Black Out the Sky

Logline: During a world-wide famine, the city of St. John's, NL, finds itself over-run by a massive murder of ravenous crows.

Synopsis: In the midst of a global famine, the isolated island city of St. John's, Newfoundland, finds itself the target of an ever growing Murder of hungry and desperate crows. The Captain of a local fishing vessel, Liam Murphy, must lead his crew through the perils wrought by the cunning and relentless birds. Utmost in Liam's mind, is reaching his wife Ingrid, before the ravenous murder descends on the city.

  • Chris Donald Griffin
    "Mansion of Terror" (short film), "Grow the Fuck Up!" (short film), "A Match Made in Heaven" (short film), "Christmas Stuffing" (short film), "Those Hidden Amongst Us: Bar Tab" (short film), "There can be only One" (short film), "Pillow Fight" (short film).
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  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Horror
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  • Student Project:
  • Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, 2020
    Buffalo, New York
    August 28, 2020
    Won 1st place for “Unproduced Screenplay”
  • Austin After Dark Film Festival, Summer 2020
    Austin, Texas
    June 14, 2020
    Won “Best International Screenplay”
  • Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival, Fall 2020
    Portland, Oregon
    October 8, 2020
    Won “Best Dark Science Fiction Feature Screenplay”
  • Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival, Fall 2020
    Portland, Oregon
    October 8, 2020
    Nominated for “Best International Feature Screenplay Award”
Writer Biography - Chris Donald Griffin

Back in 2009 I created Angry Bear Film Productions as an entity to produce my films under.

Before anything, I started out performing improv comedy. My goofy imagination eventually branched off into writing, and then filmmaking.

I have written/directed/produced seven short films. I wrote eight feature screenplays, and I co-wrote two other feature screenplays.  In addition to this, I wrote three tv/streaming pilots.

Comedy has always been my niche, but I’m also a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan. My feature screenplays range from dark comedy, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. My screenplays range from ultra-low-budget to sci-fi epic. I write the kind of stories I enjoy watching on screen, and reading in books and graphic novels.

I’ve also been fortune to have worked with some amazing cast and crew over the years, many of which I worked with time and time again. I had some talented and fun writing partners as well.

I also have a background working in film and television as a Lamp Operator in the lighting department. I’m a member of IATSE 891 in Vancouver, and a member of IATSE 873 in Toronto.

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Writer Statement

Years and years back, a question came to my mind, "If I wrote a "monster movie" about a killer animal, how would I do it?". Obviously, most animal horror movies like "Jaws" or pretty much any grizzly bear movie, has an animal that is larger, faster, and more aggressive than is normal. I wanted an animal adversary who was more cunning, and more organized. One that couldn't rely on strength or brute force to succeed.

I've alway been fascinated by crows. They are both unusual and brilliant, social and adaptable. I've seen crows do some strange things, and read about how capable they are at problem solving. While living in Vancouver, I would watch crows grab clam shells, fly up high, and drop the shells down onto the pavement below. The crows would then eat the clams through the cracked shells. They let gravity do the hard work for them. Besides their intelligence, crows gather in massive groups, called a "Murder". Their shear numbers, and how in flight, they can black out the sky, can be rather intimidating.

When approaching this story, I had to ask myself "when, where, and how could crows realistically gain an upper hand over human beings?". I needed to chose an isolated place, where the murder could outnumber the human population, and where help would be far off. I lived in St. John's, Newfoundland for five months back in 2005. Not only is it culturally rich and unique, the coastal landscape is gorgeous, and they are also brutally isolated. That alone wasn't enough, I also needed them to be in a particularly vulnerable situation. I chose a world-wide famine as the backdrop to the story. The famine would further motivate the crows; and a culling of the crows, to keep them away from the crops, would make them more desperate for survival.

These specific set of conditions made this story a crazy act to balance, but I'm happy with the results. I think all that extra "figuring out" paid off in the long run.