Flying High, Longlist - Short Film - Non Fiction


Tom Mustill

Gripping Films

Greta asked me to make this film for International Biodiversity Day on a topic that she thinks we are failing to communicate - that many of our problems are interlinked, and come down to our broken relationship with nature. ​ It’s a challenging and complex subject and hard to distill. How do you allow people to make up their own minds and not turn away? How do you show this stuff visually without it being depressing? In a short film it was particularly challenging to explain the connections between these topics, so we went for universal symbols and tried to do this connection visually, making chapters through the film. I also wanted to show Greta as I've come to know her - as a young adult, an animal lover, someone with a sometimes impish sense of humour and a very elegant person. I hoped that this might help the audience relate to her and connect to what she is saying. Working on this with Greta as the driving force of the story in the film and Bram, who edited it was really creatively satisfying. Bram did about the most complex short documentary edit I've ever seen. There were so many nested sequences in this tiny film - it's like a faberge egg! We were fortunate that George Fitzgerald donated his track to us, it gives the film so much energy. These interconnected issues have no single solution, and as she says in the film, ‘Some of us have lots of choices, while some have none at all.’ I hope this helps people engage with their place in this story and with their relationship to nature. Because if we don't change.... The films production costs were sponsored by Mercy For Animals. One amazing place it ended up was on a billboard in Times Square!

Tom is a director and writer who works on stories where humans and nature meet. He started directing longer form multi-award winning nature films for the BBC, Nat Geo and PBS, working with David Attenborough and others. More recently he has focussed on short form and viral work aimed at galvanising rapid change, better treatment of and connection to the environment. He is fascinated by the opportunities for connecting people with nature that modern technology have created. Tom is a 'Low-Carbon, High-Impact' pioneer: making films with maximum impact, while working to limit their environmental footprint to help get the industry to meet its 2030 carbon goals. He was recognised for this work by being made an Ambassador for the BAFTA ALBERT Film and Television Sustainability scheme.