Home Up Book Reviews Story Synopsis


True Believers

Story Synopsis

A film of journey and self-discovery


Eight year old Sarah, who likes new things and believes in magic, is woken by her angel, Firefly, who suggests they play a game in which they don’t do anything they normally do. Sarah convinces her father, Sax, a frustrated saxophone player and creature of habit, to go along with this. They leave home and meet a brightly dressed pavement artist, Zoe. She invites Sax to play, while she draws and Sarah dances. They split the hat and Zoe invites them to her exhibition the next day.

They stay in a hotel on Bondi and meet the director of the Auckland Festival, Adam, while making a sandcastle on the beach. Adam is an amateur magician who meditates. He invites them to do a sand sculpture at the Festival, if his boss, Councilor Thomas, can be persuaded. Sax and Zoe fall in love while attending a yoga workshop but she has a fear of commitment and wants to keep the friendship platonic, inviting Sax and Sarah instead to do a sand sculpture with her at the Adelaide Fringe. Warning her father against girlfriends, Sarah agrees to go and they set off in Zoe’s combi van across the changing desert landscape.

In the second act they arrive at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. They stay in the combi van and their transient art form is appreciated but provides little income in the hat. Sax and Zoe grow closer however and consummate their relationship. They meet Adam again, who does some close-up magic for Sarah and offers them flights and a hotel in Auckland if they create a sand sculpture in Aotea Square. Zoe is convinced to do it for a limited period.  However their work at the Auckland Festival struggles initially to get recognition and they battle Councilor Thomas, who questions the cost and cultural value of the art and inclement weather, which washes away the sculpture. Sarah and Zoe see the damaged sculpture as an opportunity to do something new, however Councilor Thomas is outraged when they refashion the sculpture in his likeness. 

Adam is fired, but there is a surge in public recognition and community involvement with the festival through the publicity. Adam becomes their manager, Sarah and Zoe’s relationship strengthens and Firefly appears less and less. The festival asks them to extend the season, but Sax and Zoe refuse, explaining that the value of the art is in its transience. Sarah wants the family to stay together however and through Firefly’s disappearance convinces them to do a community outreach program.

In the final act they create a sand mandala in a shopping centre, which changes the space and transforms the shoppers into a community, with people taking time to pause, look at the art and chat with one another. Again they battle ignorance in the form of careless cleaners and the shopping centre owner who is revealed to be Councilor Thomas. This builds to a climax when he tries to have them evicted and Adam must perform real magic to resolve the confrontation. Pressure from shopkeepers and the media however makes Thomas back down and see the value of their work to his business. In the resolution they run over the sand at Piha and climb Lion Rock, a ‘magic mountain’, where Sarah must put her belief into practice to get past a dangerous slip and, at the top, Sax and Zoe cement their relationship.


On this site you can find information on the auditions for the roles in this movie and an overview of True Believers.

On this site you can also check out the production credits and production photos for Butterfly Crush, find more information on the cast, the development process and the production, find an outline of the story plus stills, and view podcasts.


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last updated 01 December 2011

Home Up Book Reviews Story Synopsis