Private Project

Mad About Pigeons

A 14 minute long film chocka-block with everything you need to know about pigeons, and how 2 people have come to love the grey poop machines. It's a heart-warming, funny and ridiculous film that proves humans love runs strong for any and all underdogs.

  • Zoe-Rose Herbert
  • Zoe-Rose Herbert
  • Timothy Phimester
  • Jared Standen
  • Don Campbell
  • Emma Young
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    comedy, underdog sports, documentary
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 25, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    200 NZD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    New Zealand
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Zoe-Rose Herbert

The first household to get SKY in her neighbourhood, Zoe-Rose debated to her parents that there were several very educational channels for her to watch, and that the television would be switched to such channels as the Discovery Channel, and National Geographic, ‘none of this, MTV nonsense for me mum’. But what began as a cunning plan to see the latest destinies child music video actually became the truth; there were a lot of magical things to be seen on these documentary channels. Though, good at getting her way, Zoe-Rose was a pretty easy child to handle because to distract her, she only needed to be left on a shore line, with at least one rock pool to study for hours on end, she was the child that dreamt of becoming a marine biologist and never grew out of it. Having these channels now at her disposal, watching footage of the deepest oceans and most colourful reefs, Zoe-Rose knew that she was going to be doing the same thing one day.
Zoe-Rose is one year off from finishing a Marine Biology degree and a Film degree, taking one year off to reconnect with the practical side of film by studying at SouthSeas Film School.
Although Zoe-Rose aims to one day show the underwater world that she loves so much with the rest of us, through her studies, she has become interested in uncovering the people behind marine discoveries too, and telling the stories of people who dedicate their lives to such extreme studies.
With a history in sales and a love for performing her background has helped her build a bold, bright personality, wanting to be able to one day be the presenter of her documentaries and be able to bring some humour to the extraordinary topics as well.
Mad About Pigeons has been such a fascinating process and has seen Zoe-Rose meet some pretty amazing people along the way. From the first shoot where she shuddered at the thought of touching a pigeon, to the last, where she was down and dirty with 20+ of the things on top of her, she’s done a lot of learning about the world of documentary film making, but has loved every second of the process.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Living ‘down under’ us kiwis have to work damn hard to get recognised for anything, because of this we’re all too familiar with the tale of the underdog, and it resonates with us both personally and culturally, but what’s more of an underdog story than the story of pigeons? Even us kiwi’s take them for granted, making them an underdog in the world of underdogs. This film follows the few New Zealanders who definitely don’t take these grey feathered poop machines for granted. We meet Don, the elite pigeon racer, who works very hard to turn these birds into champions, and Mouce whose heart is just too big to worry only about human kind, and she’s now become a part time pigeon rescuer and along the way we meet the many friends that they have made over a shared love of the birds. It’s a story that will make you think twice about glaring at that person in the park scattering breadcrumbs to the ‘diseased rats of the sky’.
Personally, I’m an animal lover, though mainly my love is directed towards the marine side of animals, as I am currently studying a BSc in Marine Biology. My love of the ocean came before my love of film but once film caught up, my dream to become a wildlife filmmaker was one that just had to come to fruition. But why pigeons? The idea came as most ideas do, a couple of pints down and laughing with friends, but this one, unlike the many others wasn’t one to be drowned by the next sip. With my marine studies I meet people dedicating their lives to extremely important creatures that most people couldn’t even pronounce the name of, let alone begin to take them for granted, and I know it’s cliché to say, but people like this are the real unsung heroes. And so what is a young student like myself to do with no money and only very limited resources? I’m not hiring an underwater film crew any time soon, so the first logical step is to find the story I’m looking for in my backyard, and from there? It wasn’t a hard choice at all to make a film about pigeons.
The film is most definitely quirky, but what I did not want to do was to have my audience sit through 15 minutes of pigeon facts and to leave bewildered by what they just saw, don’t get me wrong having dived into the world of pigeon lovers myself, there would be a few people that would go gaga over that, but, like a ‘magician whose only trick is to guess the person’s name, and has only ever asked “Molly?”, both have a very niche audience. Therefore my aim was to cater for everyone, and show that it’s okay to laugh with these people on screen, because, they’re laughing just as much. In this way, it allows us all to relate to the characters much more, and suspend our realities for a while and become pigeon lovers too, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
Music plays a significant role in allowing people to laugh while also taking in the big picture. Ambient, serious music is played in between quirky, fun music, lifting and dropping the seriousness of the film when necessary. The film weaves the two characters’ lives in and out, finding similarities in the lives of two very different people, often rather comically. Although following two peoples lives in such a short time is unconventional, I am channelling the feeling of the documentary film, ‘The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill’, where the initially crazy character ends up being adored, because, although it’s a strange, silly adoration for one to have, in the end, they still battle the same problems that everyone battles doing what they love.