Directed by Scott Crocker
is a feature length documentary about an extinct giant woodpecker, a small town In Arkansas hoping to reverse its misfortunes, and the tireless odyssey of the bird-watchers and scientists searching for the Holy Grail of birds, the elusive Ivory-billed woodpecker.
In 2005, scientists announced that the Ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to be extinct for 60 years, was spotted in the swamps of Eastern Arkansas. Suddenly the swamps were flooded with ornithologists, birders and millions of government dollars, and the struggling nearby town of Brinkley discovered a promotional edge. However, credible evidence of the woodpecker's actual existence has been elusive, and the film balances the testimony (pro and con) of prominent scientists and bird experts with an examination of the seductive power of hope and investigation into the politics of our uneasy relationship with nature.
This critically acclaimed film is an excellent resource for educators to explore a wide variety of environmental, philosophical, and cultural studies.
The educational DVD package includes a resource kit intended to help educators develop lessons across a variety of disciplines.
- Biological and Environmental Science: an engaging introduction to ornithological science, and broader issues of conservation biology and scientific methodology.
- Anthropology, Sociology, and History: a contemporary ethnographical study of the culture of the American South and of the post-industrial economic history of its small towns.
- Media Studies and English: compelling material for eco-critical inquiry, narrative study, and rhetorical analysis.
- Philosophy and Religious Studies: searching questions about epistemology, ontology, ethics, and faith in the context of environmental collapse.
"A witty, wistful documentary (that turns) a bird-watching tale into a multilayered story that will fascinate practically everybody." - Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
"An unassuming, clear-headed documentary about the hope that heaven and Earth may have actually produced a miracle, at least this time around, and allowed a species back from extinction." - Guy Dixon, Globe and Mail
"The movie is impressive for its sophisticated take on blind hope." - J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader