Scheme Birds


Lark Theatre Tue, Oct 8, 2019 6:00 PM
Sequoia 1 Thu, Oct 10, 2019 11:45 AM
Film Info
Section:Valley of the Docs
Eye on Sweden
Mind the Gap
Running Time:90 min.
Director:Ellen Fiske
Ellinor Hallin
Producer:Mario Adamson
Ruth Reid
Cinematographer:Ellinor Hallin
Editor:Hanna Lejonqvist
Print Source:Sisyfos Film Production AB
Note Writer:David Fear


They call them "scheme birds:" the young women of Scotland’s working-class housing developments who drink, smoke, and fight alongside the boys. Sixteen-year-old Gemma can scrap with the best of them. This tough-as-nails lass doesn’t care that most folks in her hardscrabble hometown of Motherwell, a former steelworks hub, end up "locked up or knocked up." She was born here and she’ll die here. Then she gets pregnant, and the soon-to-be mother realizes she has to take control of her future. Winner of the Best Documentary Feature and the Albert Maysles New Documentary Director awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, this extraordinary debut from Swedish filmmakers Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin gives us a lyrical nonfiction portrait of the city’s petty criminals, pigeon breeders, and backyard brawlers, but it’s the movie’s everyday heroine, a petite blond with a steel backbone and a capacity to find hope in the darkest corners, that gives the movie its tender heart and soul.

With support from:

Additional Information

Ellen Fiske graduated from the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2015. She’s made two critically acclaimed short films: Lone Dads (2016) and Keep Me Safe (2014). Ellinor Hallin is a director and cinematographer who has worked with drama and documentary for HBO and more, serving as the director of photography on the HBO series Gösta.