The script for the short, No Birds Sing: A Knight Returns to the 21st Century, won one of four production funds for Talkies Community Cinema to create a piece that was relevant to Palmers Green. No Bird’s Sing is ultimately about the feeling of belonging in a big city, the fleeting connections one makes along the way and for the knight, the unfamiliarity of returning to the 21st century and seeing lights and electricity for the first time. Director Harriet Macdonald set out to convey the notion that most people who live in big cities often feel disconnected, whether as a foreigner and there being a language or cultural barrier, or having your surroundings change after living somewhere for years.
The creative team sought to tell the story in snapshots, with a distinct visual style. To acheive this, the story was shot with an Arri Alexa Plus 16:9 model with a 2x squeeze and anamorphic lenses. The Alexa held dynamic range and replicated skintones with a likeness to film, which was one of the effects they wanted to achieve. This aided them in showing the surrounding’s disconnectedness from the character, and in conveying the feeling that the knight is lost in the world around him.
Procam lent their support to the film through technical help, advice and the loaning of an Arri Alexa camera. This helped the filmmakers stay within budget with their bursary, and go above and beyond for the visuals of the short.
The short was selected for the Cannes Short Film Corner and the Academy Qualifying Leeds International Film festival. It was also made part of the Official Selection for Portland International Film festival, Sioux Empire Film Festival and Miami Independent Film Festival as well being featured on Film Shortage.