|2003, 18 mins. (NYU)
Director/Writer/Editor: Janet McIntyre.
Producers: Liz Foley, Dan Meisel
Director of Photography: Rory Hanrahan
Production Designers: Martha Almy, Alan Rackham
Cast: Eden Durbin Schwartz, Greg Shamie.
|In the elegant symmetry of Janet McIntyre's Bird in Hand, the ambitions of a budding adolescent composer find an echo in a lab-raised bird trying, as the heroine is, to find his song in a confining atmosphere. McIntyre, who was born in Chicago and now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she chairs the film and video department at the Art Institute of Portland, had no experience in ornithology before making Bird in Hand. "My introduction to the field was when I made my film," she says.
McIntyre has made independent and Hollywood fiction films, documentaries, and commercials. Her documentary Covered Girls is about Muslim American teenage girls in post-9/11 New York City.
Like many of the other films produced by Sloan filmmakers, Bird in Hand gave McIntyre a chance to actually work with a scientist. She explains, "I researched for over six months, working very closely with Dr. Partha Mitra, a Harvard-trained neurologist who at the time was studying zebra finches and specifically how the bird's brain changes as it acquires song. Dr. Mitra consulted with me on all stages of the script to maintain technical accuracy and generously served as my on-set adviser as well." The laboratory scenes in Bird in Hand were shot in an actual bird lab in New York, with lab researchers cast as extras. McIntyre also worked with a "birder" to record the regional birdcalls that make up the dense soundtrack. Watching McIntyre's film and listening to the calls of those birds, we sense that the director, like her young heroine, has an instinctive affinity for the beauty of their song.
|Bird song mnemonics, Tomm Lorenzin|
Song learning, University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana
Birds sing in their sleep, BBC
Bird in Hand on imdb.com