As part of the much lauded survey show currently on at the Art Gallery of Ontario, V/Tape has revisited two two local initiatives from the 1980’s to create a new show WHEN THE WORK WAS NEW: Toronto New Work Shows 1984 and 1986. My short video Absence, 1986 is included in this exhibition and will be screened on Friday March 11, 2017 at 9pm For more information click here.
Creating The Messenger Documentary was by far one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my lifetime. The project took several years to complete. We filmed on three continents, but my journey as a filmmaker began with a simple realization that occurred very close to home.
My family has a humble cottage about three hours north east of Toronto, and I have spent time here each year since I was born. When we were growing up barn swallows swooped over the water, cedar wax-wings foraged in the choke-cherry tree, grosbeaks visited the bird feeder, and I fell asleep to the call of the whip-poor-will. Note the past tense.
If it weren’t for the scribbles my mom penciled in our field guide every year, we would have no evidence these birds ever lived in our corner of the world. For my part, as I grew up my life became busier and I rationalized their disappearance as my own problem – I was somehow missing them. Only recently I realized what I was experiencing was part of a much bigger problem. My fate is that I am a filmmaker. And so this journey began.
For thousands of years we humans have looked to birds to foretell the future.
Changes in the flights or songs of birds can signal the coming of storms, the change of season, or simply the dawn of a new day. Today songbird sare disappearing at an alarming rate, which points to changes in our world.
Birds have something to tell us, and I wanted to amplify their message. The Messenger takes viewers on a high stakes global journey, yet how do you unravel the mystery behind these mass declines without overwhelming people and making them feel helpless? How do you distill complex science into a story that is accessible and impactful?
To achieve this we share the music, the poetry, the beauty and the wonder, and we connect with how amazing these creatures are. We explore our complex human relationship to the natural world. We look at how humans rely on birds and the work that they do, and how this links their fate to our own. The result is a deeply nuanced film. A film that will make you laugh and cry. A film that may change you.
To learn more about the filmmaking journey please read the directors blogpost.
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.
Winning ten awards, three nominations and two special mentions, 2016 was a good year for The Messenger documentary. We hope that the film will continue to inspire and inform in the years ahead.
There is more than one way to look at the world, and scientists, like artists begin with questions, and both practices push the boundaries of knowledge and perception…
Read the post here.
I’m thrilled to have two short works Bear and Drowning London included in ikonoTV’s official ArtCop21 event ART SPEAKS OUT, an on-air exhibition of international video works that reflect upon urgent global issues such as ecological devastation and climate change.
On the occasion of the UN Climate Conference COP21 in Paris, ikonoTV broadcasts its 24-hour special program Art Speaks Out worldwide, an on-air exhibition of international video works about environmental issues. The global event is part of ArtCop21, the official cultural program of the UN Climate Conference in Paris.
“ikonoTV is pleased to announce the participation of prominent international artists including Olafur Eliasson, AK Dolven, Janet Laurence, Su Rynard, Antti Laitinen, Ursula Biemann, Isabelle Hayeur and many more.”
Imagine Science Film Festival “After much deliberation by our Jury, the awards went to the following films: Nature Scientific Merit Award – given to the film that best exemplifies science in narrative filmmaking in a compelling, credible, and inspiring manner. Runner Up: As Soon as Weather Will Permit, by Su Rynard. Nature People’s Choice Award – given to the film that receives the most audience votes during the festival. Winner: As Soon as Weather Will Permit”
More info here: http://imaginesciencefilms.org/newyork/awards/
Imagine Science is a film festival that aims bridge the gap between art and science through film, thereby transforming the way science is communicated to the public and encouraging collaboration across disciplines. Together, scientists, who dedicate their lives to studying the world in which we live, and filmmakers, who interpret and expose this knowledge, can make science accessible and stimulating to the broadest possible audience. Imagine Science Films is committed to drawing attention to the sciences, whether it is through art or our community outreach efforts.
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.
The film also received a Special Mention at CinemAmbiente Film Festival in Italy, and a Top Ten Audience Award at the Hot Docs Film Festival.
The Messenger recently screened at the Bergen International Film Festival in Norway and Reykjavik International Film festival in Iceland.
Please read my blog posts Mountains, Fjords & Film and A Different Tomorrow!
You can watch The Messenger film trailer here:
Curated by Corinna Ghaznavi
Artists featured: Mary Anne Barkhouse (Minden), Panya Clark Espinal (Toronto), John Dickson (Toronto), Soheila Esfahani (Waterloo), FASTWÜRMS (Creemore), Martin Golland (Ottawa), Sherri Hay (Toronto), Kelly Jazvac (London), Gareth Lichty (Kitchener), Gavin Lynch (Ottawa), Lisa Myers (Port Severn), David Ruben Piqtoukun (Sutton West), Su Rynard (Toronto), TH&B (Hamilton)
We live in a world indelibly marked by human presence. We have inherited the consequences of industrialization, capitalism, colonization and globalization. The excess material prosperity of the ‘first world’ now threatens the very survival of habitats and ecosystems, and human and non-human animals. Human Nature presents fourteen contemporary Ontario artists whose works look at the state of the natural world and our impact on it.
Playing on the idea of human nature as a force that exploits and innovates, creates and destroys, the artists in the exhibition explore a range of critical issues such as water scarcity, endangered habitats, waste and sustainability, post-industrialization, colonization, and the link between global warming and extreme weather. Taken together, the works of these artists reflect on human constructions and the complex interconnections between nature, culture, and technology. Human Nature critiques and explores our collective past and our fragile present, while pointing to alternative ways of envisioning the future.
For more information click here.
I was delighted to be invited by Musicworks editor Jenny Punter to write an article for the Sonic Geography component of Musicworks magazine. Musicworks is dedicated to the development of new and passionate audiences for experimental music. Enjoy!
The world premiere for the feature documentary The Messenger took place on April 28, 2015 at the prestigious Hot Docs festival in Toronto Canada.
After the final screening, audience votes were tallied for the Vimeo On Demand Audience Award. The third place winner is THE MESSENGER (D: Su Rynard; Canada, France).
THE MESSENGER is a visually thrilling ode to the beauty and importance of the imperiled songbird, and what it will mean to all of us on both a global and human level if we lose them.
For more info visit: www.TheMessengerDoc.com