Press Coverage

The Intercept – “An New Documentary Explores the Devastating Effects of Drone Warfare on Victims and Whistleblowers”
“beautifully constructed”

Washington Post – “‘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.”

Los Angeles Times – “Collateral damage of drones has consequences in the documentary ‘National Bird’”
“…powerful cinematic journalism.”

Rising Up with Sonali – “New Film ‘National Bird’ Exposes Underside Of Drone Wars”
“…Coming at a crucial political moment to help ordinary Americans understand what the US drone program is all about.”

Filmmaker Magazine – “More Publicity Means More Protection”: Sonia Kennebeck on National Bird”
“In National Bird, I’m telling the story not just through soundbytes but through the visuals, the editing, the sound design, and the photography.”

Filmmaker Magazine – “Recommended on a Friday: National Bird, Uncle Kent 2, The Love Witch, DOC NYC, L.A. Rep Screenings and More”
“provocative, thoughtful and cinematically ambitious”

The Talkhouse – “Burner Phones and Email Encryption: Protecting Documentary Sources in a Surveillance State”
“When I started my research for National Bird, I knew I was entering dangerous territory loaded with sensitive information.”

Institute for Public Accuracy – “Veterans Groups Support Drone Documentary at Veterans Day Parade”
“It is time for everyone to come together and ask serious questions about what we want our future to look like.”

Frontline Club – “Drones: National Bird of USA”
“The harmful consequences of secrecy and censorship are boldly portrayed by Kennebeck, whose documentary powerfully advocates for more transparency both at home and abroad.”

The Playlist – “Documentary ‘National Bird’ Puts An Eye-Opening, Human Face On The U.S. Drone Program [Review]”
“Effective and eye-opening”

New York Times – “Review: ‘National Bird’ Follows Whistle-Blowers in America’s Drone War”
“Elegantly unsettling…”

The Times Quotidian – “The Human Side of Drone Warfare”
“Detailed research, thoughtful photography, chilling international intrigue and a genuine interest in its protagonists”

Hammer to Nail – “NATIONAL BIRD: Wireless Death”
“What National Bird’s portrays is a national nightmare.”

Village Voice – “National Bird”
National Bird’s shows that war will always be hell, even for those who aren’t on the battlefield.”

Rise Up Times – “The U.S. National Bird Is Now a Drone”
National Bird’s expands to include just what is so often missing.”

Cineaste Magazine – Detatched Retina: The New Cinema of Drone Warfare
National Bird’s sequences in Afghanistan offer a more profound, affecting, and sustained reckoning with what drones do than anything else to date.”

Senses of Cinema – An interview with documentary director Sonia Kennebeck
“I really wanted to speak to the people directly impacted by drone warfare. I didn’t want to speak to journalists, experts, pundits. I wanted to speak to the people who are part of the program.”

Filmmaker Magazine – 25 New Faces of Film
“An important addition to a developing cinematic canon dealing with our post-9/11 security state, Sonia Kennebeck’s debut documentary, National Bird, is an artful, investigative look at the myriad impacts of America’s use of drone warfare. … What makes National Bird a remarkable first feature, aside from its riveting primary source interviews, is the way it embraces expressive cinematic technique.”

Forces TV – New Film Explores The Darker Side of Drone Warfare
“A documentary film reveals the darker side of US drone warfare in, National Bird

Al Jazeera – Drone Warfare New Film Examines Lasting Impacts
“A new documentary hears from whistle-blowers from within the air force about the heavy price they pay for piloting the drones and running the drone program. ‘We wanted to bring transparency into this very secret program because I think the public doesn’t know enough about it.’”

Dateline NBC – The Drone Revolution: Richard Engel Reports
National Bird characters Lisa Ling and Jesselyn Radack interviewed by Richard Engel”

We Got This CoveredNational Bird [Tribeca 2016]
“With stealth and elegance, Kennebeck brings these alarming truths into the light.”

Real Screen – FilmRise soars with National Bird
“New York-based distributor FilmRise has acquired the North American distribution rights to Sonia Kennebeck‘s drone warfare documentary National Bird”

NPR – Documentary of the Week
“It feels almost like a sequel to Citizenfour…”

The GuardianNational Bird review – Chilling film reveals truths about drones ★★★★
“Using the testimony of three courageous whistleblowers who worked on the US drone programme, this documentary uncovers some disturbing truths about modern American warfare.”
“Disturbing” “chilling” “heart-breaking and enraging” “ominously beautiful”
“With stealth and elegance, Kennebeck brings these alarming truths into the light.”

The Nation – When Drone Operators Become Collateral Damage
“Haunting.” “These previously faceless but distinctly non-robotic Air Force recruits are the cannon fodder of America’s drone wars.”

Flavorwire – 10 Tribeca Film Festival Movies You Have to See
“Gripping indictment of America’s increasing reliance on drone warfare… Scary, potent, powerful”

Tribeca Film Festival – Spotlight: National Bird
“Superbly crafted visuals add depth to her concern, while a moment-by-moment account of a drone attack from both sides of the conflict exemplifies the brutality of the program.”

Filmmaker Magazine – Tribeca 2016: Five Questions for National Bird Director Sonia Kennebeck
“The murky, unclear images transmitted by the drone cameras are a serious problem… It’s detached, inhuman and unreal.”

Filmmaker Magazine – Tribeca Critic’s Notebook #1: National Bird, Equals, The Fixer and The Family Fang
“A film of remarkable access and emotional sensitivity, it explores the ethics and efficacy of drone strikes through the lives of three guilt-stricken drone operators.”

International Documentary Associated – At Tribeca, Journalistic Docs Shine
“Urgently topical.” “An intimacy that bespeaks both good journalism and great mutual trust”

Huffington Post – Film Review: National Bird Looks Deeply in the Drone War’s Abyss
“It is terrifying even in the quiet moments; it is most terrifying in the quietest moments”

The New York TimesEye in the Sky and National Bird Train Sights on Warfare by Remote Control
“‘I wanted to talk to the people on the inside,’ Ms. Kennebeck said, not experts and other talking heads.”

The London Economic – Berlin Film Festival – National Bird – Review
“Meticulous research and sober storytelling… There is no narrator, but the protagonists are so informed, and their stories so compelling, that a commentary could not have added anything.”

Boston Herald – Berlin Film Festival features Meryl Streep, competition, premieres and more
“Scathing Documentary”

Associated Press InternationalNational Bird gives new perspective on America’s drone war
National Bird is a powerful antidote to those who argue that drone warfare is an antiseptic way of killing.”

The Guardian – ‘The PTSD stems from this dirty work’: new film documents regretful drone pilots
“Furious energy”

Screen DailyNational Bird: Berlin Review
“This is a personal film about guilt; notably well-assembled”

Screen Daily – Wim Wenders, Sonia Kennebeck talk drone doc National Bird
“Drone warfare documentary National Bird is becoming one of the festival’s buzz documentaries.”

Reuters – Berlin film National Bird gives whistleblower view of drones
“Kennebeck does not get drawn into a debate about drones, but like the Afghan survivors, she hopes her film will wake up the world to the growth of drone warfare.”

BBCNational Bird Panel Berlinale 2016