Sneezing the day
IT IS the sneeze that continues to be seen around the world and now one of Youtube's biggest sensations is about to hit the big screen for two Noosa film producers.
Lake Macdonald-based Jenny Walsh and Lesley Hammond will attend the world premiere of Sneezing Baby Panda - The Movie, tomorrow in Sydney.
Their labour of love has landed an "all rights" North America deal, and after this weekend's debut at the Big Picture Film festival, they head to the Cannes Film Festival in May to introduce "our panda" to European audiences
They wrote, produced and directed the "mockumentary" film inspired by a moment captured while filming a wildlife documentary on pandas in China more than 14 years ago.
"We've been making films in China for about 20 years - it was about 1999 and we were actually doing a program on panda breeding," Jenny said.
"There was this mother in this raggedy old cell (at a breeding centre) sitting there in front of a six-week old baby. And the mother was stuffing her face and then there was one of those magic moments. We said to the cameraman 'you are rolling aren't you? And he said yes'."
Jenny said their program was shown in Japan in 2006 and someone illegally pirated the sneeze scene and posted it to Youtube where it went "completely" viral. She said the sneezing baby panda was the most popular animal on the internet with more than half a billion hits worldwide.
"It's still going. We're still getting like 80 to 100,000 hits a night - it's amazing," she said.
Jenny said other people were using this footage as well, and they were getting thoroughly browned off.
"Justin Beiber wanted to use it in (his music video) Never Say Never - and we gave him permission which he paid us for, but we didn't want to do too much," she said.
"It was in the Drew Barrymore film Going the Distance and 30 Rock used it. So we thought we'd put together this movie and it's really turned out extremely well."
The live action feature film is an Australia/China co-production.
"It's actually going big time in China - it's going to be released in either June/July and they're throwing half a million bucks at the advertising of it," Jenny said.