Theatre Alumni Collaborate to Create Film Adaptation of Short Play

September 2, 2018

What the Sparrow Said, a short play developed by alumnus Danny Rocco ‘12 in Professor and Directing Concentration Head Anne Bogart’s Collaboration Class in 2010 will be made into a short film this fall. Theatre alumni Shannon Fillion '12, Matt Hurley '12, and Blaze Mancillas '12—who Rocco first met and collaborated with in Bogart’s class—as well as alumni Anson Mount '98 are all part of the creative team of the film version of What the Sparrow Said.


What the Sparrow Said follows “two brothers who meet up after several years apart. Like many siblings, time has diverged them and made them into two wholly different adults. Over the course of a meal we see how they deal with grief, life and growing up...with some big surprises along the way.” What the Sparrow Said was first staged in off-off Broadway festivals and internationally. Rocco and his team successfully raised $36,740 in 30 days in order to make the play a film. The team will begin shooting in NY this fall.


Alumnus Danny Rocco '12, who specialized in Playwriting at Columbia, wrote the screenplay and will produce the film version. Currently, he is an executive producer at Brontosaurus Haircut Productions and co-creator of the Score Technique of playwriting.


Anson Mount '98, who graduated with an MFA in Acting, will serve as executive producer. His screen credits include NBC’s Conviction, AMC’s Hell on Wheels, Marvel’s Inhumans, and the film, Tully.


Shannon Fillion '12, who graduated with a concentration in Directing at Columbia, will help produce the film. According to her bio, Fillion has “developed new work and created new interpretations of classics in collaboration with companies and playwrights in NYC and Chicago” over the past decade. She is an executive producer at Brontosaurus Haircut Productions and, along with colleague Danny Rocco, is the co-creator of the Score Technique.

Acting alumni Matt Hurley '12 and Blaze Mancillas '12 will star in the film. Hurley has acted in stage productions with Classic Stage Co., La MaMa, Signature Theatre, among many others. Mancillas, in addition to acting, is a comedian who performs stand-up comedy in New York, and is the host and creator of the comedy podcast, Social Abstinence with Blaze Mancillas.