Project Updates: The Falconer

Greetings! We write to you fresh off our research trip to the town of Arcugnano, Italy, where we spent ten days on an intense creative retreat in an idyllic country home in the foothills of the Alps. We have the immense privilege to be making a film that is deeply rooted in a real story that actually happened five years ago in Yemen, and in order to serve it the greatest justice and ensure a level of vibrant detail, we decided to uproot our development process and immerse ourselves in the company of our film’s main character – the real life “Falconer” – and his mother in their family home here in Italy. 

We’ve spent hours & hours hearing about the reality of growing up and living in Yemen, the rise of the Arab Spring, the conflicts & harmonies of di erent cultures in the region, and of course, the business of wild animals in the Middle East and the real events around stealing animals from the zoo & selling them on the black market to pay for a girl’s divorce. To our surprise and great joy, the real stories are more magical, more exciting and more cinematic than anything we could have dreamed up. 

-Team Falconer:

Seanne, Adam & David

Tarim Kennedy, our life rights holder, grew up in Yemen with an Italian mother and an American father who met while in their twenties as development workers in Yemen. Over the next three decades, whenever their world got too hot, or too dangerous, the family would evacuate Yemen and travel to the Italian countryside for a few months. It is here where Tarim met his first bird of prey, where he was trained by a legendary falconer, and where he fell deeply in love with this way of life which he would take back to the wilds of Yemen. His mother, Roberta Contin, continues to do active development work in Yemen through her NGO, Global Communities, and it was incredibly timely to catch up with them before her return to the region. 

Adam Sjoberg