From Executive Producers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, “National Bird” is the story of courageous whistle-blowers who break the silence around the secret U.S. drone war – a decision that will change their lives forever.
At the centre of the film are three U.S. military veterans; plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences. Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption. “National Bird” gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Its images haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home.
Drones allow armies to fight without putting military personnel in dangerous situations, waging war from afar. But although drone warfare preserves the lives who would otherwise be on the field, it invites a disconnect between the drones’ controllers and the places – and people – being targeted. “National Bird” investigates this disconnect, and its victims – on both sides. As Craig D. Lindsey from the Village Voice observes: “National Bird shows that war will always be hell, even for those who aren’t on the battleground.”