Private Project

The Great Tit is a Bird, Ep.1 (18)

Seventeen-year-old Renella Mendoza grieves the loss of her mother, who died during a global pandemic. To help Renella recover, her school counselor encourages her to take an electronics internship with a prestigious academic group conducting a research study in the tropical city of Mayaaka.

Forthcoming Episodes:
In Mayaaka, Renella stumbles on four things: an apparent cure for her debilitating skin condition, an immunity to electrocution, a mind-melding contraption, and a group of exploited girls. But when Renella tries to rescue the girls, all of whom have a similar skin condition, she learns that none of the girls want to be rescued. At least—not by her.

  • Ar Ducao
  • Ar Ducao
  • Paula Hung-Palmer
  • Susan Achieng Osiche
    Story Supervisor
  • Joseph Beer
    Technical Director
  • Brian Li
    Visual Media Developer
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 41 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 17, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Kenya, United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • New York State Council on the Arts / Wave Farm - Media Artists Assistance Fund Award
  • NYU Anti-Racism Grant
  • NYFA / NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment - Women's Fund Award
  • BRIC Arts Media - B Artistic Award
  • Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival
  • A&E Film Festival
Director Biography - Ar Ducao

Ar Ducao (they / zey pronouns) is a new media artist, engineer, organizer and educator. Ducao’s 3D animations and visualizations have been shown in venues and festivals around the world, including the Margaret Mead Documentary Festival (US), Reel Sisters of the Diaspora (US), Le Musee di-visioniste (Germany), Salon International de Arte Digital (Cuba), and Lola Screen Children’s Festival (Kenya). Their media work has been honored with the SXSW Community Service Award, the MIT Public Service Center Fellowship, the Best App Ever Award, the Seoul Cycle Design Prize, and the Brave Destiny Film Festival’s Grand Prize, among others. Ducao began their animation career in science visualization for the American Museum of Natural History, and their innovation work has been profiled by the New York Times, MSNBC, WIRED, Discovery Channel, NPR, and many more. They are a past winner of the Science Channel reality show "All American Makers."

Ducao is also a co-founder and principal at Multimer, a bio-spatial analytics spinoff from MIT Media Lab and National Science Foundation SBIR award winner. A federally-certified EDWOSB (economically disadvantaged woman-owned small business) with patented technology (USPTO# 20200000337), Multimer has worked with marginalized communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Ducao is a research affiliate and instructor at MIT, and an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, NYU School of Engineering, and the NYU Prison Education Program. Their writing and design has been published in journals including Bright Lights Film Journal, the Journal of Intelligent Buildings, and International Journal of Community Well-being; and books including Data, Architecture, and the Experience of Place and Instrumental Intimacy: EEG Wearables and Neuroscientific Control. Ar Ducao is a member of the Fulbright Specialist Program, recent co-chair of the UAW 9A Human & Civil Rights Council, and technical advisor for the Black maternal health startup Birth By Us.

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Director Statement

The Great Tit is a Bird is a sci-fi narrative project about Black and Brown feminine and trans-feminine people around the world, the losses they survive, and the ways they shape our high-tech era even as they are pushed to the margins. The show probes issues its creators have experienced firsthand, including techno-colonization, research misconduct, and threats to body autonomy. I'm grateful to examine such important issues with such a wonderful creative team.