Emptying the Skies

Based on a widely republished New Yorker essay by best-selling novelist Jonathan Franzen, “Emptying the Skies” exposes the rampant poaching of migratory songbirds in southern Europe.


Songbird populations have been drastically declining for several decades, with a number of species facing imminent extinction.

This poignant documentary explores the wonder of these tiny globe-trekking marvels, millions of which are unlawfully slaughtered each year for large sums on the black market, and follows the intrepid squad of pan-European bird-lovers waging a secret war against poachers, disrupting illegal trapping to free as many as possible.

Embedding the filmmakers with their activist subjects, this year-long undertaking transports viewers right onto the front lines as poachers are confronted at critical migration pinch-points in Cyprus, France and Italy.

A moving call to arms, “Emptying the Skies” chronicles a devastating environmental tragedy and the valiant journey of those risking their lives to stop it.


Directors: Douglas Kass & Roger Kass

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