The Best Work You May Never See: Rosie May Bird Smith Writes, Directs "Herd Immunity" Via Havas Studios, Havas London

By

Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022

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From injecting bleach to drinking cow urine, some pretty wild COVID “cures” have surfaced over the past couple of years. So when gullible 50-something Tony (portrayed by Jonny Freeman) hears an online news report trumping sheep’s wool as effective protection against the virus, what’s a man to do? Throw away his mask, cancel that vaccine appointment, and buy a herd of sheep, of course.

That’s the premise behind Herd Immunity, the hilariously dark, close to the bone short from up-and-coming writer/director Rosie May Bird Smith.

The three-minute film, which follows Tony and his herd ‘til death do them part, is a cutting--but very funny--take on the scourge of fake news and the slightly ignorant, slightly gullible conspiracy theorists that fall for it.

It premiered at the Papaya Young Creators competition in Warsaw, Poland, where it was named Best Film in the Branded Stories category--while London-based Bird Smith was awarded Best Director.

Herd Immunity is a co-production between production studio Havas Studios and creative agency Havas London--where Bird Smith is an award-winning writer and creative--in collaboration with Papaya Films/Papaya Young Creators. 

Bird Smith said, “With Herd Immunity, I wanted to write something simultaneously bizarre and yet rooted in reality; something so utterly ridiculous yet something you could imagine a slightly nutty neighbor doing. Yes, it’s hyperbolized – but given the way fake news spreads nowadays, not impossible.”

Katie Keith, executive producer, Herd Immunity, head of production at Havas London and global head of content at Havas Studios, added, “At Havas, we’re committed to supporting and enabling rising creative talent, and there aren’t many rising faster than Rosie. Simultaneously, we’re on a mission to develop as an exciting and aspirational content production hub, working in new and innovative ways--so when Rosie came to us with this script, we knew we simply had to make this film."

Credits

A co-production between production studio Havas Studios and creative agency Havas London, in collaboration with Papaya Films/Papaya Young Creators. Production Havas Studios Rosie May Bird Smith, writer-director; Paul Ward, global CEO; Katie Keith, global head of content/executive producer; Flo Clive, Adam Javes, executive producers; Femi Anderson, producer & 1st AD; Ella Higgins, production manager; Kaci Njemanze, production assistant; Debbie Ragasa, post producer; Mike Staniforth, DP; Set Sisters, production design; Amanda Bird, wardrobe; Nathalie Abensur, Ella Tanner, makeup. Production Partner Havas London, thanks to Vicki Maguire, Dan Cole, Elliot Harris, Xavier Rees, James Merryweather. In Collaboration With: Papaya Young Creators Marta Fraczek, creative director; Beata Krupa, project coordinator; Kasia Siewko, project lead. Casting Garrett Casting Emma Garrett, Anna Lydon. Editorial Russell Oxenden, editor. Sound Studio Jungle Studios Ben Leeves, sound design. Postproduction Absolute Post Jenna Noury, Rose Crisp, Yasmin Tilly, Mary Musasa, post producers; Juliette Wileman, colorist; Antonio Jimenez, Flame artist; Tommy Coulter-Liston, Nuke artist; Lorenzo Fruzza, title design; Luke Remon, Morgan Shipley, Sam Adams, news report design; Jonny Meakin, storyboard artist.

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