TV

Meet The Creators Of ‘Bin Chickens’: A New Series About The Lives Of Garbage-Eating Ibises

"They are the Shane Warne of birds, they'll go for anything."

“Oh my god, this is uncanny! There’s literally an ibis walking in front of me!” Nikos Andronicos excitedly shouts down the phone. “I’m on Cope Street in Redfern,” he adds, as if he subconsciously notes down the precise geography of all ibis interactions.

“It’s taking its sweet time to cross, but that’s ibises.”

Andronicus is one half of the creative team behind Bin Chickens, a new animated series focusing on the lives of three ibises that reside in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, that will be hitting ABC iview later this year.

Bin Chickens has been greenlit by Fresh Blood, a partnership between Screen Australia and the ABC.

The show was one of 20 successful Australian comedy projects chosen by Fresh Blood this year, out of over 300 entries. As a result, Andronicus and his co-producer, Dave Carter, will receive $15,000 in funding and access to creative support to produce three episodes of Bin Chickens.

The pair have been friends since primary school. “I remember going out in the playground on my first day and there was a kid on the roof throwing roof tiles at everyone for no reason,” Andronicus tells Junkee. “That was Dave. It was inevitable that we would become friends.”

They started making cartoons together in high school and got their break when Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head saw their work and introduced them to the North American market.

Last year their short film Fish With Legs won the award for best animation at Flickerfest.

But where did the idea for Bin Chickens come from?

“We came up with the idea to do it three or four years ago,” Carter says. “It was on the backburner to do it one day as a project, but the ibis is part of our landscape now. Over the years, ibis awareness and hatred has just grown. Just last week we saw that David Attenborough parody [produced by Matt Eastwood and David Johns]. We’re in peak ibis now.”

“Like everyone who lives in Sydney I commune with the ibis on a regular basis,” Andronicus adds. “I have been pretty harsh on the poor old bird. At some point Dave was talking abut wanting to do a show about misunderstood teens, or some sort of misunderstood character, who were at a loose end. That’s how we ended up with the ibis.”

The ibis has a pretty bad reputation in Australia. The bird might have been worshipped in ancient Egypt, but we’re more likely to curse them for flogging our sandwiches right out of our hands.

Even their nickname, bin chicken, is a pretty brutal colloquialism. But despite the fact that Andronicus and Carter have chosen to name their show Bin Chicken, the series is far from anti-ibis.

“In the show we’re going to have an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of the ibis,” Carter says. “It’s almost the perfect response to the shit they get. It’s time for payback. We don’t want to add to the pile of negativity around the ibis. There’s already too much of it out there.”

“Ibises are like the goat of Australia. They will eat literally anything,” Andronicus adds. “Someone chopped an ibis in half and discovered 80 percent of what they eat is non-biodegradable garbage. That’s great for a character. They are the Shane Warne of birds, they’ll go for anything.”

The Fresh Blood summary of Bin Chickens describes it as “the animated adventures of three ibises who eat garbage and live life to the max in the jewel in Sydney’s crown, Darling Harbour” which leaves a lot to the imagination.

Andronicus didn’t want to give too much away, but he did drop some hints.

“We’re inside the heads of three ibises as they just try to make a go of it when everything around them is against them, particularly in a setting like Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is pretty much against all organisms and the ibis are the mascot for the most maligned creatures at Darling Harbour.

“They won’t sit around doing nothing, put it that way. Ever wanted to know what happens when an ibis makes a trip to the gent’s toilets at Home nightclub?”

To be honest, no. But now that the concept has been presented to me I have to know what happens.

Both producers are excited about making a series for Australian audiences.

“The show gives us the chance to prove that there’s an audience for adult animation in Australia,” Carter says. “The genre is virtually non-existent unless you’re looking into the corners of YouTube. Kudos to Fresh Blood for funding these kinds of projects.”

“It’s a real pleasure to do something really Australian,” Andronicus adds. “And something that makes everyone laugh when they think of the premise. It’s great to be able make stuff like this.”

Bin Chickens will air on ABC iview later this year.

Feature image via Ibis of Sydney/Facebook