Wednesday, December 30, 2015


 The Messenger

WHEN: THU JAN 7 | 7:30pm
WHERE: Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore
TICKETS: ADV: $10, $7 mbrs. DOOR: $12, $9 mbrs.

Co-hosted in partnership with Audubon Maryland-DC and Lights Out Baltimore.

Su Rynard’s wide-ranging and contemplative documentary THE MESSENGER explores our deep-seated connection to birds and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

On one level, THE MESSENGER is the artful story about the mass depletion of songbirds on multiple continents, and about those who are working to turn the tide. According to international expert Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, who is featured in the documentary, we may have lost almost half the songbirds that filled the skies fifty years ago.

On another level, THE MESSENGER is an engaging, visually stunning, three-act emotional journey, one that mixes its elegiac message with hopeful notes and unique glances into the influence of songbirds on our own expressions of the soul. For example, a German composer, DJ and bird-watching enthusiast, Dominik Eulberg incorporates bird-sounds seamlessly into techno music and introduces us to the use of birdsongs in Wagnerian opera.
Ultimately, the messenger is about what the birds have to tell us about the state of our planet and our shared future. In the words of Boreal biologist Erin Bayne, “Could we live without birds? We don’t really know for sure… That’s one of the fundamental concerns when you play with nature, pull one piece out, and maybe that’s a pivotal piece, we just don’t know.”

Creative Alliance is thrilled to co-host this event with the Maryland Audubon Society, Lights Out Baltimore, and the Phoenix Wildlife Center.  Representatives will be available for a Q&A immediately following the film, providing information about action we can take in Baltimore in the pursuit of conservation.

The Audubon Maryland-DC, established in 2000, encompasses Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton, Maryland, Patterson Park Audubon Center in Baltimore City, an Important Bird Area Program and five chapter-owned sanctuaries.

Lights Out Baltimore was formed by a group of concerned birdwatchers in the Baltimore Bird Club who had seen firsthand the toll lights and windows play on birds. Our goal is to make Charm City safe for migratory birds by turning out decorative lighting in the city during peak migration seasons, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and to advocate for bird-safe building design that makes glass and windows visible to birds.


For thousands of years, songbirds were regarded by mankind as messengers from the gods. Today, these creatures – woven inextricably into the fabric of our environment – are vanishing at an alarming rate. Under threat from climate change, pesticides and more, populations of hundreds of species have dipped dramatically. As scientists, activists, and bird enthusiasts investigate this phenomenon, amazing secrets of the bird world come to light for the first time in this acclaimed and visually thrilling documentary. Find out what’s killing our songbirds, and what can be done about it. As in ancient times, songbirds may once again be carrying a message to humans – one that we ignore at our own peril. This film won the prize for Best Conservation Program at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

Special thanks to Audubon Maryland-DC, Lights Out Baltimore, and the Phoenix Wildlife Center.


"Traveling the world to spotlight challenges and solutions, filmmaker Su Rynard never loses sight of the [songbirds'] sheer beauty, or their emotional and symbolic pull as perceived intermediaries between the earthly and spiritual.”—Variety

"The Messenger hums with the kind of restless energy that’s all too rare for an eco-doc... a testament to Rynard’s success at finding so many dynamic human subjects all striving to save songbirds." —The Hollywood Reporter 


Su Rynard is a filmmaker who has has won numerous accolades and awards for her films and media art. Her work is often inspired by science, and most recently ecology. Her dramatic feature film “Kardia” (2006), a meditation on the human heart, was awarded the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize (USA). Her feature documentary “Dream Machine” (2000) was produced by The National Film Board of Canada. Rynard’s films have screened at film festivals such as The Toronto International Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Shanghai International Film Festival, and the Fajr International Film Festival.

"Humans share an ageless bond with birds, their song, and their persistent presence in our lives. In the past, humans looked to the flights and songs of birds to predict the future. Today once again, the birds have something to tell us."— SU RYNARD