Tribeca: FilmRise Buys Drone Warfare Documentary ‘National Bird’

FilmRise has acquired the North American distribution rights for Sonia Kennebeck’s drone warfare documentary “National Bird,” which will have its North American premiere this week at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National Bird,” which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival, is exec produced by documentarian Errol Morris (“The Fog of War”) and Wim Wenders (“Buena Vista Social Club”). The film will have a theatrical release in the fall.

“National Bird” follows three Air Force whistle-blowers who have been distressed over their participation in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries. The film includes footage of one veteran going to Afghanistan to investigate and an interview with defense attorney Jesselyn Radack, best known for representing Edward Snowden.

Variety‘s Peter Debruge gave “National Bird” a strong review, noting, “Chilling testimony from those three veterans, each of whom helped to wage war from behind consoles half a world away, serves as the backbone of a film that adds its voice to mounting criticism of the U.S. drone program. ”

“We are proud to bring this compelling exposé on America’s controversial drone warfare program to theaters in the fall,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher. “The use of drones in the military is being discussed and debated now more than ever, and we are confident that audiences will respond to this incredibly important film.”

“I wanted to give a voice to people directly impacted by drone warfare, the men and women who fought this war, here in the U.S., and the survivors in the target countries, so I am thrilled that FilmRise is dedicated to ensuring that more audiences discover ‘National Bird,'” Kennebeck said. “After the incredible reception it received at Berlin, I hope that the film will continue to inspire conversation about the social cost of drone warfare on both sides.”

The deal was negotiated between Fisher and FilmRise’s VP of Acquisitions Max Einhorn with Ben Braun and Josh Braun of Submarine.

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