Billie Vee stars in her self-penned film ‘Sparrow’s Call’, premiering at the London Independent Film Festival

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Greek-British actress Billie Vee has written – and stars in – the psychological thriller ‘Sparrow’s Call’, which is showing at London’s Genesis Cinema on Sunday 21st April. Billie is thrilled that the film, which is directed by Tim Kent, has been officially selected for the London Independent Film Festival as it explores the challenges of being a migrant in this country, a topic that’s close to her heart. Here she talks about growing up in the birthplace of theatre, why she loves writing, and filming her movie during the Covid lockdown. 

How did you get started as an actress?

“I was born in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of theatre, and I couldn’t even remotely imagine that years later I would be making films in London. From a very young age I remember being in awe of actors on stage. However it was when my parents took me to the cinema for the first time that I felt completely mesmerised. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an actor and that my biggest dream was to star in an English-language feature film.” 

Where did you train?

“I trained at the Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun and I received my degree in theatre studies from the University of Athens. After graduating, I started working and gaining experience that spanned from TV and film roles and TV presenting to performing on stage, including the ancient open theatre Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Wanting to expand my artistic horizons and learn how to act in English, I moved to London, where I immersed myself into a journey of continuous self-improvement and development of my craft.” 

You wrote the screenplay for ‘Sparrow’s Call’ – how did that come about?

“While continuing my career as an actor in London, I felt the urge to pursue my childhood dream of starring in a feature film. That’s how writing came to my life and I started creating my own work. ‘Sparrow’s Call’ (directed by Tim Kent and produced by Alessio Bergamo) is my first feature film as a writer, after having scripted several award-winning short films and a web series.

When I write something, it comes from inside me, as a need to express something deeper and then it transforms into a work of fiction to entertain an audience, and make them think and feel.”

Photo credit: Ryan O’Donoghue

Where did you get the inspiration for ‘Sparrow’s Call’?

“‘Sparrow’s Call’ is inspired by my personal journey as a generic migrant in London. Being a foreign actor, I was constantly labelled as ‘Greek’ or ‘exotic”, so I took those labels and moulded them into a fictitious character, Val. The only thing that happened for real and that’s depicted in the film is an incident with a sparrow that took place when I was a child in my father’s village. That’s how I came up with the title of the film.”

What’s the plot of the film?

‘Sparrow’s Call’ follows the story of Mike, a successful philosophy lecturer and a family man who is captivated by Val, an exotic dancer, after saving her from danger. When they throw themselves into a rollercoaster of physical and intellectual connection, Mike fears his whole world is about to fall apart and must face the consequences of his affair.I play Val, who’s a migrant from Greece, but her nationality remains obscure throughout the film. She comes from a low socio-economic background, working in the sex industry as an exotic dancer. She is hardened by life and wants to escape from her environment. She lives with her grandmother who is severely paralysed, but whose mind works perfectly well. By a twist of fate, Val meets Mike and falls in love with him, but also sees him as an opportunity to get out of what seems to be a hopeless situation.” 

What was it like working on the film set?

“Working on the set of ‘Sparrow’s Call’ was an absolute blast from start to finish. I had the chance to play opposite David Bark-Jones, who brilliantly portrays the character of Mike, and also to work with the wonderful Valerie Colgan, who plays my grandma. All the cast and crew were truly committed to the project, the environment felt safe and the whole set was oozing positive energy, something that was much-needed considering the fact that we were filming during the Covid lockdown.” 

Where can we see the film?

“‘Sparrow’s Call has been officially selected for the London Independent Film Festival and will be premiering on 21 April at the Genesis Cinema. It’s highly recommended for those who love twisted psychological thrillers with an existential touch and subtle social commentary.”

Photo credit: Ryan O’Donoghue