FILM director Glendyn Ivin is counting his blessings.
The former Tamworth man has a new film coming out on January 21, and was lucky enough to direct it without having to deal with the fallout of COVID-19.
Penguin Bloom is based on the true story of the Bloom family, and the book of the same name is written by Bradley Trevor Greive.
Naomi Watts stars as Sam Bloom, who became paralysed after a fall from a balcony while on a family holiday in Thailand.
Sam and her family find hope and solace in an injured magpie chick, who is affectionately named 'Penguin'.
"Little does the family know what an impact the bird will have on their family," Mr Ivin said.
"It's a very simple but beautiful story.
"It's very interesting how people form relationships with animals and the joy they bring to families and individuals."
Ivin said the film was shot in 2019, "in those crazy days where you could fly between states and overseas".
"We did so much travel. At the time, you take it for granted," he told the Leader.
"We shot the film in Sydney, a component we shot in Thailand, and we had to go to New York."
The director laughed and said the team called the movie 'Penguin Zoom' for a while, when COVID hit during the editing stage.
"We were lucky to finish it over the lockdown in Sydney," he explained.
Some of the film is even set in the real-life Bloom family home on the Northern Beaches in Sydney.
"We scouted a lot of different locations but the moment I saw the Bloom's house I knew it was the right location to shoot the story in," Ivin said.
"Getting involved in a story like this, particularly when it's based on a true story and real people, it is a process to get to know people you're going to be connected to for a very long time."
Unfortunately, he won't be able to attend the film's premiere in Sydney, as he lives in Victoria.
"There's that sense of completion that a premiere brings," he said.
"When we were in strict lockdown for Melbourne I did quarantine in a hotel room, I've done quarantines, I've had to get permits to drive across town in Melbourne.
"The film industry has been impacted in Melbourne."
The director does have other projects in development, and he'll be starting on a new project this year, but he's keeping the news under wraps at the moment.
Other works by Ivin include the film Gallipoli, thriller series The Cry, and TV series Puberty Blues.
Penguin Bloom will hit cinemas on January 21, including Forum 6 Cinemas in Tamworth.