Born in a shack in Georgia in 1942, Mary Sue Duncan was the child of a poor white mother and her charismatic black neighbor who could “talk the fuzz off a peach.” In her mother’s white Southern household,the little curly-haired girl was silent, ignored, invisible. Rejected by her mother and unable to read or write, Mary Sue began to wander off into the woods. With no one to watch over her, she navigated logs across dangerous creeks while cottonmouth rattlers snaked on the surface below. She designed a forest “home” where she “cooked” and cared for the stick dolls she made. She was a woods child. And the woods were the mother who comforted her every time after her brother-in-law abused her in abandoned cabins.


When Mary Sue was ten, a stranger came to take her away. She faced a future that would challenge the resourcefulness that she had learned in the forest. A future that unfolded in a most surprising way and brought her the love and belonging that she thought was only a dream.


Long before I started writing this film, I heard through friends that Mary Sue Duncan’s mother gave her away when she was ten. When Mary Sue asked if I would write her life story, I soon learned that this is a beautiful survival tale like no other.


Filming of "Flight of the Sparrow" will begin in 2018 in Los Angeles and Upland, CA. Release of this movie short is expected in 2019.


Anyone who has ever felt left out or silenced will know that this story speaks to them and promises the possibility of love. This film is born out of people’s curiosity about Mary Sue’s story, which asks, “Can a person live without love?” If you would like to receive movie production updates, please join our email group and follow us on facebook and youtube.


Screenwriter Anitra Carol Smith

© 2018 Flight of the Sparrow

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