A Birder's Guide to Everything

Opens Friday, April 11
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1hr 38mins // directed by:Rob Meyer // featuring:Ben Kingsley, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Fifteen-year-old birding fanatic David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road) thinks he’s made the discovery of a lifetime in this charmer of a film from director and Newton native Rob Meyer.

On the eve of his widower father’s second wedding, David spots what may just be the extinct Labrador duck. He and the two other stalwart members of the local Young Birders Society, joined by their headstrong photographer classmate Ellen, take off on a rollicking, interstate road trip in search of a rare bird and elusive answers to teenage questions large and small.

With marvelous supporting performances by Academy Award-winner Ben Kingsley and James LeGros, A Birder’s Guide to Everything is an alternately poignant and funny window into the thoughtful world of birding. Rob Meyer’s sparkling coming-of-age tale warms the hearts of anyone who grew up with a nerdy passion, as it becomes a tenderhearted look at the moments and relationships that change even the most intensely focused lives. (Tribeca Film Festival)

A Birder’s Guide to Everything premiered in 2013 at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won second place in the prestigious Audience Award competition. The film has received fellowships and grants from the Columbus/ Vague Film Production Fund at NYU, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Sundance Institute, and the Tribeca Film Institute. To date, it has been an official selection of the Tribeca, Aspen, Woodstock, Austin, and Williamstown film festivals.

Before the film, birding legend Kenn Kaufman, author of the memoir Kingbird Highway, the birding equivalent of On the Road, and a consultant on the film, speaks about the mysteries surrounding extinct birds. He joins with director Rob Meyer after the screening for Q&A.

About our guests

Kenn Kaufman is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on wild birds. He has written more than a dozen books on birds and natural history, including such standard references as Lives of North American Birds and Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America, and he has spoken on bird behavior and migration across North America and Europe. Travels to study birds have taken him to all 50 states of the U.S. and to all seven continents. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union, a field editor for Audubon Magazine, and the only person to have received the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement award twice. At age 16, Kaufman hit the road and spent a year crisscrossing the country to see as many birds as he could, in a birding competition known as a "big year." In what has become a classic among birders, his memoir, Kingbird Highway, chronicles the subculture of birding in the 1970s and a teenager's search for his place in the world.

Rob Meyer grew up in Newton, Massachusetts with dreams of being a field scientist or wildlife filmmaker. His first feature, A Birder’s Guide to Everything, co-written with Academy Award winner Luke Matheny, is based on his short film, Aquarium, starring Jeremy Allen White (Shameless), which played at over 60 film festivals and won over 20 awards, including an Honorable Mention at Sundance. Rob is based in New York City and received his MFA from NYU’s graduate film school. Prior to NYU, Meyer worked at PBS’s NOVA, HBO Documentary Films, and National Geographic, helping to produce Peabody- and Emmy-award winning documentaries around the world. 


"A charming and surprisingly moving coming-of-age tale, A Birder’s Guide To Everything gives the noble art of birding its due." — Joel Arnold

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