Opening 24 Oct 2019
Aina Järvine, Federico Milella
Writing credits: Pamela Hickey, Jeffrey Hylton, Dennys McCoy, Joe Vitale, Vanessa Walder
Principal actors: Rebecca Becker, Kathryn Cahill, Franciska Friede, Vibe Jones, Michael Kargus
Surah and her twin sister Sera live in Bayala, the land of the Sun fairies. Surah had a sad childhood, because she was kidnapped as a baby by Queen Ophira and taken to the land of the Shadow fairies, where she grew up with Ophira’s daughter, Nuray. At age 11 Surah managed to escape and return to her family in Bayala. She lacks some of the abilities of a Sun fairy and has some of the traits of a Shadow fairy. The Sun fairies depended on the dragons for their well-being; they always cared for the dragon eggs until new babies hatched. But then Ophira stole all of the dragon eggs and now Bayala is fading away. Another Sun fairy, Marween, finds one abandoned dragon egg, which could save the situation. The baby dragon Nurgur is born and they must bring him to his parents before Ophira appears.
This animated story features the sun and the shadow sides of life, treks to the fairy mountains, giant flowers which wilt when the dragons disappear, and a ship wreck. There is Princess Eyela, the older sister of Surah and Sera who will be crowned queen in a special ceremony. Other characters are Jaro a Shadow fairy, Piuh the raccoon, Bilara, the teacher of magic, wild ravens led by Runyn, an amusing parrot, etc. This animated film, recommended for 5-11-year-olds and their families, features strong girls accompanied by some boys and teaches friendship, acceptance and belonging. It strongly reminded me of the Netflix series Mia and Me. Both feature animated fairies solving problems, an evil female ruler, as well as a fairy in line to the throne. In Mia and Me the unicorns must be protected; in Bayala it’s the dragons. Directors Järvine and Milella are already working on a sequel to Bayala. (Becky Tan)