Mongrel Media has acquired Canadian rights for “The Birds Who Fear Death” by Indo-Canadian filmmaker Sanjay Patel.
Patel is best known for “Union Leader,” which won top awards at the Sao Paolo and Zurich festivals.
“The Birds Who Fear Death” follows the Spence brothers, Adam and Ryan, whose every action is motivated by their financial interests. They are waiting for their sick father, William, to die so they can purchase a restaurant business using their inheritance. Upon William’s death, the brothers discover that William gave away his inheritance to the indigenous people of Bird — a rural hamlet in Northern Canada. The only way the brothers can get the wealth back is to convince the chief of the band, Ed Whitford, to disclaim the estate. The brothers embark on a journey to northern Canada with little expectations of the adventures they would encounter that would set events beyond their control in motion.
The film has a majority indigenous cast that includes Adam Beach (“Flags of Our Fathers”), Simon Baker (“Smoke Signals”) and Graham Greene (Oscar nominee for “Dances with Wolves”) and also several key crew members.
Greene said: “After reading the script, I felt this story needs to be told. I have always seen a lot of land rights taken away from our people and exploitation over the years.”
Patel added: “‘The Birds Who Fear Death’ is a heart-touching story; the story is told against the backdrop of industrial development and its impact on the Indigenous communities. I’m highly familiar with the subject; I spent several years researching the topic before we greenlit the project. So many meaningful and relatable things in the story will appeal to the audience with its inclusivity and self-discovery tale. And that’s why when I approached Adam Beach, Graham Greene and other actors, they immediately agreed to join the project.”
The film is now set for a global festival run.