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The Messenger Makes Bird Matter

A France-Canada coproduction is hoping to do for songbirds what Blackfish did for orcas.

The eco-documentary The Messenger is an international story that unravels the mystery behind the world’s vanishing songbird population. It argues that the global demise of songbirds signals an uncertain shift in an already fragile ecosystem and explores our deep-seated connection to birds, while warning that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

Director Su Rynard filmed the documentary partly in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

"The Boreal Forest is known as the 'Bird Nursery of North America',” says Rynard. "Here we filmed with Dr. Erin Bayne who studies the impact humans have on birds. We battled the bugs and the mud and travelled deep into the forest to document what effects forestry, energy, agriculture, noise and climate change have on bird populations."

They also filmed near Saskatoon with eco-toxicologist Dr. Christy Morrissey.

"Here the prairie landscape is vast, incredibly picturesque, yet in many places it is troublingly contaminated," Rynard adds. "We documented Christy and her team as they tested the water in prairie ponds for pesticides, and measured the health of insect and bird populations."

The visually stunning film shows how Christy’s work demonstrates a link between neonicatinoids and tree swallow declines, which were more than 43% over the last fifty years.

(Su Rynard, left, on set)

The Messenger was produced by Toronto-based producers Joanne Jackson, Diane Woods and Su Rynard through their company SongbirdSOS Productions. It was coproduced with Paris-based Films à Cinq with Sally Blake (who also co-wrote the film) and Martin de la Fouchardière.

Crew included DOPs Daniel Grant and Amar Arhab and wildlife photographers Joshua See and Laurent Charbonnier. Eamonn O'Connor was picture editor and Mark Albert did VFX. Phil Strong was Music Composer and Sound Designer.

BC screenings include:

·  March 19-20 at the Rio Theatre, in Vancouver
·  March 18-20 at the Vic Theatre in Victoria

Catch the trailer here: 

By Katja De Bock

Photos courtesy of LIFT PR 

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