Su Rynard is a filmmaker with a body of work that spans two decades. From her early video art to her recent feature films, she has worked across a range of approaches: dramatic, experimental, documentary and installation. Her interest in ecology, natural history and science has informed and inspired her recent projects, including The Messenger.
In 2006, Rynard wrote and directed her debut feature dramatic film, Kardia, which was awarded the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. In 2000 she directed the National Film Board feature length documentary, Dream Machine. Her films have screened in festivals including TIFF in Toronto and the IFFR in Rotterdam.
She was a Director Resident at the Canadian Film Centre in 1996-1997 and is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art. She is represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto.
In recent years I noticed that birds I used to see – an evening grosbeak, a flycatcher, a barn swallow — were no longer around. With my busy life, I thought maybe I was just missing them. Then I discovered that this was not the case. Songbirds are disappearing, and their absence is a message to us all.
To understand why this is happening, and what can be done, we embarked on a journey. Over the course of a year, following the seasons and the birds, our team filmed on three different continents. We discovered that the causes are many, and the solutions are few. Yet around the world, we met people who are concerned and are working for change – as this is not just about the future of birds, it’s about us too.
Humans share an ageless bond with birds, their song, and their persistent presence in our lives. In ancient times, to predict the future, humans looked to the flights and songs of birds. Today once more, the birds have something to tell us.
For me, the first step was to simply stop, listen and see for myself what was going on in the skies above. The next step is this film.
— Su Rynard