While the story takes place during a tumultuous period, O'Dowd — who may be best known for his role in "Bridesmaids" — sees it as more of a feel-good film.
"Sometimes these kinds of films about oppressed people can be very dour. Even if it's got a very interesting subject matter, it's lost because the film is too morbid to enjoy. And what I love about this, is we can do that and make it enjoyable," he said.
The film has already won numerous awards from around the world, including 11 AACTA Awards, which are the Australian equivalent of the Oscars — O'Dowd won for best lead actor. When it premiered at Cannes last year, it received a lengthy standing ovation.
"The Sapphires" was co-written by Tony Briggs, whose mother Laurel Robertson was an original Sapphires member. It is currently playing in U.S. theaters.
John Carucci covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci