Duration: 6 minutes
Written by Jack Sindely.
A story of a young girl who attempts to reconnect with her long-dead mother, on her birthday.
Birthday was a wonderful script from the the first time I read it. Jack Sindely, the writer, encapsulated everything that it needed, to tell a story that was heartwarming and emotionally relatable, with simple imagery. We knew we could achieve his vision and touch the audience with the message we wanted to get across, whilst still staying on budget and time. On the shoot days we all worked hard and fast, even late into the evening to achieve the shots we needed and managed to capture the essence that made it so special. The crew was fantastic and the actors were wonderfully engaging and dedicated.
Oliver Bury is a full time filmmaker, working at a small production company in South London where takes on roles such as director, director of photography, producer, editor and colourist.
He first went to drama school to study Acting, and found a passion for writing and directing as a result. He is currently writing a short to be produced next year.
Birthday was magical from start to finish. When I first read the script, written by Jack Sindely, I wanted to make this film. Fortunately the members agreed with me and chose it as our next film.
Olivers interpretation of the film was pretty close to the writers which is not that usual.
It is a “sweet” film that leaves you feeling good at the end. What more could you ask from a shot film.
|1st Assistant Director||Howard Perry|
|Director of Photography||Frank Hammond|
|James (Dad)||Tristan Pretty|
|Kathy (Mum)||Florence Fox|
For full cast and crew list, see our IMDB page
Birthday – Independent Review
By Rehan Anabassi – Film Critic
The Birthday is a fantasy short film directed by Oliver Bury. Produced and released under the banner of the indie studios ‘WeMakeFilms Productions’, the eight-minute short is a magical twist on a tale of a daughter’s undying love for her mother, set in a suburban community.
The film stars Rachel Wright (“Jitters” and “Goodbye Danny”) as the lead character Ivyn and Florence Fox (“Two” and “The Leak”) as her mother Kathy. In addition, Tristan Pretty (“A Throne of Shadows” and “Cyborg Invasion”) also stars as Ivyn’s loving father.
The film tells the story of a suburban girl Ivyn, devastated by the early loss of her mother. Ivyn spends her days fantasising what life would be like if her mother were alive, and her pain is exacerbated by the sadness she sees every day in her father’s eyes.
Life for the family is just not the same without the presence of Kathy; her absence hanging upon the family like an incomplete story. In her sadness and desperation, Ivyn stumbles upon a book that just may help bring her mother back.
Developing a magic potion with the help of this mysterious book, Ivyn decides to bring her mother back on the day of her birth. Going with her father to her mother’s grave, Ivyn rubs the potion on her hands and places them on the tree beside her grave, hoping for a miracle. Several moments pass but nothing happens. Suddenly, both Ivyn and her father are surprised by the appearance of a mysterious visitor dressed in white.
Taking inspiration from top tier fantasy dramas such as “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Lovely Bones”, the minds behind “The Birthday” succeed in creating an authentic portrayal of a broken family longing to reunite with their loved one. The element of fantasy introduced into this conundrum is done organically and in a way that doesn’t feel forced or contrived.
The cinematography is crisp; improving the visual feel of both the indoors and outdoors with effective use of shadows and colour hues. The use of blue hues in outdoor shots is particularly impressive as it aids in conveying emotions in a nonverbal manner. This helps the script keep exposition to a minimum which is a positive aspect in any character-driven drama. Taken together with colour grading, the static and dynamic shots help create the somewhat sombre mood of the film. Furthermore, the soundtrack adds a much-needed depth to the narrative and elevates both the emotional and the fantastical bits of the story.
The characters are fleshed out pretty early in the film and the pace of the film expertly switches from slow and sombre to kinetic, depending on the narrative. The filmmakers not only succeed in creating a funereal atmosphere but also introduce narrative tension towards the end when Ivyn casts the spell hoping for a miracle to happen as the characters anxiously wait for a sign of hope.
The acting is fantastic from both the father and the daughter and this significantly helps in making the audience believe in the emotions behind the story. For a short film of this genre, the finale is heartwarming and satisfactory; providing closure to both the characters and the audience. This is helped by the fact that the sombre mood of the film switches to hope and happiness towards the end.
Oliver Burry’s “The Birthday” puts a fresh spin on a familiar story by elevating the emotional impact of the death of a loved one and using this to propel the main character into drastic and reckless decisions. The film is a powerful, sentimental and contentious expression of a daughter’s eternal love for her mother, and is also a reminder that even in death, our loved ones never really ever leave us.