Monday, August 11, 2008

Opposable Chums: A Review

Last night I watched the World Series of Birding documentary, Opposable Chums by Jason Kessler. Based around the 2002 World Series of Birding, the film tells the story of the event by interviewing participants and notable birders and following around teams through their 24-hour romp. Notable personalities like Pete Dunne, David Sibley, Kenn Kaufman, and John Fitzpatrick help chronicle the history of the World Series, its goals, its evolution, and the craziness that goes into an event like the WSB.

Having participated in the World Series many times, I could relate to everything that was shown. The film crew did an outstanding job capturing the nuances of the WSB. Things like scouting, eating, bathroom stops, and police encounters were all given attention. Several teams are featured showing the variety of groups participating in the WSB - from the hardcore Cornell guys to the leisurely folks from Pronatura Veracruz to the two nut-jobs who ran the whole thing on foot. My favorite element to the film was the use of humor. Things like nemesis birds, bugs, and encounters with the mammals really captured the essence of the event and had me laughing out loud on many occasions. The film also includes messages about conservation and education that are interspersed nicely without being preachy.

Even if you're someone who hasn't done a Big Day, I'm sure you'll find the film incredibly enjoyable. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this film. You can order it online from the Opposable Chums website. I haven't shown the film to any non-birders yet, so I'd love to hear from anyone who has. Or if you've seen the film, please leave a comment.


John said...

Sounds like fun.

Anonymous said...

The URL near the end of the review is
which is wrong.

The one at the top of the review is right:

So, .com rather than .org

Jason said...

Thanks for the kind words, Patrick. So happy you enjoyed it.


Wren said...

It does sound like fun. I've already ordered a copy for myself. Thanks for the review!

Jason said...

I can only hope that some of the fun I had making the film comes out in the viewing of the film.

Pete Dunne, David Sibley, Kenn Kaufman, John Fitzpatrick, Kevin McGowan, all in my film...

Ai yi yi.

Only fellow birders can envision how blessed I've been to be able to spend time with these people and ask them about things I've had on my mind.

Just a fabulous, seven-year oddysey.

And my deepest thanks to Patrick Belardo for getting the word out.

Larry said...

Thanks for the "heads up" Patrick! Great review that prompted me to buy the movie. I can't wait to see it!