The Best Work You May Never See: Grey London, Directing Team D.A.R.Y.L. Help "The Birdman" Take Flight For Volvo UK


Robert Goldrich
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020


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Grey London has created a film for Volvo’s “Defiant Pioneers” series for Sky Atlantic. Titled The Birdman, the film--directed by D.A.R.Y.L. (the duo of Edward Lovelace and James Hall) of Pulse Films--celebrates the work of one of the world’s leading conservation biologists. 

Set in Wales and on the beautiful island of Mauritius, the film confronts the damage humans have done to the planet, and highlights the work of one individual who wants to “make the world a more magical, complex and beautiful place.”

Professor Carl Jones MBE--”The Birdman” in the film--has helped to save five bird species from extinction, as well as three reptiles, a fruit bat and several plants. He is best known for his work in conserving the Mauritius kestrel. 

The film starts by depicting Jones as a young man, marveling at his beautiful surroundings and the beauty of the kestrel in the open sky. When you get to know an animal really well, he says, “You can actually enter its world, you start feeling the wind on your skin, it’s like seeing the world in Technicolor. You become alive.” 

But that beauty is threatened because climate change is robbing the world of its biodiversity, it’s only natural defense against rising carbon levels. However, Welsh-born Jones holds on to “tremendous hope for the future,” and recognizes that “only one species can fix it.” 

In 2016 Jones won the Indianapolis Prize, widely regarded as the Nobel Prize for conservation. He is chief scientist of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and founding member of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

The film is the centerpiece of a wider campaign that will run across TV, VOD and social in the UK, and is part of a partnership Volvo Car UK have with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, supporting their projects that work to rewild our world. 

Durrell works worldwide in its mission to save species from extinction, with a focus on long term restoration of ecosystems; helping to absorb CO2, taking it out of the atmosphere. 

The partnership with Durrell and its rewilding projects is another practical step by Volvo Cars to help safeguard and improve our natural world, alongside its aims to reduce the carbon footprint per car by 40% by 2025, for climate neutrality across its manufacturing network by 2025 and to be a climate neutral company by 2040. 

This is the seventh episode in Volvo Car UK and Grey London’s long established “Defiant Pioneers” series, which focuses on the people who are pioneering innovations out of a passion for improving lives and benefiting the world around them. 

Andy Lockley, executive creative director at Grey London, commented “Volvo’s ‘Defiant Pioneers’ film series for Sky Atlantic has redefined channel sponsorship in the UK. Rather than a simple badging exercise, our powerful dramatizations of real-life events has allowed Volvo to engage Sky Atlantic’s audience in a more meaningful way. Each episode reflects Volvo’s brand values or beliefs. The Birdman story highlights Volvo’s commitments to the environment and reducing the carbon footprint of its cars.”


Client Volvo UK Agency Grey London Andy Lockley, executive creative director of content/copywriter/art director; Rachel (Chops) Amess, sr. producer; Maxine Hose, Talia Shear, additional producers; India Smith, assistant producer. Production Pulse Films D.A.R.Y.L., director; Drew O’Neill, producer; Ben Fordesman, DP. Editorial The Assembly Rooms Eve Ashwell, editor. Post/Color MPC Matthieu Toullet, colorist; Edwin Elkington, post producer. VFX Gramercy Park Studios Mark Beardall, VFX artist; Annika Gustavsson, post producer; Zak Kurtha, sound engineer. Music Tom Player, composer; Dom Bastyra, music director @Wake The Town.

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