Big and Little Films


Big and Little Films
PO Box 1271
St Kilda South Vic 3182
p. 03 9527 8299
f. 03 9527 8266


Big and Little Films is a dynamic and diverse film and television production company, based in Melbourne, Australia. It is a subsidiary of Matchbox Pictures

This was its official website, created to promote their TV dramas, documentaries and films.
Content is from the site's 2007 -2010 archived pages and other review sources.

And then in 2010 this notice appeared on the website:
Thank you for visiting the Big and Little Films website. As of January 1, 2010, all of Big and Little Films' production operations will be carried out by it’s parent company, Matchbox Pictures. Please visit the Matchbox Pictures website for details:



At Big and Little Films, we believe:
• That there are many audiences, and all of them deserve to be respected.
• That years of process is as important as minutes of product.
• That making something should be an act of generosity.
• That filmmakers create culture as well as entertainment but culture is only transmitted when it is seen.
• That in a world of scarcity, a film has to be worth the resources it takes to make it.
• That greed is the enemy.
• That you should only work with people you would want to have dinner with.



About Us

Michael McMahon and Tony Ayres have positioned Big and Little Films Pty Ltd as one of Australia’s most exciting independent production companies working in feature films, documentary and television drama. Between them, they have written, directed and produced films which have won prestigious awards both in Australia and internationally. Along the way, the company has forged strong working relationships with many of the key players in the Australian and International film and television industries.

The strength of Big and Little Films is that the company is a genuine and committed creative partnership between a writer/script editor/director and a lawyer/producer. This complementary range of skills gives the company the capacity to generate attractive ideas, develop these ideas into high quality scripts and place these projects into diverse sectors of the market.

In 2008, the company continues to develop and finance its ambitious slate of feature films, documentaries and television projects for the Australian and International markets, working with some of Australia’s most talented writers and directors.

In 2008 Big and Little Films joined forces with Chapman Pictures, Panckhurst Productions and Cicada Films to form Matchbox Pictures, an umbrella rights, management and sales company. Follow us on Twitter

We also run an on-site editing facility, Un-Cut Pictures Pty Ltd.







The Home Song Stories" script wins NSW Premier's Literary Awards

Big and Little Films is proud to announce that The Home Song Stories, the feature film written and directed by Tony Ayres and scheduled for nationwide theatrical release on August 23rd, has won the Script Award at the 2007 N.S.W. Premier's Literary Awards.

When asked to comment on the script, the judges had this to say:

"This tale of resettlement and dislocation in a strange land is based on the story of the writer's mother, a beautiful, seductive, and ultimately desperate cabaret singer from Hong Kong who follows an Australian sailor to Australia with two young children in tow, hoping to build a better life.

As Young Tom and Young May are dragged from one 'uncle' to another, Young Tom retreats into both fantasy and obsessive study until the unimaginable happens. This tale is ultimately the story of Adult Tom, who must revisit the past in order to explain it to himself, and perhaps to forgive himself and grow beyond it. Tony Ayres' unblinking and unsentimental honesty is scarifying. The anger and emotional distance he felt as a young boy towards his mother and the tragic events that unfold are a reminder that truth is much more unbearable, and certainly much stranger, than fiction. This rare insider view of the Chinese community in Australia in the 1960s is brave, cinematic, and ultimately very moving. And as a story of the struggle of immigration and resettlement, it is universal."
Tony Ayres accepts the award from N.S.W. Minister for the Arts Frank Sartor at the ceremony on the 29th of May 2007



Saved web

Accolades for 'Saved'

Writer Belinda Chayko and Director Tony Ayres have both been recognised for their superb contributions to Big and Little Films' recent telemove Saved, which screened on SBS earlier in the year.

The story of a married woman who saves a young Iranian refugee from detention, only to fall passionately in love with him.

Julia Weston, an attractive married woman in her mid thirties, becomes the advocate for a young Iranian refugee held in detention. Amir Ali claims to be an Iranian student persecuted by the government but the Department of Immigration dispute his identity. When Julia meets Amir, he is severely depressed and close to deportation. Julia throws herself obsessively into Amir’s case, causing friction between Julia and her husband, Peter. Julia eventually frees Amir and the young Iranian man moves in with Peter and Julia. As Julia helps Amir adjust to ordinary life, she finds herself increasingly attracted to this handsome, damaged young man. But she also starts to see the subtle cracks in Amir’s story. Is he really who he claims he is? Or does he have a darker, more dangerous history?

Belinda has been awarded the 2009 Australian Writer's Guild Award for Best Writing in an Original Telemovie, while Tony was awarded the 2009 Australian Director's Guild Award for Best Achievement in Directing for Telemovie. We send our congratulations to both of them. Their most recent collaboration, Lou, is a feature film which Belinda has written and directed and Tony has produced alongside Michael McMahon and Helen Bowden. Lou is currently in post production, and more information can be found here.


The Bogans and Brenda Hean

Watch BOGAN PRIDE, Monday nights at 9.00 pm on SBS
If you like the show, you'll love The Bogan Diaries - a week by week, blow by blow insight into the making of Bogan Pride, and our hilarious “Behind the scenes” documentary where Rebel discovers exactly what the rest of the cast think of her...

And our environmental murder mystery documentary, Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean? has been released nationally, with screenings in Hobart, Melbourne, Castlemaine, Canberra and Launceston in the coming weeks.




Drama | 90 mins | HD | IN PRODUCTION

Rejected by her father, a young girl finds love through a dangerous game with her Alzheimic grandfather.

Just as suddenly as Lou’s father walked out of her life, her grandfather tangos in – bringing chaos to the council house Lou shares with her mother and sisters. Doyle, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, confuses 11-year-old Lou with his former wife. Lou plays along, using Doyle to gain power over her mother. But instead of power, Lou finds love.

Writer/Director Belinda Chayko
Producers Michael McMahon, Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden
Script Editor Tony Ayres
Cast John Hurt, Emily Barclay

Genre Drama
Target Audience Age 25+, Arthouse
Status Shoot early 2009; deliver late 2009
Finance Development - Australian Film Commission, NSW Film and Television Office
Production - Screen Australia, NSW Film and Television Office, Film Victoria, South Australian Film Commission, Matchbox Pictures
Sales and Distribution International Sales - Bankside Films, Australian distribution - Kojo Pictures



Sandra J USA

Lou can now be seen on Netflix. I just caught it recently when I was looking for films that had John Hurt in them. With his recent death I was feeling a bit nostalgic. When Lou popped up in the list, I decided to try it. It was not a film I was familiar with. I go old school when watching movies at home. I made pop corn, poured a glass of lemonade and put on my new progressive round eyeglasses that I had picked up at the optometrist earlier in the day. I mention the new glasses because they made such a huge difference seeing at a distance. I hadn't realized how compromised I was. I really appreciated the cinematography having lived in Australia for a number of years. There were parts in the film that were charming, nuanced and internal. John Hurt, as usual was amazing, but Lilly Bell-Tindlay really was exceptional. I have a grandparent with alzheimer's so the story emotionally touched a bit closer than usual.



Sweet but not sugary
Author: brimon28 from Canberra, Australia
19 June 2010

This is one very 'different' film. The pre-publicity prepares one for a tough hour-and-a-bit. It starts slow, and one wonders whether the story can be told in the short time left. We have a family, short of a dad, living on the border of Queensland and New South Wales. It's sugarcane country, backed by Mount Warning, the conspicuous mountain named by James Cook in 1770. The family is poor economically, but strong in spirit. We are introduced to the three girls, eldest 12, early in a line-up. This line-up is repeated from time to time and at the finish of the film. The girls are obedient, which makes them, perhaps, less than normal. But mother preserves the family's functionality with discipline against great odds. The odds seem greatest when the family is stuck with the grandfather, suffering with Alzheimers. It is obvious that Lou, the eldest girl, is to be the leader in the drama, and Doyle, the declining elder, is her foil. Does this work? Well, there's an old stage rule: never appear with children or dogs. The children win hands down with the mother appearing to be helpless. Doyle finishes up happy, and Lou, resilient in her youth, recovers from her disappointment. The cinematography is lovely, with rock-steady camera work, but not relying too heavily on the magnificent landscape of the Tweed Valley. Yes, a filmmaker can tell a story in under an hour-and-a-half!


Thought-provoking Aussie charmer
Author: greguki from Australia
17 June 2010


This is an Australian film of great depth. The simplicity can be deceptive but like all great writing the trick is to say enough without saying too much. The combination of the writing and the acting synergistically magnifies the impact of what could seem to those on a steady diet of blockbusters a slow film. On an obviously tight budget sometimes so much can be delivered. By relying on good acting,writing, direction an impact can be had which exceeds that of the 100 million dollar epic. In digging deeper, director Belinda Chayko calls us as an audience to also give more. This is a giving which is rewarded. after watching the film last night, the questions were still rattling away the next day as I write this. John Hurt really is fabulous as Doyle, while Lilly Bell-Tindlay is in danger of stealing the show. If you like beautiful images, you are in for a treat as the Tweed Valley is shown to it's best advantage. While I know that this will not be the sort of movie for everyone, I do know that it left my life just a bit richer.


Pleasant, small movie about family and relationships.
Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
14 June 2012


*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The revelation within this movie is first-time actress, young Lily Bell Tindley in the title role of Lou (short for Louise). She is a natural and her face captures the camera like few can. Mature for her age she reminded me of American actress Monica Potter, who also reminds me of Julia Roberts. My wife said Lily Bell reminded her of Emma Roberts, who of course is the niece of Julia Roberts. Anyway if she gets a chance to continue with an acting career she can become very successful.

Set in Australia, Lou is the oldest of three daughters, 11 and about to be 12, and her single mom is only 27. We don't get much of a back-story except that their dad left, they don't know him, and they struggle to pay the rent.

As it turns out John Hurt (approaching 70 during filming) as Doyle is the grandfather, in a care facility, because he has early stages of dementia. He needs a place to stay temporarily and he is "placed" in their home. (As an American I don't understand how this works in Australia, but never mind.) While the arrangement is far from ideal, Lou seems to start to become attached to Doyle, more than anything because he is a father (or grandfather) figure she never had.

Things get complicated when Doyle begins to call Lou "Annie", his deceased wife. In fact at one point Doyle regresses to his younger days and actually proposes to "Annie." Lou seems to take him seriously when he says "I love you" and she even fantasizes about them going away.

It is all handled very well, the delicate story of an older man fading from reality and a young girl about to grow into a young woman learning about real life.


Nice Film That Ends Well
Author: brickyardbrad from United States
1 June 2011


I enjoyed this Australian film starring the always-terrific John Hurt. It seemed like a more realistic portrait of a modern family than what you see in a majority of Hollywood films today. Lily Bell-Tindley plays Lou and is definitely a young actress to watch. Wonderful character portrayal and her eyes tell the story. Her intensity and talent reminds me of a current actress like Chloe Grace Moretz. This DVD will be coming to the United States on July 19, 2011 from Monarch Home Entertainment. Although the story takes place in Australian cane country, I believe the family situation is very relatable to American audiences. The subject matter deals with a family member with Alzheimers, but is not a completely depressing journey and ends well. Kudos to John Hurt for another fine performance. I recommend this film.


Nice snapshot of a step towards growing up.
Author: (BRCanberra) from Australia
20 June 2010


*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think the film had a reasonably balanced set of messages with enough curly tidbits to take a few elements away and dissect over a coffee or two with friends. I found the portrayal of a struggling family group seemed very plausible and I especially loved the imagery and memories of a coastal sugar-cane town captured for the backdrop. In a couple of the scenes I'm not entirely convinced by Ms Barclay's performance as Lou's mother, but the rather poignant scene of the 4 "young" girls together on the beach towards the ending gels with one of the aspects that all of them (including Rhia) are still growing up together. Some nicely placed humour underpins parts of the character development and overall it seems a good plate of mind-food with hooks for many embattled parents. I agree with another reviewer that John Hurt's performance was great, he didn't overdo the illness symptoms to make Doyle too cheesy to be believed, and the audience at my session delighted in many of the childhood antics portrayed by the younger actors. Definitely good work by Lily-Bell Tindley as the memorable Lou.
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Touching Drama From Down Under
Author: Rich Wright
21 November 2013


Getting the portrayal of an Alzheimer's disease sufferer on screen is very difficult, as the disease can manifest itself in so many ways and the writer could be accused of milking it for comedic value if they're not careful. Some of John Hurt's antics in Lou sometimes verge on the edge of this territory, but thanks to his skill as an actor we are able to be convinced his unseemly outbursts are part of his condition, so the issue of insensitivity never arises. His ultimate triumph is getting ME to like him, as when he was foisted on this single mother of three children at the start just before Christmas (he's her estranged husband's father) and given the eldest daughter Lou's bedroom, my reaction was more or less the same as Lou's... NOT FAIR and GET RID OF HIM.

But, through a combination of his idiosyncratic behaviour and his seafaring stories, he is able to win her (and me) over, although the relationship becomes slightly worrying when he mistakes this 11 year old for his long-gone WIFE, and proposes to her. Fortunately, Lou takes it all in good grace and even wears the ring he gives her, but (understandably) her mum is slightly worries at this turn of events and forces her child to 'break it off'. This sparks a violent outburst from the afflicted old man, and an even deeper wedge being driven between mother and daughter. Lou decides to do a runner with her grandpa, but looking after a dementia sufferer on the road is harder than you think...

Alternating between humour and pathos, it features great performances from everyone, especially the very prettily named Lily Bell Tindley as the toughest pre-teen you'll ever likely to meet (Though in this kind of family, that trait is probably a necessity). As mentioned, John Hurt is completely disarming as the completely random but good-hearted pensioner, and his friendship with Lily's character forms the crux of the story. Reality has to set in eventually though, and when it is eventually time to say goodbye, we feel the people in the film have learned something, and we at home have too. Edutainment indeed... 7/10



» Feature

    Frankenstein *
   You're My World *
   The Home Song Stories
   Lou *
   The Actresses *
   Geography *
   The Carrier *

» Documentary

    War Crime Trials *
   Two Men and Two Babies
   Whatever Happened To Brenda Hean?
   The Next Nicole *
   6 Days in a Leaky Boat *
   Pretending *

» Television

    Parole *
   Bogan Pride
   Semi-Detached *

» Archive

   Call Me Mum
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   Thomson of Arnhem Land
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   Double Trouble
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* in development