❉ Singer Janet Devlin makes her acting debut in a short indie fantasy film with fairytale elements.
“Director Black easily conjures up an ambience that is reminiscent of those eighties fantasy staples Legend and Labyrinth, which is particularly impressive on the limited resources that she and her crew would have had to work with.”
Songbird is a short fantasy/musical with fairytale elements starring Janet Devlin, former contestant on Saturday night telly staple The X Factor turned indie singer-songwriter. It is a simple little tale of a young singer with a breathy and enticing singing voice who runs into a supernatural figure named here as only The Collector (played by Therese Collins and reminiscent of Meryl Streep’s witch from Into The Woods), who is envious of her natural talents.
“In the lead role, Janet Devlin, whose breathy singing and self-penned songs mark her out from the usual X-Factor crowd.. has a natural screen presence and acting ability that show she has just as much talent in front of a camera as she does with a guitar.”
The director of Songbird, Sophie Black, has directed a couple of shorts before this, and has stated that she was inspired to take up filmmaking after seeing Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Lord of The Rings and it definitely shows here, not that that is a bad thing. Indeed, one can see other influences at play here particularly in the more fantastical sequences set in an enchanted forest where The Collector resides with her trove of stolen singing voices. Black easily conjures up an ambience that is reminiscent of those eighties fantasy staples Legend and Labyrinth, which is particularly impressive on the limited resources that she and her crew would have had to work with.
In the lead role, Janet Devlin, whose breathy singing and self-penned songs mark her out from the usual X-Factor crowd of untalented fame seekers who only proceed into the oblivion of obscurity, has a natural screen presence and acting ability that show she has just as much talent in front of a camera as she does with a guitar.
The rest of the actors do not have that natural screen presence that the lead has and the non-fantastical sequences lack the ambience that the forest scenes conjure up easily. However even with these issues Songbird is a diverting watch that seems tailor made for an audience with the same taste in fantasy cinema as the director clearly shows a love for here.
Shorts like these are always interesting as they are often from directors hungry to share their vision however limited the budget is. If given the opportunity Black, and maybe even Devlin too, could give an audience hungry for fantasy cinema exactly what they are looking for if they manage to get the time and resources to bring something to the screen that is not compromised by the likes of a limited budget. Chances are that it will definitely be worth checking out.
❉ ‘Songbird’ (2018) Director: Sophie Black. Writer: Tommy Draper. Starring Janet Devlin, Therese Collins, and Oliver Park. Produced by Triskelle Pictures.
❉ ‘Songbird’ received its Irish premiere at Fastnet Film Festival, Schull (Wednesday 23rd-Saturday 26th May) ahead of its main festival run. You can find out more on Triskelle Pictures’ website and via Triskelle Pictures’ Facebook page. Follow on Twitter: @TriskellePics
❉ Iain MacLeod was raised on the North coast of Scotland on a steady diet of 2000AD and Moviedrome. Now living in Glasgow as a struggling screenwriter he still buys too many comics and blu-rays. Has never seen a ghost but heard two talking in his bedroom when he was 4.