The Thing That Ate The Birds

Head Gamekeeper Abel discovers the Thing that is eating his Grouse and brings the horror back home to his already crumbling relationship with his wife.

Directed and Written by Sophie Mair & Dan Gitsham, Produced by Jude Golrei and Rebecca Wolff


Production Company Sketchbook Pictures, Grasp The Nettle Films Ltd and Lunar Lander Films


Year complete 2021

Run time 12 Minutes

© Michael Goldrei 2019

Currently unavailable to watch online. For booking enquires please contact, sketchbook Pictures Lunar Lander Films

Writen and Directed by Sophie Mair and Dan Gitsham

Writer/Directors Sophie Mair and Dan Gitsham are partners in life and film. They have been creatively collaborating since 2007 in the world of genre. They have screened at over 150 film festivals worldwide. They joined forces with genre producers Jude Goldrei and Rebecca Wolff and received funding from BFI Network and Gunpowder & Sky to create THE THING THAT ATE THE BIRDS (TTTATB). They are now in development with a feature entitled GINGER. They are BFI NETWORK BAFTA CREW.
Produced by Jude Golrei and Rebecca Wolff
Jude founded Lunar Lander Films to produce diverse, smart genre films with international appeal. Based in Sheffield, Lunar Lander films received a BFI Vision Award. Jude has worked for UKFC, British Council, Into Film, BBC and Bankside Films and produced award-winning shorts for Director’s UK, Channel 4, Bumble, BFI and Gunpowder & Sky. She was selected for Binger Filmlab, Vipers Nest, iFeatures, and Guiding Lights.
Rebecca Wolff has produced a number of shorts funded by BFI, Creative England, Female Film Force/Bumble, Alter, The Guardian. She was part of the Edinburgh Talent Lab 2019 and Les Arcs co-production village 2018. She cofounded CE50 company Grasp The Nettle Films and has a slate of short and feature projects she is developing,

Film Still © Michael Goldrei 2019

SXSW Festival Laurel. Image © Michael Goldrei 2019

Festival Selections

  • BFI London Short Film Festival 2021, UK
  • South By South West 2021, USA
  • Indy Shorts International Film Festival 2021, USA Winner HEARTLAND HORROR AWARD
  • Sundance London 2021, UK
  • Indielisboa – International Film Festival 2021, Portugal
  • Encounters Film Festival 2021, UK
  • Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2021, USA Winner BEST SHORT FILM SCREENPLAY
  • MOTELX Lisbon International Horror Film Festival 2021, Portugal SPECIAL MENTION for the Méliès d’argent Award – Best European Short Film
Having the support of the BFI Network to make this very personally film was invaluable, and their trust gave us the confidence to express ourselves through music and animation alone. Chris Hees, Producer

Festival Awards

  • Flickers’ Vortex Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Film Festival 2021, USA Winner GRAND PRIZE – BEST HORROR SHORT
  • Knoxville Horror Film Fest 2021, USA Winner BEST SCRIPT
  • Celluloid Screams 2021, UK Honourable MentionCell
  • Adore Film Festival 2021, UK Winner AUDIENCE AWARD
  • Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2021, USA Winner BEST SHORT FILM SCREENPLAY
  • Indy Shorts International Film Festival 2021, USA Winner HEARTLAND HORROR AWARD
  • MOTELX Lisbon International Horror Film Festival 2021, Portugal SPECIAL MENTION for the Méliès d’argent Award – Best European Short Film,
“The BFI NETWORK have been dream creative partners and really supportive in the making of ‘The Thing That Ate The Birds’. We feel incredibly lucky and encouraged by the experience. They have offered us so much guidance and their involvement, along with our co-financier ALTER, has helped us to entice fantastic cast, crew, and other collaborators to the film, as well as helping us attract interest from festival programmers and press.” Sophie Mair, Co Writer and Director
“In a unique approach to the horror genre, the team describes the concept for The Thing That Ate The Birds as having evolved from “a response to the distrust and cruelty that seems to characterise the rise of far-right politics, embodied through leading man Abel’s [Eoin Slattery] confrontation with the unknown amongst the grouse moor he considers his home.” BRISTOL CITY OF FILM
“Of all the films showing across the Midnight strand, both short and feature, it is this one that is most likely to induce heart palpitations…” THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS
“The Thing That Ate The Birds is an incredibly strong little piece of filmmaking, cramming more loaded imagery and anxiousness into eleven minutes than a lot of feature-length releases manage in ten times that length.” HORROR BUZZ
”Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair strike a perfect balance between familial drama and suspenseful, gory horror.” GRUESOME MAGAZINE
“It’s a film that lingers with you.” SYFY.COM

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