With gratitude, 2016 was a good year for The Messenger. 2017 will be a challenging year for our environment and the world we live in. We hope that the film will continue to inspire and inform.

Winner: Prix Buffon, Paris Science, Le festival international du film scientifique, 2016

Winner: Special Jury Award, Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival 2016

Special Mention for Best Documentary, CinemAmbiente, Italy 2015

Winner: 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: Best Cinematography in a Feature Documentary, Canadian Screen Awards 2016

Nominated: Best Editing in Feature Documentary, Canadian Cinema Editors Award 2016

Nominated: for Dutch IntL Science Film Festival NTR Audience Award & Youth Jury Award, 2016

Winner: Whistleblower Award Cinema Verde Environmental Film & Arts Festival, 2016

Winner: Favourite Documentary Feature, North Bay Film Festival, 2016

Winner: Best Conservation Film, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, 2015

Winner: Top Ten Audience Award, Hot Docs 2015

Recipient of the 2015 Carl Nunn Media and Conservation Award presented by Ontario Nature


Now available on itunes in Canada and the USA.




Mixing Sound – a sensory experience of place

In filming The Messenger we travelled to three different continents, and each place we went possessed a unique acoustic and auditory character. From the editing to the final mix, I felt it was imperative that we fully articulate this sensory experience of place and time.

Supervising Re-recording Mixer Daniel Pellerin with Re-recording Mixer Chris Guglick

Supervising Re-recording Mixer Daniel Pellerin with Re-recording Mixer Chris Guglick

As our final sound mix gets underway at URBAN POST in Toronto, we are very lucky to be working with the talented duo of Daniel Pellerin Supervising Re-recording Mixer and Christopher Guglick Sound Re-recording Mixer. These guys make for a super-busy team, as in the last few weeks they have mixed the films “Remember” (Atom Egoyan) and “Milk” (Noemi Weis).  From a practical perspective, this takes a team. So for many months, composer and sound designer Phil Strong has been fine-tuning music, location ambiences and bird song.

Chris Guglick; “The most unique aspect of mixing this film was the scope and range of all the different sounds of birds.  Phil did an amazing job organizing all the sounds which allowed me to take all of the different birds and give them a life on screen. I have worked in many different human languages, but working in the language of another species entirely was something new for me.”

Re-recording Mixer Chris Guglick at Urban Post

Re-recording Mixer Chris Guglick at Urban Post


Because our schedule and budget are very tight, Phil was just a day or two ahead of the mixers with his work, sometimes outputting the original music just hours before it was needed in the mix theater – quite the marathon indeed. Importantly, the mix is a creative journey in its own right, as the work is both intense and intuitive.  Daniel Pellerin;

“With every film you have to find the language that suits the film. The tone of the characters, quality of the voices, the sense of unfolding time and emotion of the story.”


Joanne Jackson, Producer Left. Su Rynard, Director Right.

Joanne Jackson, Producer Left. Su Rynard, Director Right.

As a director, my work is very nuanced, often contemplative, and layered in both content and context. Sound plays a pivotal role. It is often the aural experience that positions how a scene will be experienced and interpreted. In The Messenger we walk a razor sharp edge between tragedy and joy, dramatic tension and release, optimism and sobering truths. In most cases it is the sound that tips the scale to what the experience will be. This balance is not something that can easily be achieved, but with this team I knew I was in good hands. Daniel Pellerin;

“I love docs that have to do with nature, as the challenge is to make it immersive — putting the audience in the theatre yet creating the feeling that they are not in the theatre. In this film, music and birds are the lead “instruments” and a delicate balance is required.”  This idea is taken a step further by Chris Guglick;

As a sound effects mixer I’m often asked to turn down the sound of birds because they can distract from the action in the film.  This film gave the birds a leading role that could, if executed poorly, distract from the important information being expressed by the other characters on screen.  Finding that balance was key.

Here is a taste of the mix experience. A brief pirate recording of my own film, created on my iphone. Enjoy.


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

It’s been almost two years since camera’s starting rolling, and we have now reached a milestone with The Messenger. Picture lock!

The process began with editor Carole Larsen in January of 2014, together we confronted more than 120 hours of  footage that we had shot all over the world. We had two different camera teams, and four specialized songbird photographers, and after a year of travel we had a wealth of footage. The process of crafting a compelling story was a daunting task indeed. Carole’s first assembly was six hours long! Meanwhile in France, at Films A Cinq, Sally Blake focused in on our 2 x 1 hour International TV version.

Producer Martin de la Fouchardière, Producer and Co-writer Sally Blake, and me (middle) Director Su Rynard.

Producer Martin de la Fouchardière, Producer and Co-writer Sally Blake, and me (middle) Director Su Rynard.

In the fall we began work with Eamonn O’Connor and consulting editor Ricardo Acosta C.C.E. Together we fine-tuned the documentary feature narrative, and ultimately developed an instinctive, nuanced unfolding story. We are very pleased with the results and believe we have a film that we all can be very proud of.

(centre) Eamonn O'Conner Editor (right) Ricardo Acosta C.C.E & (left) Su Rynard Director

(centre) Eamonn O’Conner Editor (right) Ricardo Acosta C.C.E & (left) Su Rynard Director

Now we move forward into a new phase of sound editing and music, visual fx, titles, graphics, media conforms and colour corrects — all the things that need to be done to finish the film. Our goal is to have the film ready for the big screen by mid April.

The  title “The MESSENGER” is inspired by the voice over in the opening sequence: “In ancient times humans looked to the flights and songs of birds to foretell the future. Today once more, the birds have something to tell us.”

Check out our fabulous new logo by Toronto graphic designer Jenny Armour


The MESSENGER is an international treaty co-production between Canada and France.

Produced by SongbirdSOS Productions Inc. and Films a Cinq.  International Distribution by ZED.