National Bird

Three whistleblowers - all US veterans - risk everything to speak out against America's secret drone war.

Drone footage of neighborhood
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 1, 2017
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
Diversity Development Fund
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2017 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2017 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize-2017 Recipient
  • Producer/Director

    Sonia Kennebeck

    Sonia Kennebeck is an independent documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist who has worked for CNN and for German public television's (ARD) highest-rated and longest-running current affairs program, Panorama. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she runs her own production company, Ten Forward Films, that makes films about international Show more politics and human rights. Her most recent documentary about the German brothel industry, Sex - Made in Germany, was an Official Selection of the Montreal World Film Festival 2013 and the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo 2014. Kennebeck has over 12 years of production experience. She received a Master’s degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C. and was born in Malacca, Malaysia. National Bird is her first feature-length documentary film. Show less


    Ines Hofmann Kanna

    Ines Hofmann Kanna is an independent producer with more than twenty years of experience. Her credits include Sonia Kennebeck’s Emmy-nominated National Bird (Berlin 2016) and Kennebeck’s most recent film, Enemies of the State (Tribeca 2020). She was also a consulting producer on Cecilia Aldarondo’s award-winning debut Memories of a Penitent Heart (Tribeca Show more 2016). She began her career at Boston’s PBS station, WGBH, and has filmed in places as close as Iowa and as far as Yemen and Saudi Arabia. She also worked as Supervising Producer for ITVS, where she guided more than thirty filmmakers from production to broadcast. Show less

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    The Film

    National Bird follows the dramatic journey of whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. The tense and timely film, which had to be made in relative secrecy, gives rare insight into the American drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors. Plagued by guilt over the killing of faceless people in foreign countries and suffering from PTSD, the veterans decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences. Executive produced by renowned filmmakers Wim Wenders and Errol Morris.