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  • bug spray available
  • community event
  • food vendors on-site
  • live music
  • picnics allowed

Based on a magazine essay written by noted best-­selling novelist Jonathan Franzen for The New Yorker and widely republished around the world, Emptying the Skies chronicles the rampant poaching of migratory songbirds in southern Europe. Songbird populations have been drastically declining for several decades, and a number of species face extinction imminently. The film explores the wonder of these tiny globe-­flying marvels, millions of which are unlawfully slaughtered each year for large sums on the black market, and follows an intrepid squad of pan-­European bird-­lovers who risk their lives waging a secret war against poachers, disrupting illegal trapping and freeing as many birds as possible.

To make Emptying the Skies, the filmmakers spent nearly a year in the field, going from mission to mission, from summer to fall to winter to spring embedded with their subjects as they operated their “camps” to confront poachers at critical migration pinch-­points in Cyprus, France and Italy. Filming took place in Germany and Manhattan as well.

Emptying the Skies is Jonathan Franzen’s first foray into motion picture production.

THIS IS A FREE EVENT — however, you may opt to purchase a ticket to the pre-party ($30) or just come for the screening ($5 suggested donation).

​Event presented by Libby Kirwin Real Estate

This event is a joint fundraiser to benefit newportFILM & Norman Bird Sanctuary

Post-film Q&A with producer & co-director Roger Kass

We are offering two options for the evening:

Starting at 6:30PM

Pre-party with appetizers courtesy of Glorious Affairs + Libations by SpikedSeltzer + Music by Honey Hollow + Tour the renovated Paradise Farmhouse + Sunset film screening

$30 ticket (purchase online or at the door)

– OR –

Starting at 7:45PM

Sunset film screening only

$5 suggested donation (donate at the door)

  • Tallulah on Thames taco cart, Le Petit Gourmet, Tricycle Ice Cream & Boru Noodle Bar will be on-site selling food
  • Picnics welcome
  • NO smoking or pets

Rain Venue: Casino Theater, 9 Freebody Street, Newport

Run time: 78 minutes
Director: Douglas Kass
Producer: Roger Kass
Emptying The Skies
This is a past event

A call to action for anyone who cherishes the natural world.

 Music Box Films


 Sheffield Doc/Fest

Regardless of the culinary appeal...the compelling documentary Emptying the Skies points out that such fare comes at a tremendous cost.”

Saratoga Film Forum

The Kass Brothers offer breathtaking beauty and shuddering horrors against Franzen’s poetic narration. Rather than adopting the strident tone of many conservation-themed films, they focus on the quirky nature of our heroes on a mission almost as single-minded, sleep-deprived and fearless as that of the migrating birds.”

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