Sparrows Dance

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Sparrows Dance
Sparrows Dance Film Poster.jpg
Directed byNoah Buschel
Produced bySamantha Housman
Louisa Runge
Screenplay byNoah Buschel
StarringMarin Ireland
Paul Sparks
CinematographyRyan Samul
Edited byBrett Jutkiewicz
OneZero Productions
Distributed byTribeca Film
Release date
  • August 23, 2013 (2013-08-23) (theatrical)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States

Sparrows Dance is a 2012 American independent romantic drama film written and directed by Noah Buschel and starring Marin Ireland and Paul Sparks. It premiered at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival.


An agoraphobic actress goes about her unchanging daily routine alone in her New York City apartment, until an overflowing toilet forces her to call in a plumber to fix the leak. Her interactions with the chatty, sweet, saxophone-playing plumber lead her to consider changing her repetitive life.[1][2]



The film was initially going to star Martha Plimpton and John Ortiz, but Plimpton left the project when her television show, Raising Hope, was picked up. Ortiz knew Marin Ireland from a theater workshop, and suggested her to Buschel. Ortiz dropped out once he was cast in the HBO show Luck, at which point Sparks was cast.[3]

Buschel intended to make a film with a low budget that wasn't a typical mumblecore film with handheld camerawork and amateur actors.[4] Many scenes play out in long takes,[5] which is a primary reason Buschel cast actors with theater experience.[3] He chose to shoot the film in a 4:3 aspect ratio, keeping Ireland front and center to emphasize her closed-off life.[4][6] The film was shot in nine days[3] and takes place almost entirely in one location, with a number of visual flourishes.[4] "I Love U So" by Cassius plays over the end credits.[4]

Paul Sparks based his performance of Wes, the saxophone playing plumber with stage fright, on comedian Mitch Hedberg, who suffered from stage fright.


The film premiered at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival. It was picked up by Tribeca Film and released on VOD on August 20, 2013, and theatrically on August 23, 2013.[7][8][9]


The film was named Best Narrative Feature at the 2012 Austin Film Festival.[10]

On the film-critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it has a positive rating of 92 percent based on 12 critics, with an average of 7.6/10.[11] IndieWire gave the film an A, calling the lead performances "outstanding" and "pitch-perfect," Buschel's direction "inventive" and the ending "brightly triumphant."[9] The Village Voice called it "a genuine romance between two refreshingly authentic people."[12] The Hollywood Reporter called it a "charmingly quirky love story" with "deeply affecting performances by the two leads."[8]


  1. ^ Jeannette Catsoulis, “A Plumber Lends a Sympathetic Ear,” New York Times, August 22, 2013.
  2. ^ Ronnie Scheib, “Review: ‘Sparrows Dance’,” Variety, October 29, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Stephen Saito, “Interview: Marin Ireland on Taking the Lead in ‘Sparrows Dance’,” The Moveable Fest, August 24, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Drew Taylor, “Interview: ‘Sparrows Dance’ Director Noah Buschel & Star Marin Ireland On Mumblecore, Low Budgets & More,” Indiewire, August 21, 2013.
  5. ^ Robin Migdol, “Sparrows Dance,” Village Voice, August 23, 2013.
  6. ^ Jesse Hassenger, “Sparrows Dance,” The A.V. Club, August 22, 2013.
  7. ^ Kevin Jagernauth, “Exclusive: Trailer For Austin Film Festival Winner ‘Sparrows Dance’,” Indiewire, August 6, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Frank Schleck, “Sparrows Dance: Film Review,” The Hollywood Reporter, August 21, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Drew Taylor, “Hamptons Film Fest Review: ‘Sparrows Dance’ A Simple Story Delivered With Affecting Charm,” Indiewire, October 6, 2012.
  10. ^ Cwelich, Lorraine (August 23, 2013). "Boardwalk Empire's Paul Sparks on Jazz, Scorsese, and 'Sparrows Dance'". Elle. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  11. ^ Sparrows Dance at Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ Robin Migdol, “Sparrows Dance Requires An Open Mind,” Village Voice, August 21, 2013.

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