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Friday, February 24, 2006

Flyabout to Premiere at SXSW Film Festival


After 13 years of traveling to Austin, Texas to work on other directors films Monika Petrillo has come to Austin to premiere her own film, a personal documentary about fulfilling her lifelong dream of flying around the continent of Australia.

As script supervisor for directors Rick Linklater and Robert Rodriguez on such films as The Newton Boys, Spy Kids 2, Sin City and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, Petrillo has spent many months entrenched in the Austin film community and is excited to have her film premiere in the city she could call her second home.

"I fell in love with Austin the first time I came here," the first-time director says. "It has a great film community where filmmakers still make the movies they want to, as opposed to LA where filmmakers so often serve the studio system instead of vice versa. I am totally happy and honored to have the premiere of Flyabout here. It's what I always dreamt of."

Flyabout tells the autobiographical story of her journey piloting a small single-engine airplane around the continent of Australia. Her father, a pilot with limited experience himself, is riding shotgun. As the only women pilot in a group of eleven people, Petrillo sets out to experience the true freedom of flight above one of the most untouched places on earth.

The idea of the Walkabout, a spiritual journey Aborigines have valued for thousands of years, further inspires her to seek an elusive spiritual experience herself. However, a tight schedule, mechanical failures, sudden loss of visibility and unpredictable crosswinds keep her both too busy and too uptight. But what impacts her most is the unexpected conflict that arises between her father and herself.

Elizabeth Avellan of Troublemaker Studios, an early fan of the film, says: "The doc has wonderful messages in it. It is very empowering and insightful."

Monika Petrillo single-handedly shot, wrote, edited and produced the film on and off over the last seven years. Returning from Australia with only 25 hours of footage and working on an outdated editing system, she is proud and happy to be finished: "The movie really represents who I am and how I feel about life: You have only one chance. Take it."

Flyabout will premiere as part of the SXSW Film Festival at the Dobie Theater, Austin on March 18th at 1:45 pm