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Mad as Birds

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Mad as Birds Films is a UK-based independent film and TV production company. Since 2014 MAB has developed, produced and completed a wide slate of unique, exciting and commercial projects. We have attracted globally recognised talent by supporting their creative vision and voice. 2

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ContentsActionDukeRed DramaThe Six Loves of Billy BinnsFun Love Money*A Nod and a Wink*YA / Coming of AgeMadfabulousGrange HillPrometheus Project**ThrillerIn The GreyThe Night GuestThe Murder of Sonny ListonMinotaur*Beirut*4

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Comedy DramaCall GirlsStand Up Kneel Down*Darby and Joan WesternThe Corrupt Action Sci-FiPortals**Wired**Infinity Born***TV**Development Opportunity5

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Film8 Duke10 Red12 The Corrupt14 Call Girls16 The Night Guest6

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18 In The Grey20 Darby and Joan22 Madfabulous24 The Murder of Sonny Liston26 Grange Hill28 The Six Loves of Billy Binns7

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FilmGenreAction Thriller DirectorDirectorJames Nunn (Shark Bait, Tower Block, One Shot)WritersCelyn Jones Joe Bone8

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He is the Ghost… the man who never was, that you never saw. He guides across borders undetected, taking with him whatever his client demands: cash, weaponry, drugs, art works. His only real contact is Marcus. Marcus knows three things about Duke. That he won’t take people. That he’s partial to an Old Fashioned and a Lucky Strike and that you should never play him at chess. Beyond that he couldn’t tell you a damn thing and that’s just how Duke likes it.He becomes embroiled in a deadly mission when he is forced to carry out an operation against his will. Old scars are ripped open as our hero is pursued by infamous gangsters, a courageous border cop and past demons.An o-grid border smuggler is chased across the US by his shadows.DukeComparables9

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1EVERY BODY BLEEDSFilmGenreAction thrillerDirectorDavid NewtonWritersBeau FowlerLink to Short¶ScriptAvailable+TreatmentAvailable10

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“Every Body Bleeds”Based on the multi award winning short, RED is a fast paced action thriller. When Daniel, an ex soldier, makes a dangerous choice to find his daughter a matching organ through unocial channels, he awakes in a bath of ice, missing one of his kidneys. Discovering he’s trapped in the “organ harvesting den” in the middle of nowhere, he must now fight for survival long enough to find his missing daughter.ComparablesRed11

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FilmGenreWestern / ActionDirectorKristoer Nyholm (The Vanishing, The Killing, Taboo)WritersCelyn JonesJoe BoneCastingDan Hubbard¶ScriptAvailable12

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How does a young girl survive in The West?The CorruptIn a town there’s a Murder, a Railroad, a Gangster, a Marshal and a girl named Patience. The young girl, on the brink of losing it all, finds a gunman in the desert. He is haunted by his past and she by her future, together they could survive. But the old west is changing and a local tyrant wants a piece of it all and everyone.Everyday the track draws nearer. America, with all its promises, breathes down the thirsty neck of Franklyn and his nameless town. Every metre laid creates a lifetime between Billy and his chance at everlasting peace. Every new dawn thrusts Patience closer towards womanhood and away from the child her parents vowed to save. All in the name of progress and legacy. This is a new nation, ruled by the gun and made good by money but you can’t erase the past... time and patience will prove that.A classic western re-imagined through the lens of a Danish noir master.Comparables13

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FilmGenreComedy DramaDirectorCatherine Morshead (Downton Abbey, The Full Monty, Lockwood & Co)WritersPaul Coleman(Car Share, The Power of Parker)Brennan Reece(Live at the Apollo)14

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Laid o factory workers make a clean living by talking dirty.Following the closure of a local factory, a group of women find themselves talking dirty for a living. Through their unlikely success story, they provide an escape route for their community who have come to rely on an aggressive loan shark.Our Call Girls are thrown in at the deep end, only taking the work as they have no other option. Some are naive, some ashamed and some absolutely love it. The only thing they have in common is their dirty little secret.They begin to make decent money, much more than they did at the factory. This, along with a new found confidence (being paid by the minute to boss men around) changes them and they take more control over their lives and decide to take on the local bully who has been preying on the desperation of their struggling neighbourhood.With a visible backdrop of a Northern working class life in the 90s, we follow the women’s search for a living, a search that gives them independence, acceptance and a path to lifting their community out of fear.Full Monty meets It’s A Wonderful Life in this life-arming, heart warming comedy drama from the co-creator/writer of Car Share.ComparablesCall Girls15

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Based on the book by Fiona McFarlaneFilmGenrePsychological ThrillerDirector /WriterCelyn Jones (The Vanishing, The Almond and The Seahorse)CastingColin JonesCo-producer Thruline Entertainment¶ScriptAvailableLink to Sizzle16

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Ruth is alone. There’s a stranger outside wanting to come in. There’s a tiger inside refusing to leave without her.The Night GuestComparablesRuth lives alone in her seaside home she once shared with her husband. Hers is a structured and solitary existence, punctuated by obligatory calls from her adult sons and the occasional sounds of an imagined tiger strolling through her parlour at night. Her mind is fragile and often betrays her.One morning the dominating Frida arrives claiming to have been sent by the government as a personal aide. Ruth must adjust her daily routine to Frida’s, who can “fix everything” and yet is “always wanting without ever quite admitting it”.Together the women battle with their vulnerabilities as the tension ratchets. Clues mount that Frida is not who she claims to be but is it too late? A beautifully imagined portrait of isolation within an unsettling psychological thriller that twists and turns towards its shocking and unforgettable ending.17

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FilmGenrePsychological ThrillerWriterLee Patterson(Colony, Cabinet of Curiosities)ProducerGary Ungar(Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio)¶ScriptAvailable18

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19A desperate taxi driver kidnaps his missing daughter’s teacher and takes him on a terrifying journey to force him to confess.In the GreySeven days ago schoolgirl Natalie Hicks vanished from her home without a trace. Early hopes for her return have since turned to despair and resignation. The leads have petered out; the detectives grown jaded; newspapers moved on.But for Jack, the girl’s estranged father, things are just beginning. Taking matters into his own hands, he shows up unannounced at Natalie’s school with questions for her teacher, the beloved Mr Lewis. What begins as a friendly chat quickly escalates into an interrogation. Jack manipulates Lewis into getting into his taxi cab, kickstarting a terrifying hi-speed journey across the city in which Jack tries to force a confession from the school teacher.There’s nothing Jack won’t do in his quest for the truth. There’s no price he’s unwilling to pay. But as Jack’s barbarity comes to the fore, we must decide whether he is what he claims to be – a desperate father searching for his child – or simply a monster looking for someone to blame.Comparables

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FilmGenreComedy DramaDirector/WriterLee Patterson(Made in Italy)Story by:Celyn JonesJames D’Arcy¶ScriptAvailable20

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21Some double acts never die.Darby and JoanThe story of two actors who used to be a double act, but split acrimoniously and haven’t then seen each other in 30 years. In the intervening decades, Catherine has become a household name, and Harry has been reduced to working in ADR crowd sessions. And then, through a totally unexpected twist of fate, Harry finds himself as a photo double in one of Catherine’s films - Darby and Joan.Our story examines their past and present lives, with (hopefully) a comedic and moving touch. Along the way, the film examines the themes of forgiveness, regret, ambition, love, TikTok and crucially - on set catering.Comparables

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FilmGenreYA / Coming-of-AgeDirectorLee Haven Jones (The Feast, Dr Who)WriterLisa Baker¶ScriptAvailableLink to Sizzle22

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A riotous, uncompromising celebration of otherness – The true story of an unlikely British Peer who bankrupt his estate by the age of 28.MadfabulousHenry Cyril Paget 5th Marquis of Anglesey challenged Edwardian notions of class, gender and decorum, performing in his own theatre – the converted family chapel - as ‘The Dancing Marquess’ in gem-encrusted costumes.Without formative parental guidance, Henry rejected society’s codes of conduct and subverted the aristocrat versus working class relationship. A flamboyant dandy who inherited the equivalent of £11 million a year, his marriage to first cousin Lily Chetwynd failed to quell worldwide rumours about his behaviour.Harnessing the power of his own image, Henry spin-doctored his reputation internationally. Surviving derision by the Establishment, Henry distanced himself from Lilly with compulsive spending and barriers of ‘yes’ men in a downward spiral of excess. After six years, bankruptcy beckoned and Henry’s world was auctioned over forty days to repay creditors the equivalent of £60 million.Comparables23

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Based on the book by Shaun AssaelFilmGenreCrime DramaExec ProducerTrevor Beattie(Moon, Mute) Link to Sizzle24

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January 5th 1971, World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston was found dead in his home – of an apparent heroin overdose.The Murder of Sonny ListonBut no one close to Liston believed that his death was accidental. The mystery around his death hovered over Las Vegas and the sports world, leaving unanswered questions about his ties to powerful boxing promoters, billionaire hoteliers, mob kingpins, shadowy drug lords and rogue jazz musicians.The film charts the last mysterious year of Sonny Liston’s life set against the backdrop of a pivotal year in the history of Las Vegas. A portrait of his complicated death, his wasted talent and power. Think “Raging Bull” meets “Goodfellas”.Comparables25

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FilmGenreYA / Family DramaDirectorSara Sugarman (Save The Cinema, Very Annie Mary) WriterSir Phil Redmond26

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Mad As Birds and cultural trailblazer, Sir Phil Redmond, will collaborate to reimagine his iconic British TV brand Grange Hill as a feature film for a modern audience.Grange HillTo generations, Grange Hill was always more than a school. More a social barometer. It was a centre of community and a front line for change. Today, in a post-pandemic world, that front line is now even more perilous to navigate. Hence the often reoccurring hashtag and headline #BringBackGrangeHill.Grange Hill The Movie will reintroduce the brand as the ‘powers that be’ want the old school gone. The theme is that blurred, ethereal line between good and evil. The people versus the bureaucracy. Two unlikely ex pupils, whose life journeys have gone in very dierent directions, join forces with pupils, parents, and, of course GH alumni – like Tucker, Zammo and Imelda – to ‘save it’.A universal story that will appeal to all generations at a time they most need it, a call to arms. Evocative of those great British films like Pride, Brassed O, Full Monty, Looking For Eric and Made In Dagenham that will also boast a role-call of great British acting talent too. All the above will be laced with all those essential GH qualities of humour, heart and humanity.It is time for that school bell to ring again.Comparables27

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28Based on the book by Richard LumsdenFilmGenreDrama DirectorCelyn JonesCastingAlex Johnson¶ScriptAvailable

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The Six Loves of Billy BinnsSix loves, one long life. Does Billy have enough time left to find the one that’s missing?Somewhere in the universe a teacup begins to fall. It’s perched on the knee of Billy Binns who reckons he is finally coming of age despite his fragile mind. Everybody has always liked the charismatic Billy sadly more than Billy has liked Billy. He didn’t receive much love as a child so sought it out wherever and in whoever he could, making him a hopeless romantic. Before those final drops of tea edge at the saucer he’s occupied with one question – Can love only exist in a memory and if so where does it go?First was the mysterious Mary from when he was a boy before enlisting as an aerial spotter above the Somme. He thought he loved her but didn’t they all? Then Evie, his ‘forever girl’, who loved him right back until he played with fire and ruined it for them all. Half a lifetime later there was a singer Vera who needed his kindness in the darkest of times. Then his son Archie who never visits. In later life, Mrs Jackson, a divorcee from the West Indies brought him out of romantic retirement… briefly.Meanwhile, the teacup continues to fall while Billy struggles to remember what love feels like in his last moments… until a hand squeezes him back reminding him that they were always there. ‘It’s you.’Comparables29

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TV32 Minotaur 34 Beirut36 Fun Love Money38 Stand Up Kneel Down40 A Nod and a Wink30

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TVGenreCrime / ThrillerDirectorsCharles SturridgeCelyn JonesWriterCelyn Jones6 x 60 minutesStoryline for 3 series¶ScriptAvailable+TreatmentAvailable32

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A killer takes a sabbatical of redemption and kindness.MinotaurLuc is a killer. He’s the best, unremorseful and the coldest of killers. Amongst the French underworld there is no one more feared.But a raw nerve has been exposed inside and he’s feeling something that he hasn’t for a long time. Something has snapped within and it’s not the first time. He runs, once again gravitating towards a strange vulnerable place in a foreign land. Some obscure landscape he can bleed into and do penance. Maybe even fix things and maybe even heal.Somewhere he can choose to go and do good before he is dragged back to hell because this sabbatical can’t last forever.Where does all the evil go? Know your shadows and beware the Minotaur.Comparables33

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TV8 x 60 minutesGenreSpy ThrillerDirectorEric Styles(The Pact)WriterLisa FieldingPilotScriptAvailable+TreatmentAvailable34

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Teddy’s past, present and future collide when she agrees to take on the role of CIA informant to uncover a new plot that her supposedly dead father may be tangled up in.Teddy is a young and chaotic sous chef in London who takes a new and exciting job in a prestigious hotel in Beirut, the city she fled as a child after her father’s murder.As soon as she arrives in Beirut, her first time back there in seven years, she is abducted by a CIA case worker named Bennett who tells her they believe her father is still alive. Teddy agrees to take on the role of CIA informant to uncover a new terrorist plot. But neither everything, nor everyone, is what they seem.ComparablesBeirut35

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36TVGenreMusical Biopic / DramaCastChristopher Eccleston WriterLee HardmanExec ProducerPete Waterman ¶ScriptAvailable

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Fun Love MoneyThe story of Pete Waterman and The Hit Factory.Pete was inspired, ambitious and an outsider. And for a brief moment in time, in the mid 1980s he provided the soundtrack to our lives.Pete conceived the idea of a hit production line, pumping out songs that would join the dots and dominate the 1980s single charts. The magic of The Hit Factory was that its performers were an eclectic mix of unlikely pop stars reflecting the diversity of real life in the 80s.From US drag queen Divine to flamboyant Pete Burns. Rick Astley, the unassuming boy from Newton-Le-Willows to Mel and Kim, born to British and Jamaican parents. And from Bananarama to Australian soap stars, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.The Hit Factory is the story of all of us: dancing, lusting, working and wishing we all should be so lucky... lucky, lucky, lucky.Comparables37

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38TV10 x 30 minsGenreComedy / Drama WritersRoger Drew (Veep, The Thick of It)Steve Parry (I’m a Celebrity)Adam Bostock-Smith(Never Mind The Buzzcocks)¶ScriptAvailable+TreatmentAvailable

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Stand Up, Kneel DownWhat if finding God meant losing everything? What happens when radical Comedian and notorious atheist Danny starts hearing a voice in his head? A voice that claims to be God. A voice that thinks Danny’s a bit of a dick.Iconoclastic British comedian and committed atheist Danny Boden is trying to break America but he has his world turned upside down when he’s paid a visit by God, who has a plan for him. A war of attrition ensues between staunch non-believer Danny and theunsurprisingly staunch believer, God. Over the series we see the rusting away of Danny’s iron clad certainty and self-belief until only one thing is for certain – choosing to be saved will destroy him.Stand Up Kneel Down has a classic British sense of humour dropped into an iconic American landscape. The characters are funny and moving, the situations believable and shocking. It will be fresh, funny, bitingly radical and thoughtful. A transatlantic TV ‘dramedy’. The theme of the show is the farce of certainty; a reminder that just because someone makes a loud noise about something doesn’t mean that they are right or even sure themselves. We all get scared and feel alone, we all question life, existence and the universe and we are all capable of change. There will always be enough ambiguity for the audience to decide for themselves.Comparables39

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40Link to SizzleTV3 x 60 minsGenrePolitical / Period DramaWriterTony Durston Exec ProducerRicky Tomlinson

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A Nod and a WinkMany aspiring actors went to RADA. Ricky went to 14 dierent prisons – The true story of British TV treasure, Ricky Tomlinson.Telling the incredible miscarriage of justice story of Ricky Tomlinson and two close friends who were sent to prison, victims of a government-led conspiracy to break the unions. We follow Ricky’s journey from the depths of despair to the birth of one of Britain’s best loved actors.The series shows Ricky “warts and all” as we explore all sides of his complex, often contradictory personality, his love for his family, his uncompromising passion for fighting for what he believes in, his infectious sense of humour and his determination to show that world that working class people like him matter.Comparables41

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42High-Level Development Opportunity

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44WiredGGenre: Sci-Fi / ThrillerFeature or SeriesWIRED is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, and the #1 bestselling Kindle book for an entire year in two major categories: technothrillers and science fiction.Kira Miller is a brilliant genetic engineer who discovers how to temporarily achieve savant-like capabilities in all areas of thought and creativity. But what if this transcendent level of intelligence brings with it a ruthless megalomania?WIRED is a smart thriller crammed with breakneck action, unexpected twists, mind-expanding science, and intriguing concepts viewers will be contemplating long after the credits.PortalsGenre: Sci-Fi / ActionFeature or SeriesHidden portals link Earth to numerous other planets. But why do they all contain human civilizations? And why does our nearest neighbor have its sights set on Earth?Noah Harris and Ashley Flynn are field agents for a powerful organization tasked with protecting humanity from the misuse of game-changing technology. But when they discover hidden portals that link Earth to numerous planets, put in place ages earlier by transcendent beings, they are thrust into a maze of deception and intrigue they can’t begin to understand. One that not only has them battling for their very lives but which will decide the fate of worlds.Portals is a masterful near-future thriller, one packed with nonstop action, astonishing twists, and mind-blowing concepts.Infinity BornGenre: Sci-Fi / Thriller (AI)Feature or SeriesWhen DARPA’s billion-dollar program to create Artificial Superintelligence is sabotaged, US operative Cameron Carr is tasked with finding the culprit. He’s been on high-stakes missions before, but this time the stakes are nothing less than the future of humanity. Because the race to evolve a superintelligent computer is on, and power players around the world will stop at nothing to get there first.As our phones and computers become ever smarter, Infinity Born takes an unblinking look at a technological tipping point that is just around the corner. One that will have a profound impact on the future course of human history.New York Times Best SellerDouglas E. Richards

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PrometheusGenre: Sci-Fi / YAFeature or SeriesRyan and Regan Resnick have just moved to the world’s most boring place. But when they discover their parents are part of an ultra-secret project called Prometheus, they are plunged into a nonstop alien adventure: one that will be the ultimate test of their wit, courage, and determination. Soon they are under attack and facing hostile alien worlds, technology, and unimaginable dangers at every turn.ComparablesFilms– Elysium– Minority Report– The Day The Earth Stood Still– Children Of Men– Limitless– The Island– Gattaca– Edge of Tomorrow– The Andromeda Strain– Oblivion– AI– Upgrade– Source CodeTv Series– Dark Matter– The Peripheral– Altered Carbon– Brave New World– Devs– The Expanse– Fringe– Upload– The Three Body Problem45

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46Celyn Jones Writer/Director/ActorCelyn Jones is the Creative Director of MAB, a critically acclaimed, award winning actor and BAFTA nominated writer from Wales. The Times referred to him as ”the powerhouse writer/performer behind the greatest Dylan Thomas biopic yet”.Andy Evans Producer/Post ProducerBorn in Wales, Andy founded Mad as Birds with Celyn after 20 years in London working in post production and a Producer in the digital and music industry of cross-platform content of world renowned artistic talent including Pink Floyd and U2. His first film Producer credit was SET FIRE TO THE STARS starring Elijah Wood.Sean Marley ProducerSean was MD of Lime Pictures, the biggest independent TV Producer outside of London. He was responsible for their commercial growth and oversaw the diversification of Lime’s production slate across drama, children’s and reality output.Team

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Nicola Pearcey Exec ProducerPrior to forming Picnik, Nicola ran Lionsgate as President of UK & Europe, where she was responsible for the leadership of the company across its film and TV business. She helped shepherd blockbuster releases including The Hunger Games, The Expendables, La La Land and Knives Out in addition to acquisitions Military Wives, Fighting With My Family, Eddie The Eagle and Mcqueen amongst many other developments, acquisitions and management of film and TV libraries.Jay Ruthnam-Sandys Development & ProductionJay enjoyed a successful career as Legal Counsel for a number of studios prior to stepping across creatively into development and production. Joining the team in 2023, Jay brings a wealth of experience in commercial negotiations, operations, and production management, as well as a unique creative eye to the team47

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Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad? Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people