Award of Merit – “The Bird of Paradise” (USA)

Title: The Bird of Paradise
Runtime: 18 min
Country: USA
Director: David Painter
Placement: Award of Merit
Competition: March, 2023

Synopsis: “The Bird of Paradise” tells the story of Emma, a young girl struggling with her identity. She is indecisive and insecure, changing her hair color just as much as she changes her friend group. She is comparing her life to everyone around her, never stopping long enough to appreciate the one she has. Parties never satisfy, and Emma is always the alienated one who feels bad for not having “fun”. The negativity of her family at home and friends at school continue to stifle her optimism. The only thing that she goes back to are the fleeting memories of her grandfather, one of the few moments she felt comfortable to be herself. Eventually Emma reaches a breaking point, where she doesn’t know where (or who) to turn to next. When a memory with her grandpa about a unique species of bird aligns with her current inner conflict, she finally takes a needed turn… To the mirror, and to herself. Emma notices herself beginning to find beauty in the small things around her and realize more of what it means to be comfortable in your own skin (or hair).