The Mourning Bird
A coming of age short film that takes an intimate look into the grieving process of a 13 year old boy.
The Mourning Bird
The Mourning Bird is a coming of age short film, born from true events. Complex and sensitive themes of adolescence, morality, family, knife crime and grief intertwine as our protagonist attempts to progress throughout the story.
After the murder of his older brother, thirteen year old Ky's first encounter with grief forces him to find closure in an unlikely way.
Ky struggles to articulate the way he has been affected and begins to close off completely when those around him are able to express how they're feeling and move forward.
We observe his behaviour in the run up to the funeral, as he learns to navigate his way through bereavement and begins to face a world without his older brother.
Early Storyboards by Joe Francis Totti
The Mourning Bird is loosely based on events I experienced during my teenage years. I’ve seen the effect that needless acts of violence and the subsequent deaths can have on families and those around them. It has always been a topic I’ve wanted to explore creatively, but have had reservations and inner conflict as I have found most portrayals, the glorification of and the handling of these stories, insensitive.
So often when dealing with trauma and rapidly changing emotion young men and young black men in particular are labelled angry, rebellious individuals. I want to acknowledge and move away from that stigma, it is beneficial to nobody.
These stories are important to tell, it is even more important to put a film out there with aims to combat knife crime that isn't about revenge.
I want to identify a starting point, a crucial moment in time where teenagers in this country are potentially a risk to themselves and their emotional development. In the absence of a supportive government and a blatant lack of care for the next generation of working class children, we can learn to understand where we can step in as friends, family and peers in allowing them a space to talk and work through those troubles.
From a technical standpoint I've taken a large amount of inspiration from Kenneth Lonergans 'Manchester By The Sea'. Lonergan uses silence and distance to highlight the vulnerability of his characters whilst they battle with grief. A technique I want to incorporate in TMB, through both the cinematography and sound (or the lack of). We'll be very much occupying the same space and environment that projects such as Netflix' 'Topboy', 'ill Manors' and Sarah Gavron's 'Rocks' exist in.
I've been working closely with our DOP Courtney Bennett over the past 12 months and will continue to do so, making sure we capture stunning, cinematic imagery. Light and sound will be key components in capturing the contrast between our character's journeys.
As an Actor my only goal is to find truth, to serve the story honestly. I will encourage that as much as I possibly can with our cast. Our casting process has already revealed to us the calibre of performances we will see from our key cast, Courtney and I will be sure to capture the nuance and depth of those performances.
George Somner Writer/Director
George has been working within the TV & Film industry for the last 8 years, primarily as an Actor. Credits include Sex Education (Netflix); Crawl (Paramount); People,Places & Things (National Theatre) and upcoming This Is Going To Hurt (BBC). The Mourning Bird will be George's first short film as Writer/Director.
George has been developing The Mourning Bird since being accepted onto two Creative Mentor Network programmes, in association with BFI, Screenskills & Soho House.
Dayo Moshood Producer
Before entering the Film and Advertising Industry, Dayo started his professional career in Accounting. However due to his love for Music and Narratives, he made the transition into Production.
In the past two years Dayo has worked tirelessly as a Producer and Production manager on Music Videos for the likes of Joel Culpepper, Tom Misch, Knucks, Clean Bandit, Wes Nelson, U2, Martin Garrix and has also been part of Productions for narrative pieces funded by the BFI & BBC.
Courtney Bennett Cinematographer
Courtney has worked extensively in commercials for the likes of Apple, Red Bull and High Snobiety. Music videos for artists such as Ghetts, Dua Lipa and Disclosure. More recently he has been applying his creative vision to Short and Feature films. He has cemented himself within the new wave of filmmakers, working alongside up and coming directors such as Dumas Haddad, Shan Phearon & Dominic Oriordan. Courtney is repped by Vision Artists.
Slick Films Exec Producers
We’re blessed to have Chris Overton & Rebecca Harris of Academy Award winning Slick Films oversee the project as Executive Producers. From an IndieGoGo campaign all the way to the Oscars, Chris directed and produced 'The Silent Child' which picked up the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018. They continue to be a vital component in the making of 'The Mourning Bird' and their support will continue throughout the films development.
We are so excited to introduce newcomer Kaynan Jacobs as Ky.
His performances throughout the audition process were nuanced, honest and free of inhibitions.
He holds an emotional maturity that enables him to connect with the complex emotional journey that Ky takes throughout the film.
We can't wait for you to see Kaynan bring Ky to life.
Lorna Brown as Gloria.
Credits for TV Devils, Trying, Chewing Gum, Press. For film Les Miserables, The Jungle Book, World War Z. For theatre Bodies, Torn, Clybourne Park (Royal Court), Wings (Young Vic), Medea (National Theatre)
We spoke in detail with Lorna about the social impact we hope to achieve with this film. She has a particular interest in working with young upcoming talent on projects that can challenge audiences and begin to make change.
Lorna is a formidable actress and we can't wait for you to see how her Gloria will guide this story.
Attaching a talented and experienced cast and crew is paramount in ensuring this film can reach the heights we have hopes to achieve. We want to make sure all cast and crew are paid and that we create a supportive and enjoyable environment throughout production to keep spirits and creative ability at its peak.
Location plays a huge factor in the making of The Mourning Bird, we will be spending around 75% of the shoot in one location. Finding the right location that not only allows us to capture the essence of the film but that also offers us to work safely and efficiently is instrumental.
We believe it's important to be as transparent as possible when it comes to our budget. The £14,000 target we have set will cover all of our costs for getting this film shot. Below is a diagram showing where your contributions will be going.
Stretch Goal 1
If we reach £16,000, we will be able to cover the cost for post-production. This includes editing, sound mixing, music and grading.
Stretch Goal 2
Our aim is to submit this short for Film Festivals in 2022. £17,000 will help us increase our advertising and festival budget to put ’’The Mourning Bird’ onto screens to ensure the film gets the recognition it deserves.
The Mourning Bird is a story that we're confident will challenge patterns of behaviour, ask questions and ignite conversations. Questions regarding how young men in particular deal with trauma and challenging emotion. How do we progress as a community? In what ways can we help not only prevent needless acts of violence but ensure that those that are effected are given the space and opportunity to talk openly about how much they are hurting?
We aim to work closely with charities across the UK, ensuring children who may find themselves in vulnerable situations, similar to KYs, have the opportunity to see this story.
Equally our goal is to create a beautifully crafted film that showcases the incredible talent we have working on this film. Upon completion, The Mourning Bird will be entered into film festivals across the world to further implement and encourage change.
For those that want to make a contribution to The Mourning Bird, check out the perks we're offering on the right hand side of the page, no contribution is too small.
If you would like to keep up to date with the films progress, you can follow us on:
Instagram - @TheMourningBird
Twitter - @TMBShortFilm
Finally, a huge thank you from all of us. Thank you for your time and energy, for sharing our campaign and of course, for your contributions. This is a massive team effort and wouldn't be possible without your help and generosity.