the final delivery point,” she said.
“Working with Bec Bignell has not only been an incredible learning process for me to work alongside a creative producer, but also the most fun and enjoyable experience,” she said.
“I am just so incredibly proud to have been along for this journey, but most importantly to be able to help regional people see themselves on screen in an authentic, fun and organic way.”
An In Conversation lunch with the film team at Waters Edge Café and Restaurant in Bunbury will follow the screening of Homespun, enabling film buffs to hear the inspiring stories, struggles and triumphs of how the WA production was brought to life.
Tickets to CinefestOZ’s Bunbury screening of Homespun on August 28 and the In Conversation Lunch can be purchased online here.
Tickets to the Busselton screening of Homespun on August 27 can be found here.
CinefestOZ thanks Presenting Partner Tourism WA, Premium Partners Screenwestand City of Busseltonand Community Partner Rio Tinto. The festival acknowledges its strong support from Lotterywestand Screen Australia.