The Central Park Effect: A bird movie that gets it?
by Nate Swick
Playing now, as part of the film festival at the massive Austin, Texas, music festival South by Southwest, is the second bird themed movie of the last six months. This one is unlikely to make birders cringe, though perhaps unlikely to make a profit either.
The Central Park Effect reveals the extraordinary array of wild birds who grace Manhattan's celebrated patch of green and the equally colorful, full-of-attitude New Yorkers who schedule their lives around the rhythms of migration. Acclaimed author Jonathan Franzen, an idiosyncratic trombone technician, a charming fashion-averse teenager, and a bird-tour leader who's recorded every sighting she's made since the 1940s are among the film's cast of characters. Featuring spectacular wildlife footage capturing the changing seasons, this lyrical documentary transports the viewer to a dazzling world that goes all but unnoticed by the 38 million people who visit the park each year.
Reviews have been positive from all viewers, especially birders. Ted Eubanks goes so far as to say this is the first movie that portrays birders properly. High praise, and high expectations, indeed. Take a look at the trailer to see for yourself.
The Central Park Effect is playing once more at SXSW this Thursday afternoon. Whether or not it sees wider distribution remains to be seen.