National Bird will be shown on Tuesday February 28 at 7:30 PM in the Town Hall Room of the Leaderships Studies building at K-State. The running time is 92 minutes.

National Bird is a documentary directed by Sonia Kennebeck that follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans, including our March speaker. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.

“National Bird takes a deeply disturbing look at drone warfare… artful, profoundly unsettling … Kennebeck may be a newcomer to feature filmmaking, but her grasp of the material is accomplished.” – The Washington Post

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.

Military leaders have long aspired to wage war through unmanned weapons systems that kill enemies without putting their own troops in harm’s way. Over a decade ago, this vision turned into reality, but much of it was skillfully hidden from the public. As an investigative journalist, I am drawn to secrets. So when I started this project in 2013, I was curious to understand more about the U.S. drone program that had grown so exponentially under the Obama administration and by many accounts had become the President’s weapon of choice in the global war on terror. As a firm believer in the First Amendment and government transparency, I struggled with the secrecy and lack of public discourse around such an extensive killing program. – Sonia Kennebeck, Director of National Bird

Original published in the MAPJ NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 p. 1.

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