The Messenger Action Alert: Help Protect Birds from Window Collisions.

Ontario:  An urgent message from Michael Mesure and FLAP Canada.  You Can Make a Difference for Songbirds!  

Millions of birds, including species at risk, migrate to and breed in the Northern Ontario Boreal Forest. These birds help fight climate change by protecting this landscape. They do so by consuming insects, pollinating plants and distributing seeds.

Our built up urban environment is in their migratory path. Countless birds die in daytime collisions with windows. In Toronto alone, it is estimated that between one to ten million birds die from window collisions each year.

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A section of a progressive law in Ontario — the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) — that would help protect migratory birds from window collisions is at risk of being nullified. In 2013, an Ontario court upheld the EPA to protect birds from collisions with reflective windows. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is proposing to withdraw its regulatory responsibility to protect birds under the EPA and replace it with voluntary action from owners and managers of commercial buildings.

FLAP Canada has worked tirelessly to protect birds from building collisions since 1993 and knows from experience that voluntarism does not motivate window retrofits on the part of property owners and managers.

The Messenger Documentary supports this important initiative. Please send in your comments to the MOECC (Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change) by December 4, 2015.

For the submission link & more info, visit:  http://www.flap.org/action_alert.php

— Special thanks for this blog post from Michael Mesure, Executive Director, Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) Canada

FLAP ON Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/742z47o, FLAP ON  Twitter: https://twitter.com/FLAPCanada

Kino Lorber releasing THE MESSENGER theatrically in the USA

Kino Lorber Acquires all U.S. Rights to The Messenger; Winner of Best Conservation Program at Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and an Audience Favorite at Hot Docs

Sets U.S. Theatrical Release for Friday, December 4, 2015

Su Rynard’s environmental documentary reveals the demise of the world’s songbird population; leaves audiences with a profound appreciation for the billions of birds with whom we share our communities and planet

“Never loses sight of the winged tunesters’ sheer beauty, or their emotional and symbolic pull as perceived intermediaries between the earthly and spiritual.”              The Hollywood Reporter

NEW YORK, NY – Tuesday, October 13, 2015 – Kino Lorber has acquired all U.S. rights to THE MESSENGER, a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Su Rynard ( Kardia, Dream Machine)  The film chronicles the struggle of songbirds worldwide to survive in turbulent environmental conditions brought about by humans and argues that their demise will signify the crash of the global ecosystem, akin to the disappearance of honey bees and the melting of the glaciers. Beautiful slow motion photography illustrates the power and beauty of these delicate winged creatures that have been praised and eulogized across cultures and throughout time.

THE MESSENGER, which was produced by SongbirdSOS Productions Inc. and Films à Cinq/ARTE, was acquired at the Hot Docs International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere and was named one of the festival’s top 3 audience favorites. Last week it won the coveted prize for Best Conservation Program at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and today it won honorable mention at Cinema Ambiente Environmental Film Festival in Italy. This past weekend it had its U.S. West Coast Premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival in association with the San Francisco Green Film Festival.

The film will open in New York at Cinema Village on December 4, 2015 and Los Angeles at Laemmle Monicas on December 11, 2015, followed by a release in over 30 markets nationwide, and with a subsequent DVD and digital release next year. The film will be released on Kino Lorber’s Alive Mind Cinema label.

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The deal was negotiated by Elizabeth Sheldon, Senior Vice President, on behalf of Kino Lorber, with the team at SongbirdSOS Productions Inc. “The Messenger made an indelible imprint upon me. While movies about the demise of the bees are ubiquitous, I thought that the birds needed to be championed too,” quipped Ms. Sheldon. Su Rynard comments, “Kino Lorber has done a masterful job bringing films about urgent issues to the public and we are excited to have this opportunity to work closely with this experienced team.”

For thousands of years, songbirds were regarded by mankind as messengers from the gods. Today, these creatures – woven inextricably into the fabric of our environment – are vanishing at an alarming rate. Under threat from climate change, pesticides and more, populations of hundreds of species have dipped dramatically. As scientists, activists and bird enthusiasts investigate this phenomenon, amazing secrets of the bird world come to light for the first time in this acclaimed and visually thrilling documentary. Find out what’s killing our songbirds, and what can be done about it. As in ancient times, songbirds may once again be carrying a message to humans – one that we ignore at our own peril.

For other confirmed US dates and locations,   click here. 

About Alive Mind Cinema:

Specializing in documentaries in the areas of enlightened consciousness, secular spirituality and culture, Alive Mind Cinema seeks to provide audiences with intellectually provocative films that deliver the “aha” response of a transformative experience. Learn more at alivemindcinema.com.

About Kino Lorber: 

With a library of 1,000 titles, Kino Lorber Inc. has been a leader in independent art house distribution for over 30 years, releasing over 25 films per year theatrically under its Kino Lorber, Kino Classics, and Alive Mind Cinema banners, including five Academy Award® nominated films in the last seven years. In addition, the company brings over 70 titles each year to the home entertainment market with DVD and Blu-ray releases under its five house brands, distributes a growing number of third party labels, and is a direct digital distributor to all major platforms including iTunes, Netflix, HULU, Amazon, Vimeo, Fandor and others.

PHOTOS/POSTER FOR THE MESSENGER:
http://songbirdsos.com/press-room/press-kit/

PRESS CONTACT
Adam J. Segal
The 2050 Group – Publicity
(202) 422-4673 – Cell
(646) 202-1612 – New York Office
adam@the2050group.com
www.the2050group.com

THE MESSENGER WINS BEST CONSERVATION FILM AWARD AT JACKSON HOLE

On October 1, in Jackson, Wyoming, THE MESSENGER  was honored with a Best Conservation Program Award at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festivals’ Grand Teton Awards Gala.  The Best Conservation Program Award is “Awarded to the program that most effectively contributes to an awareness of timely and relevant conservation issues and/or solutions.”  Finalists included Racing Extinction, and I Bought A Rainforest.

JH Awards. ws. theatre.21710014898_af6d847641_z

THE MESSENGER is an artful investigation into the causes of songbird mass depletion and the compassionate people who are working to turn the tide, directed  by award-winning filmmaker Su Rynard.  The 90 minute film takes viewers on a visually stunning journey revealing how the issues facing birds also pose daunting implications for our planet and ourselves.

Producers Martin de la Fouchardiere and Diane Woods were at the ceremony to accept the award.

JH awards.2 shot.DW.MdelaF. better.21900115865_f8fd508f12_zDirected by: Su Rynard

Producers:  Joanne P. Jackson, Sally Blake, Martin de la Fouchardiere, Su Rynard and Diane Woods

Written by: Su Rynard and Sally Blake

Directors of Photography:  Daniel Grant and Amar Arhab

Picture Editor:  Eamonn O’Connor

Sound Design and Composer: Phil Strong

Additional Editing:  Sally Blake and Carole Larson

Additional photography:  Laurent Charbonnier, Christopher Romeike

and Joshua See

Sound Re-Engineering Mixer:   Daniel Pellerin

Line Producer: Diane Warme

Post Production was done at Urban Post in Toronto.

 

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

US Distribution – Kino Lorber

International Sales Agent ZED

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Jackson Hole press release here

About Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival:  Recognized as the premier event of its genre, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival is an unparalleled biennial industry gathering. Hosted biennially in Grand Teton National Park, over 650 international delegates participate in an exceptional slate of leading edge equipment presentations, seminars and state-of-the-art screenings.

The Festival’s international board members include: Animal Planet, BBC Natural History Unit, Discovery Channel, Disneynature, FujiFilm Optical Devices, Gorongosa Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Tangled Bank Studios, National Geographic Channel International, National Geographic WILD, National Geographic Society, National Parks Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, Nature/WNET, Off the Fence Productions, PBS, Sony Electronics, Terra Mater Factual Studios and UNIVERSUM/ORF, Vulcan Productions, WGBH, and World Wildlife Fund.

THE MESSENGER is currently screening at Film Festivals worldwide.

More info at www.theMessengerDoc.com

The Messenger – World Premiere at Hot Docs

Hot Docs Press Conference

Hot Docs Press Conference

We have some very exciting exciting news.  The Messenger will have it’s World Premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival on April 28, 2015.  At the Press Conference, Canadian programmer Lynn Fernie introduced the film eloquently by asking, “Can we, and even do we, want to live in a world without birdsong?” The film garnered a lot of attention at the conference, and Su was interviewed for radio, television and print.  More on the Press Room page of this website.

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Producer Joanne Jackson (left) and Su Rynard (right)

The Messenger is a visually thrilling ode to the beauty and importance of the imperiled songbird, that contemplates our deep-seated connection to birds and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

On one level, The Messenger is eco-alert as art – a skillfully told character first-person p.o.v. about the mass depletion of songbirds on multiple continents, and about the compassionate people who are working to turn the tide. According to international expert Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, who is featured in the documentary, we may have lost almost half the songbirds that filled the skies fifty years ago.

On another level, The Messenger is an engaging, three-act emotional journey, one that mixes its elegiac message with hopeful notes and unique glances into the influence of songbirds on our own expressions of the soul. For example, a German composer, DJ and bird-watching enthusiast, Dominik Eulberg, incorporates bird-sounds seamlessly into techno music and introduces us to the use of birdsongs in Wagnerian opera.

Dominik Eulberg Composer & DJ_WesterwaldGermany

We meet passionate and motivated people like Michael Mesure, the founder of the Fatal Light Awareness Program, who has spearheaded the treating of skyscraper glass with markers, resulting in a 70% decline of bird deaths. As he says of the movement to switch off lights in empty buildings, ““How often can you say, you flick a switch and a problem disappears?”

We see culture clashes, as in France, where activists run up against hunters of the Ortolan Bunting, an endangered bird that is considered a culinary delicacy. And in the vast prairie lands of Saskatchewan, Dr. Christy Morrissey unravels the mystery behind the sharp drop in the numbers of insect eating birds. She discovers that the smoking gun is likely the same pesticide that is killing honeybees and states, “We are changing the environment faster than birds can cope with.”

But there is an ultimate wild card for songbirds. Turkish ecologist Çağan Şekercioğlu brings us to a crucial songbird site where the distant Mount Ararat looms large as a sentinel for climate change, as its’ disappearing glacier could spell tragedy for the wetlands at its base.

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There’s a glimpse of hope for a sustainable future, as Costa Rican coffee farmers learn from ornithologist Alejandra Martinez-Salinas about the benefits of pesticide-free shade-grown coffee. The diversity of shade trees provide a natural habit for migratory songbirds and the birds’ appetite for the destructive coffee berry borer, provides an alternative to agro-chemicals.

Ultimately, The Messenger is about what the birds have to tell us about the state of our planet and of ourselves.

In the words of Peter Marra, of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C., “When the bird population starts to decline it’s a cold, it’s a flu that the Earth has. Birds provide an estimate of the integrity of the environment itself. We are part of that environment. We depend on it for our own lives.”

Don’t you think the Indigo Bunting looks amazing on the screen at the Bloor Cinema behind Festival Programmer Lynn Fernie? It certainly gives us a taste of what our birds in night flight footage will look like when the film premieres at this prestigious festival.

The Messenger has three  screenings during Hot Docs.

Tickets can be purchased through the Hot Docs Box Office

April 28 ,  9 PM – Scotiabank Theatre,  259 Richmond St. W.

May 1 – 1:30 pm, Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond St W.

May 3 – 6:30 pm, Innis Town Hall Theatre, 2 Sussex Ave.

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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 an international treaty co-production between Canada and France, produced by SongbirdSOS Productions and Films à Cinq.

International Distributor: ZED

Songbird Documentary on CBC Nature of Things – March 19

Our team has been working on this multi-faceted project for almost five years and the first of two very different  international co-production documentaries is set to debut for Canadian viewers on CBC-TV’s The Nature Of Things, March 19, 2015 at 8 PM.    

Narrated by Dr. David Suzuki and directed by Su Rynard, The Nature of Things SongbirdSOS is an artfully-shot TV documentary about the mass depletion of songbirds in the Americas. It depicts an alarming thinning of populations that has seen declines of many species since the 1960s.  According to  York University’s  Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, who is featured in the program, we may have lost almost half the songbirds that filled the skies fifty years ago.

Hazards affecting songbirds include glass-enclosed high-rise buildings that account for up to a billion bird deaths annually, light pollution that disorients birds’ migratory flight paths, lost breeding and wintering habitats from rain forests to wetlands to boreal forests, oil pipelines and farm pesticides.

Pesticides

Tree Swallow in Saskatchewan

There’s unforgettable real-time front line research in SongbirdSOS. Michael Mesure of the volunteer army FLAP  (Fatal Light Awareness Program) Canada shows the toll on birds on a tour of particularly lethal Toronto buildings. Erin Bayne takes us into the Boreal Forest north of Edmonton, Alberta  to witness the impact of industry on North America’s biggest bird nursery.  In Saskatchewan avian eco-toxicologist Christy Morrissey discovers lethal neonicotinoids in the spring wetland water supply, ahead of its annual application by local farmers. In a revelatory sequence, Bridget Stutchbury equips northern Purple Martins with micro-chip backpacks that reveal the secrets of their oddly-non-linear migratory journeys to South America and back.

And there’s a glimpse of hope for the future, as Costa Rican coffee farmers learn from ornithologist Alejandra Martinez-Salinas about the benefits of pesticide-free shade-grown (and bird-friendly) coffee.

Over the course of a year, following the seasons and the birds, Director Su Rynard and the team set out on a journey of discovery.

“We discovered that the causes of songbird declines are many, and the solutions are few,” states  Rynard. “Yet everywhere we went, we met passionate people who are concerned and are working for change – as this is not just about the future of birds, it’s about the health of the planet too.”

SongbirdSOS Productions Inc. is pleased to welcome Bird Studies Canada as a National Outreach Partner for a Social Impact Campaign for this project.

Check out some related stories on the CBC Nature of Things website. 

Press Release about the CBC TV Nature of Things March 19 broadcast

 

 

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