ashland independent film festival
Post Office Box 218
Ashland, OR 97520
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Filmmaker: Judy Irving
Running time: 83 minutes
While some unforgettable parrots do have starring roles, this documentary is more about one profound human transformation. A captivating story of the magical relationship between a man named Mark Bittner and the flock of wild parrots that flies San Francisco's north waterfront. Bittner, a homeless street musician, falls in with the flock just as he is searching for the meaning in his life. He becomes—through his relationship with the birds—a bohemian St. Francis who finds the meaning he is looking for (and more). This is a film about urban wildness, both human and avian. Mark Bittner’s new book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill : A Love Story . . .with Wings was just published by Random House.
Interview with Judy Irving
Q. What inspired you to make this film?
A. The film was inspired by my love of birds, and by my interest in human-animal relationships and in the ways we adapt to our habitat. I had made a short film about the first great blue herons nesting in Golden Gate Park, and the humans who love them; when I showed that film, a birder friend said, "Oh, you’ve got to make a movie about this guy who feeds the wild parrots on Telegraph Hill." It started out as sort of a "hobby film," with four rolls of 16mm stock that I had left over from another shoot, and grew over the course of five years to a feature documentary. I really followed my heart on this project, and it changed my life.
Q. What would you like the audience to know?
A. The film was shot entirely on location in San Francisco; there were no digital special effects. All the wild parrot flying shots, etc. are real.