The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
This poignant documentary chronicles the true story of a modern-day St. Francis of Assisi, a homeless San Francisco street musician by the name of Mark Bittner, who adopts a flock of wild parrots as he searches for meaning in his life. With a surprise ending that left festival audiences cheering, director Judy Irving’s film celebrates urban wildness — human and avian — and links parrot antics to human behavior.
Mark Bittner has befriended hundreds of parrots over the years. They live in and around his apartment. He moved to the San Francisco area to become a rock star, only to have that dream never come true. He lived on a roof of a hotel, to start. He didn’t have a source of income, and that financial struggle went on for years and years. By the generosity of others, he survived. His neighbors bought him a journal to track the parrot’s lives. Then, a neighbor said Mark needed a camera and a computer, so they bought him one of each.Mark’s neighbors have been fascinated with him and his love for the parrots, and strangers often stop to ask him questions and give him money for food for the birds. He loves the parrots like family. Many of the birds live or visit him in his home. He has named many of them and can tell stories of their lives for hours on end. There is even romance among the parrots. Mark determines he needs to move out of the area and goes to the city to make sure the parrots are cared for once he leaves. San Francisco separates them into two parrot flocks, and other states open up places to support them. Some of his parrot friends live in Oasis Sanctuary, in Phoenix, Arizona. This film receives the Dove Family Approved Seal of approval for the whole family to enjoy.