SQ News

In Conversation with Sarah Spillane – Director, True Spirit

Wednesday 22 September 2021, 2:30pm AEST

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Join in this free online Q&A with Sarah Spillane, Director of the Netflix feature film True Spirit, filming on the Gold Coast.

True Spirit recounts the true story of Queenslander Jessica Watson, who in 2009 at age 16, became the youngest ever person to sail solo around the world. The production was attracted into Queensland by the Queensland Government via Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy, and is estimated to have injected $8 million into the state economy and created approximately 120 jobs.


Sarah Spillane is a multi-award winning Australian writer and director. Sarah grew up in Sydney, Australia, before relocating to London to work for the BBC, then Los Angeles in 2009.

In 2013, Sarah’s debut feature film, Around the Block (starring Christina Ricci, Hunter Page-Lochard, and Ruby Rose), premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released globally in 2014. Sarah won several awards for Around the Block including an Australian Directors Guild award, and Outstanding Achievement in Direction in 2014.

Sarah currently has two feature films and a movie franchise with Netflix, all of which she is attached as writer and director. The first movie, True Spirit, about Jessica Watson – the youngest girl to sail around the world solo, just finished filming on Australia’s Gold Coast. Her next movie, Shadowland, is the first movie in a franchise based on Meg Cabot’s best selling book series The Mediator.  Sarah has written the script adaptation for the first movie in The Mediator series for Netflix and is slated to begin shooting thefranchise in Vancouver in 2022.

In the TV space, Sarah wrote the pilot and adapted the crime thriller novel The Body Reader, by New York Times best selling author Anne Frasier, into a series, now in development with Lawrence Bender and Kevin Kelly Brown, and with Diane Kruger attached in the lead role. Sarah has a second show with Bender Brown based on Frasier’s Elise Sandberg book series that has recently been optioned by Warner Bros. 

Sarah created the original comic book and television crime drama series Rebel, for Jay Firestone and Prodigy Pictures.  Rebel – has been adapted and published as a graphic novel, currently in its fifth edition.

Sarah started her career in television at the BBC in London, working on documentary, true crime, and dramatic reconstruction shows. Sarah has written and directed several projects for Australia’s National Indigenous Television network and has directed multiple commercials in Australia and the United States.

Sarah is represented by Dani Potter (WME), Larry Becsey (Intellectual Property Group), in the USA, and Dayne Kelly (RGM) in Australia.