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Cristina Ballesteros

Birdy, she's always watching

Real Stories


Six friends sail down the Mississippi, one of the most polluted rivers in the world, on a raft made of plastic bottles, to explore how plastic and other pollution is affecting America’s iconic river. The raft, constructed from used bottles and other repurposed materials, travels down the second longest river in the USA for 56 days. Enthusiastic but inexperienced, the crew of young friends are battered by extreme weather changes, an infestation of bugs, boat breakages and the realities of finding shelter every evening in time for nightfall.

GOLD AWARD at the Spotlight Documentary Film Festival.


distillery & Little Dot Studios

Commissioning Editor

Adam Gee

Executive Producer 

Alex Hryniewicz

Executive Producer 

Andy Taylor

Executive Producer 

Deb Charles

Birdy, she's always watching

With the arrival of spring, Birdy is out in her garden doing what she loves most: bird-watching.

Year after year she looks out for them and year after year they come back, Ginnie, Pete, and little Jack (Sparrow). But what happens when she gets too close, and passion turns into obsession?

Directed by Cristina Ballesteros

Written by  Cristina Ballesteros and Liam Aldridge

Cast: Susannah Scott

Producer: Rebecca Groves

Executive Producer: Deborah Charles 

Production Coordinator: Rika Kulsavat

Production Runners: Sarah Khan & Libby Cadman

Director of Photography: Candida Richardson

Camera Assistant: Shizuka Hata

Gaffer: Oliver Schofield

Sound Recordist: Adam Chestnutt

Art Director & Stylist: Anna Kezia Williams

Ornithologist & illustrator: Omar Custodio

Motion graphic designer: Sandra La Ginjol

Editor: Alex Cid

Colour Grader: Albano Bermejo Álvarez

Sound design & music composer: Michael Palmer

Shot on Super16mm.

Processed & scanned by @cinelabuk @kodak_shootfilm

Written and directed by Cristina Ballesteros, ‘Birdy’ is a short drama film that explores a woman’s fascination with birds. Susannah Scott stars as ‘Birdy’ – the sole character. The film delves into Birdy’s bond with her garden birds and her childhood with her bird-loving father. The short acts as a psychological study of the character and is shot in 16mm to give the film a makeshift finish.

The 9-minute film opens with Birdy observing her beloved birds with binoculars. Her garden is a haven of self-crafted bird-feeders. Birdy breaks the fourth-wall throughout – speaking to the audience directly about her passion for bird-watching. Her intense interest reveals much about the character’s psyche – a lonely woman in desperate need for friendship/companionship or a way to connect to her late-father. Birdy has given the wild birds a name, accompanied with a narrative – revealing her unapologetic obsession. In one particular scene, whilst speaking about her fall out with Jason (a bird), she fidgets with a kitchen knife – exposing her troubling mindset.

Susannah Scott’s portrayal as Birdy is alluring and engaging from start to finish. A tense performance, albeit with a charming introduction. The brilliant use of 16mm cinematography delivers a colorful finish that viewers will find magical. Cristina Ballesteros’ experimental narrative deserves high praise. An interesting watch. Highly recommended.

Short Films Matter Review

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