The Messenger Canadian Campus tour kicks off

Toronto,  ON (September 21, 2016)

The award-winning documentary The Messenger is teaming up with Bird Studies Canada to tour Canadian University and college campuses this fall.  The tour kicks off this evening at Dalhousie University in Halifax.  Each screening will be followed by a discussion led by local conservation and biologists. For more information on campus locations, dates and times, see http://songbirdsos.com/screenings/canadian-screenings/

Confirmed campus locations and dates include:

  • September 21 – Dalhousie, Halifax, NS Hosted by professor Cindy Staicer.
  • September 27- McMaster University – Hamilton, ON Hosted by Instructor Greg Zilderbrant
  • September 28 -Ottawa University – Ottawa, ON Hosted by Professor Scott Simon
  • September 29 – University of Saskatchewan, SK – with Professor Christy Morrissey and Kiel Drake from Bird Studies Canada
  • October 2 – Mount Allison, Sackville, NB, followed by Q+A with Bird Studies Canada and Environment Canada
  • October 2 – Fleming College,  Lindsay, ON  hosted by the City of Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee with Director Su Rynard and FLAP’s Michael Mesure in attendance
  • October 5/6 University of Victoria, followed by Q+A with Dr. David Bradley of Bird Studies Canada
  • October 21-23 The Antigonish International Film Festival, NS – Home of St.Francis Xavier Univeristy
  • October 25 The University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC followed by a Q+A with Dr. David Bradley of Birds Studies Canada
  • November 9 Queen’s University, Kingston ON
  • November 9 The University of Guelph, ON followed by a Q+A with Dr. Ryan Norris and others
  • November 10 – The University of Windsor, ON
  • November 10 McGill University, Montreal, QC, presented by Le Nichoir
  • November 15 Lakeland College, Vermilion, AB
  • Date TBA – The University of Western Ontario, ON
  • Date TBA – The University of Regina, SK
  • Date TBA – York University, Toronto, ON with Bridget Stutchbury

We are delighted to be introducing The Messenger to students and educators across the country” says Director Su Rynard.  “Since its premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival, The Messenger has wowed audiences the world over at more than 30 international film festivals and  played in over 100 Cinemas. We are really pleased the film has been so well received.  We hope it is will inspire people to make a difference for not just birds, but the planet too.”

 The Messenger is an international story with high stakes global consequences. The film argues that the decline of songbirds is due to human activity, signalling an uncertain shift in an already fragile ecosystem while warning the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

A Hot Docs 2015 ‘Top Ten Audience Favourite’ The Messenger has received several awards including The Best Conservation Program from The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival plus a Canadian Cinema nomination for Best Cinematography in a Feature Documentary and Ontario Nature’s Carl Nunn Impact Award.

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Filmed on three continents, The Messenger features a number of Canadian scientists including biologist Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, (Author Silence of the Songbirds and Professor, York University) Erin Bayne, (Biology Professor, University of Alberta)  and Dr. Christy Morrissey (Avian Ecotoxicologist, University of Saskatchewan) and citizen scientist Michael Mesure from FLAP. More on the film participants here. http://songbirdsos.com/featuring/

Without a doubt, The Messenger is the most outstanding film I’ve seen on birds. The fact that it is so strongly science-based, so emotive in its pitch, so beautiful in its design it captivates me and everyone who has had a chance to see it.” – Steven Price, President, Bird Studies Canada

A free study guide will soon be available for educators who wish to use The Messenger in classroom discussions.

Campus organizations wishing to request a screening as part of the tour should send request a screening here.

To book an interview or request an appearance by the filmmakers or the participating  scientists, contact:

Joanne Jackson, Producer, SongbirdbirdSOS Productions Inc.,

Email:  joanne@songbirdsos.com

Phone +1  416 801 1118

For US inquiries please contact Jeff Tamblyn at Kino Lorber. Jeff Tamblyn (edu@kinolorber.com) 212-629-6880

For more information visit www.TheMessengerDoc.com

 

JOIN THE MESSENGER ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

 
Facebook
— https://www.facebook.com/SongbirdSOSfilm/

Twitter — @themessengerdoc

#BirdFriendly

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90 MIN  English,  (or English with French subtitles)
Directed by Su Rynard

Written by Su Rynard and Sally Blake

Produced by Joanne Jackson, Sally Blake and Martin de la Fouchardière,

Diane Woods and Su Rynard

SongbirdSOS is a Canada/France co-production
Produced by SongbirdSOS Productions and Films à Cinq/ARTE

Produced with participation from the Ontario Media Development Corporation Film Fund,
CBC, ARTE, Canal D and the Rogers Documentary Fund, Canada Media Fund, CNC,

Telefilm International Co-production office, Rogers Telefund, Procirep-Angoa
and the Documentary Organization of Canada.
Developed with the assistance of the CFC-NFB Documentary Program, OMDC,

National Film Board of Canada & David J. Woods Productions.

US Distribution Kino Lorber, International Sales ZED

Distributed in Canada by SongbirdSOS Productions Inc.

Marketing and promotion assistance by Telefilm Canada.

Special thanks to First Weekend Club, Women Make Movies, Hot Docs Deal Maker,

Sunnyside of the Doc and National Outreach partner Bird Studies Canada.

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Wood Thrush

This summer we have had many unusually hot days, and with the heat comes the memory of another very hot summer day when we filmed with Dr. Lyle Friesen and Dinuka Gunaratne in Waterloo, Ontario.

Dr. Lyle Friesen (formerly with Environment Canada) has been studying Wood Thrush in the region of Waterloo since 1996.  These songbirds are in serious decline, but without clear answers as to why this was happening, Lyle knew he had a mystery to solve.

“Since 1970 the population of Wood Thrush in Canada has declined by 85%, that’s just an astonishing number.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 6.09.14 PM

 

Our day of filming started with a lucky shot of a Wood Thrush on her nest. We were hoping to capture behavior so we patiently filmed this shot for a long time, waiting for this songbird to forage,  wiggle, eat or sing — any action for the camera! However we ended up in a stand-off.

 

The Wood Thrush knew we were there and simply froze. The only movement we could see was the occasional blink of an eye. She seemed to believe that if she stayed absolutely still we would not see her. This was likely a tactic to defend her nest, which apparently is serious business for a Wood Thrush.

“We found and monitored almost 900 nests and about half of the nests fall prey to predators, yet we’ve never seen a predator at a wood thrush nest.”

Lyle and his team set up a series of infra red camera’s and installed ‘nest cams’ at the nests. Over the course of several years, Dr. Lyle Friesen documented an amazing night-time woodland drama.

lyle comp shot

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 6.10.22 PM

 

 

We created a short video documenting the process of Lyle’s research. This video features amazing footage that reveals who the mysterious predator is, as well as their modus operandi.  watch: https://youtu.be/i57Mou6HiEE8

 

What we learn from Lyle’s work is that the world is becoming a less friendly place for Wood Thrush. Predation in itself is a natural phenomenon, but in this case the reasons behind its dramatic increase are anthropogenic. Humans have modified the landscape and upset natures balance — with devastating consequence for Wood Thrush.

 

Educators: Stimulate discussion with The Messenger!

Embraced by audiences the world over – The Messenger has had critical festival and North American theatrical success.  Rest assured this is hardly good-bye for the award-winning documentary about songbirds.   Many educators have been asking us if the film can be shown on campuses, in schools and in libraries. Yes, we want The Messenger to be seen and discussed by educators everywhere!  In fact we are even organizing a Canadian Campus Tour in partnership with our National Outreach partner Bird Studies Canada. It kicks off in September.

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Ontario Teachers Federation event

 

The Messenger is the most scientifically sound and beautiful film about songbirds I have ever seen. You heart will be opened to their plight and your brain to the action you can take to help save them.

Steven Price, President, Bird Studies Canada

 

 

 

Those who have seen the film will understand its power to enlighten and challenge students of all ages. Teachers and instructors will find the film inspires interesting discussions about our environment.  It can also be used to explore interdisciplinary connections to the avian issues that are depicted in the film.

Check back in to our Educators page, late October as we will have a free study/discussion guide available for teachers.

Here are just a few subject areas where we think the film has relevance.

  • Climate change
  • Loss of Habitat
  • Nature’s influence on Art and Culture
  • Biodiversity
  • Biology
  • Protecting the environment
  • Agriculture and pesticide use
  • Urbanisation and city planning
  • Advancements in tracking Technology for animals
  • Careers in environmental science and biology
  • Women in Science
  • Nature conservation
  • Photography and Filmmaking

Beyond the subject matter of the film is its innovative approach to capture the film’s subjects in  some ground-breaking cinematography.  A vital tool for filmmaking students working in non-fiction and fiction alike!

Educational DVD’s and Blu Rays have bonus material including behind-the-scenes footage, and a deleted scene.

The film is currently available for Educational use in the USA through our distributor Kino Lorber. 

Canadian libraries and schools can now pre-order The Messenger with institutional/educational and/or public performance rights for late fall delivery. Details here.

Another leading Bird conservation organization had this to say:

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The Messenger is riveting, emotionally engaging, and visually extravagant from the first frame to the last. Up-to-the-minute facts on how birds communicate about environmental change are interwoven with gripping stories about the perils faced every year by these amazing world travelers. This is a must-see movie for anybody who values the natural world or wonders about its relationship to humans.    

John Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

As stunning as The Messenger is in theatres, we expect the film will be appreciated on many small screens in classrooms around the world too.

To participate in the Canadian Campus Tour request a screening here.

For educational purchase, more info here.

If you are interested in a personal use home video, check out this page of our website.

 

 

The Messenger premieres on documentary Channel May 31st

“Birds have something to tell us.” 

THE MESSENGER – A film by Su Rynard

Television Premiere  – documentary Channel – May 31, 2016 – 9 PM EDT

On the heels of a wildly successful North American tour, THE MESSENGER is coming to documentary Channel on May 31st 2016.

With over 100 screens and 25 cinemas in the USA and Canada respectively, THE MESSENGER is an international story with high stakes and global consequences, chronicling the struggle of songbirds as they survive the turbulent conditions brought about by humans. The award-winning film – accolades listed below – mesmerizes audiences with stunning slow-motion sequences of songbirds in night flight, providing a unique eye into the beauty of the songbirds and the messages they carry.

The Messenger is the most scientifically sound and beautiful film about songbirds I have ever seen. Your heart will be opened to their plight, and your brain to the action you can take to help save them,” says Steven Price, President of Bird Studies Canada.

Akin to the disappearance of the honeybee or the melting of glaciers, the film argues that the global demise of songbirds signals an uncertain shift in an already fragile ecosystem. THE MESSENGER explores our deep-seated connection to birds, while warning that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

In ancient times, humans looked to the flights and songs of birds to predict the future, now the songbirds are disappearing at an alarming rate, and this points to changes in our world. Now is a critical time for our climate and ecosystems.” Says Canadian director Su Rynard. “Today, once again, birds have something to tell us, and I wanted to amplify their message.”

The scientists, activists and bird enthusiasts featured in THE MESSENGER bring us face-to-face with the beauty of these airborne music-makers and with the remarkable variety of human-made perils that they face: the destruction of our forests, our lethal architecture, predatory pets, and the alarming use of pesticides. All of these are causing the disappearance of songbirds at a disquieting pace.

documentary channel logo 

“The Messenger is a beautifully crafted film with an important & urgent message. We are really pleased to be the broadcast home for The Messenger; it feels right on doc channel.” Says Bruce Cowley, Creative Head, documentary Channel.

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Accolades for THE MESSENGER include:

  • Best Conservation Film, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, 2015
  • Top Ten Audience Award, Hot Docs 2015
  • Special Jury Award, Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival 2016
  • Special Mention for Best Documentary, CinemAmbiente, Italy 2015
  • Best Environmental Film Prize, Festival de l’Oiseau et de la Nature, Abbeville Cedex/France 2016
  • Winner: Best of Fest, International Wildlife Film Festival Missoula, Montana 2016
  • Winner: Best Theatrical Feature, International Wildlife Film Festival Missoula, Montana 2016
  • Nominated for Best Cinematography in a Feature Documentary, Canadian Screen Awards 2016
  • Nominated for Best Editing in Feature Documentary, Canadian Cinema Editors Award 2016

The Messenger is an international treaty co-production between Canada and France, produced by SongbirdSOS Productions Inc. and Films à Cinq/ARTE.

www.theMessengerDoc.com

To find out how the stunning footage of songbirds in flight was achieved, read Director Su Rynard’s blog post and view a behind-the-scenes video.

For a press kit,  still photography, or to book an interview with the filmmakers or any film participants, please contact Jesse Bondar (jesse.bondar@dotdotdash.ca) (416) 312-0428 or Joanne Jackson (joanne@songbirdsos.com)  (416) 801-1118.

Produced with support from the Ontario Media Development Corporation Film Fund, CBC, ARTE, Canal D and the participation of the Rogers Documentary Fund, Canada Media Fund, CNC, Telefilm International Co-production office, Rogers Telefund, Procirep, Angoa and the Documentary Organization of Canada.  Special thanks to the Canadian Film Centre Documentary Program, NFB, David J. Woods Productions, Hot Docs Deal Maker, Sunnyside of the Doc. International Sales Agent: ZED American Distributor: Kino Lorber, Canadian Distribution: SongbirdSOS Productions Inc. Promotion and  Marketing Assistance by Telefilm Canada.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. We are Canada’s trusted source of news, information and Canadian entertainment. Deeply rooted in communities all across the country, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight aboriginal languages. We also provide international news and information from a uniquely Canadian perspective.

The Messenger Nomination for the 6th Annual CCE Awards

It was just over a year ago that we locked picture on The Messenger. Today we are so proud to share this news.

Congratulations to Eamonn O’Connor and The Messenger editing team, Sally Blake, Carole Larson  for their well earned Canadian Cinema Editors Award “Best Editing in Feature Documentary” nomination.  We owe a big thanks to our inspired Editing Guru Ricardo Acosta, our technical wizard Andrew Kines and Mark Alberts for the beautiful graphics and compositing work.

Read more about editing The Messenger in our Director’s blog.

THE MESSENGER Picture Lock: 120 hours of footage – One year later

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