Photoplay and artists Leila Jeffreys and Melvin J. Montalban create NEST for VIVID Sydney

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Photoplay and artists Leila Jeffreys and Melvin J. Montalban create NEST for VIVID Sydney

The monumental, immersive cinematic installation NEST has opened at Barangaroo Headland as part of VIVID Sydney 2024, from Australian artists Leila Jeffreys and Melvin J. Montalban, produced by Photoplay.


NEST is a meditative 3-channel film projected around an immersive circular installation, on a semi-opaque projection surface creating a glowing ribbon of light and movement. The cinematic work celebrates the ritualistic courtship dance of the native Australian crane, the Brolga, courtesy of bird trainers and conservationists Feathered Friends Bird Sanctuary. The slow-motion imagery, captured by Phantom cinematographer Chris Bryan, partners with the evocative cello score by composer Jackson Milas.

NEST represents the artists’ fourth public art collaboration, and a continuation of their broader practice to create spaces for mindful reflection on our connection to nature.

Jeffreys and Montalban’s previous installation TEMPLE, initially commissioned for VIVID Sydney 2022, is currently exhibiting at the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.

Says Photoplay film director and artist Melvin J. Montalban: “Sitting on dock in Manly over five years ago, Leila and I began dreaming up large-scale public art installations. We connected over our love of nature and wildlife, over how we can be better stewards for our shared home, and NEST became our very first concept. And now, with the unwavering support of VIVID Sydney, our collaborators and our crew, we are thrilled to see it come to life in such a monumental way.”

NEST is open for the entire festival until June 15, found at Stargazer Lawn at the top of Barangaroo Headland.

See VIVID website listing here:

Photograph by Wes Nel.

Artists: Melvin J. Montalban x Leila Jeffreys
Commissioned by: VIVID Sydney & Destination NSW
Creative Director: Gill Minervini

Produced by: Photoplay Films
Producers: Emma Thompson & Florence Tourbier
Production Manager: Alana Cenatiempo
Cinematographer: Chris Bryant
Composer: Jackson Milas
Bird Trainers: Featured Friends Bird Sanctuary
Bonsai Artist: Tree Makers Design

Gaffer: Tommy Keyes
Grip: David Litchfield
Camera Assistant: Chris Barbeitos
Props & SFX: Quentin Tetz

Editor: Melvin J. Montalban
Colourist & Online Editor: Matt Campbell

Sound Post: Sonar Music
Sound Post Producer: Haylee Poppi
Cellist: Rowena Macneish
Sound Engineer: Josh Dives
Sound Design: Andy Stewart

Projection & Sound: Technical Direction Company
Engineering & Rigging: Tripoint Rigging
BTS Video & Photography: Wes Nel