Weʼre raising £3,500 to fund the making of Birds Beyond Borders - a documentary exploring climate change through bird migration
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Birds Beyond Borders is an impact documentary following two conservationists and filmmakers, Martha 'Nzisa' Mutiso and Benjamin Ward, as they investigate the reasons behind the disappearance of house martins. Through their journey, the documentary delves into the science behind the rapid decline of these birds and examines the cultural significance of losing some of our closest wild neighbors. For millions of years, these animals have defied our borders, serving as a source of inspiration for countless cultures over centuries. The documentary explores whether this shared connection with wildlife could be the key to a collective effort to protect our natural world.
House martins are resilient birds that migrate from Africa to nest in urban areas but have faced a decline of 60%-75% in the UK and were red-listed in 2021.
Despite nesting on our homes, more efforts need to take place to reveal their behaviors in Africa, of which we know little.
This rapid avian decline has been extending across Europe since 1970 and even includes species that lead similar lifestyles, such as swifts and barn swallows.
Severe regional population drops of birds like these are now being observed all over the world, including the US and Asia.
Martha 'Nzisa' Mutiso is a passionate Kenyan ornithologist, filmmaker, photographer, and environmental advocate. She has spent much of her time studying the wintering habits of migratory birds, including swallows and martins, as well as various other species throughout Africa. Growing up in Machakos County in the Kenyan countryside, Martha was surrounded by diverse wildlife, with birds capturing her heart in particular. Martha would frequently observe martins and swallows seeking refuge in her village, perching on power lines, as they migrated to their roosting sites with the onset of summer rains. However, in the past few years, Martha has not only witnessed changes in the rainfall but has also noticed a significant decline in the birds.
Benjamin Ward is a UK conservationist, environmental campaigner and natural history impact filmmaker. Growing up in Essex, along one of the most industrialised parts of the Thames, his world could not be more different from Martha’s. The Thames has always been a migratory highway; it is known as a hotspot for birds such as martins, with abandoned industrial sites providing the perfect opportunity for nesting. Once nesting in their thousands, and now almost completely gone, Ben can no longer turn a blind eye to the birds that would migrate here from Africa every year.
Is there a correlation or causation in these declines? Through exclusive interviews with some of the world's leading experts, this documentary sees Benjamin and Martha teaming up to unravel the mysteries behind the disappearances of these birds and what it reveals about our changing world
Acknowledging the significance of these messages, we have established partnerships with key organizations, including The Essex Wildlife Trust, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), House Martin Conservation, Wildlife Direct, and Arocha. This collaboration is aimed at ensuring that the issues presented in the film, particularly the complexities surrounding bird migration, are portrayed authentically and with meaningful depth. Furthermore, we are actively engaged in productive discussions with experts from Cornell Bird Lab, the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), and The RSPB. These conversations are intended to enhance our understanding and knowledge of the species featured in the documentary.
Please see more info on our website here: birdsbeyondborders.com
🎬 Writer/Co-Director - Benjamin Ward 🇬🇧
📝 Writer/Producer - Martha Mutiso 🇰🇪
💼 Co-Producer - Dr Paula Kahumbu 🇰🇪
🎥 Director of Photography/Co-Director - Jimmy Cape 🇬🇧
🎥 Camera Crew: Alex Stevenson 🇬🇧, Benjamin Owuor 🇰🇪, Karim Kara 🇰🇪
🎵Composer - Daniel Capon 🇬🇧
💫GFX - Elliot Baker 🇬🇧
👥 We currently working with a growing team of experts and filmmakers to understand and communicate issues presented by Birds Beyond Borders.
We are seeking £3,500 to produce a rough cut of our documentary, which we will subsequently use to secure sponsorship for its full production. This fund will enable us to wrap-up filming in Africa and initiate the editing process. As we near the end of this campaign, please remember that every gesture counts. Whether you can contribute £5 or £100, your donations are invaluable. 🙏
I'm inspired by urban nesting birds, such as house martins, a perfect demonstration of cohabitation with wildlife. Witnessing the disappearance of these birds is something I could no longer ignore. Collaborating with Martha and our team of experts has reassured me that I'm not alone in this feeling. These birds has allowed us to delve into more than just their decline; we've explored a holistic understanding of climate change, insect decline, and habitat loss. The vision for this film is to make the world feel like a small place, demonstrating that we are all interconnected through nature, catalyzing action. This is a film I’ve been wanting to make for a very long time. - Benjamin Ward
🏠 Is this a film about House Martins?
While not soley focused on house martins, we believe they symbolize many overarching issues in wildlife conservation. We also explore the impact of climate change on other migratory species like bee-eaters, swifts, and flamingos, among others.
📺 Where can I watch the film?
Currently, we plan to hold screenings in 2024 and submit the film to various film festivals. Donors will be informed of these screenings and test screenings, which they can attend for free. Once complete, the film will be screened with an impact strategy to influence policies protecting these animals and guide individuals on how they can contribute.
🗞️ How can I stay up to date?
You can follow the project on our website, or find Birds Beyond Borders on social media. Stay informed about all updates and developments through our social media accounts:
Together, we can make this a success. Thank you for your continued support and for being a pivotal part of our story! 🙏
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- 9 months ago
Birds Beyond Borders9 months ago
Hi Everyone, Thank you, we were fortunate to do some filming in Africa this year! The project is yet to be finished and we still need all the support we can get. Our goal now is to feature the Tana Delta in Kenya: 🚜 The wildlife and communities of Kenya’s Tana Delta are under threat from extractive farming, dams, and drought. 🦩 The Deltas communities hold a unique relationship with migratory birds and a deep understanding of how the wetlands operate. Any continued funds will help us to platform the above in our documentary. THANK YOU
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Nov 25, 2023
Fantastic and much needed work. Good luck.
Nov 24, 2023
Keep up the great work!
Jun 19, 2023
Please expand your work using as much local talent as poss, build up trust with African film-makers, tell us the truth about the N-S migrant birds = can we save them? East and West and South please
Apr 28, 2023
Brilliant work, well done!
Apr 27, 2023
Will be lovely to watch.
Mar 22, 2023
A lovely project and a connection to an area where I spent my childhood.
Mar 21, 2023
I love the swifts that fly through our village every summer- I am sad they are in decline and I would want to watch your documentary about why it is happening- good luck!
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