‘National Bird’ Headlines April 3 Screening, Live Chat with Filmmaker, Military Drone Experts

News Release Date: 
March 23, 2017

For Immediate Release

‘National Bird’ Headlines April 3 Screening, Live Chat with Filmmaker, Military Drone Experts

LINCOLN, Neb (March 23, 2017) – Using innovative technology, viewers statewide will have the opportunity to experience a richly interactive screening of the gripping documentary “National Bird.”

Sonia Kennebeck Directed by Sonia Kennebeck and executive produced by Errol Morris and Wim Wenders, the film follows the journey of three whistleblowers determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. "National Bird" explores the complexities of drone warfare from a human perspective, and gives rare insight into the American military drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors.

As part of its Indie Lens Pop-Up community film series, NET in partnership with ITVS, will present this exclusive interactive screening of “National Bird” at 7:30 p.m. CT/6:30 p.m. MT, Monday, April 3, at netNebraska.org/ovee.

The film will also be shown simultaneously at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, the Midwest Theater in Scottsbluff and the West Point Community Theatre in West Point as part of the monthly Indie Lens Pop-Up community film series.

"National Bird"

Following the film, a panel discussion will be live-streamed from the Sheldon Museum of Art to connect all audiences both online and in-person. Panelists include Kennebeck, an independent documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist with more than 15 years directing and producing, and Dan Gettinger, founder and co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in New York. Dan Gettinger Also joining the discussion online will be Lisa, a former technical sergeant on a drone surveillance system featured in the film.

Audience members at all locations will be able to submit questions and comments to the panelists, contributing to a statewide dialogue that will bring a seemingly faraway issue closer to home.

At the center of “National Bird” are three U.S. military veterans — Heather, Daniel and Lisa. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, each decides to speak out publicly, regardless of the consequences. 

“National Bird” explores the difficult circumstances faced by military personnel involved with combat drones, the use of which has transformed modern warfare. Missions are highly classified, and there are no official counts of military or civilian casualties. The need for operators and intelligence analysts is increasing, yet their experiences and perspectives have been largely neglected because of their distance from the battlefield. While it may be true that these veterans don’t sustain battlefield injuries, their psychological wounds can be substantial.

The Indie Lens Pop-Up community film series confronts real-life issues while bringing people together for community-driven conversation around films from the award-winning PBS series. It is free and open to the public.

The final film in the Indie Lens Pop-Up series will be “Real Boy.” This coming-of-age story features Bennett, a transgender teenager with dreams of musical stardom. During the first two years of his gender transition, Bennett works to repair a strained relationship with his family, and he is taken under the wing of his friend and musical hero, celebrated transgender folk singer Joe Stevens.

“Real Boy” begins at 1:30 p.m. CT, May 21, at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, 7:30 p.m. MT, May 25, at the Midwest Theater in Scottsbluff and at 6:30 p.m. CT, June 12, at the West Point Community Theatre in West Point.

For more information about Independent Lens, visit pbs.org/independentlens. For more information on the series and NET Community Engagement, visit the NET website at netNebraska.org/engage, or for more information about screenings in Scottsbluff and West Point visit http://midwesttheater.com/ and http://westpointcommunitytheatre.org/.

NET operates the statewide public service network which includes television, radio and online services. To learn more, visit netNebraska.org.

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CONTACT: Sandi Karstens, 402-470-6578, skarstens@netNebraska.org

NET, Nebraska’s PBS Station

NET is Nebraska's first public television broadcast service and includes PBS and award-winning, locally produced public television programming; NET World (NET2) offers live coverage of the Nebraska Unicameral, and other local, news and public affairs programming; NET Create (NET3) features the most popular how-to, travel and lifestyle series.

About Independent Lens

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10 p.m. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens. Join the conversation: facebook.com/independentlens and on Twitter @IndependentLens.

Indie Lens Pop-Up

Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS's Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders and organizations together to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics, to family and relationships. Make friends, share stories, and join the conversation. Can't attend in person? Find Independent Lens on Facebook for information on our online Pop-Up events.