National BirdBerlin Film Festival 2016
Heather doesn’t know how many people she’s killed. She’s never pushed the button that deploys a drone’s weaponry, but as a former Drone Imagery Analyst, she has instructed controllers of where to aim and when to fire.
Sonia Kennebeck’s terrifying documentary demonstrates the ease with which it is decided that a life should come to an end in American military strategy. The documentary makes effective use of US military recruitment videos, reminiscent of advertising for a new Playstation game. Interview subjects are haunted by what they’ve done, and they all voice the common recollection of having joined the military to escape from their uninteresting existences. Another interviewee, Lisa, plainly states that she knows that she’s on the wrong side of history.
Both the targets and those who perform the targeting are affected by these attacks – Drone Imagery Analysts are also at risk of trauma. Heather recalls how many of her coworkers took their own lives, and how she was also placed on a suicide watch. Kennebeck’s film is constructed in a straightforward manner, although this is really the only way to tell such a story. If she were to experiment with stylistic flourishes, a viewer might not believe that what they’re being told is real. If only this compelling documentary were science fiction…
National Bird does not yet have a UK release date.
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