The riveting new documentary “For the Birds” is a story that leads us down several roads. Obsession, marital struggle, love and loss are among the moving life experiences touched upon most poignantly by Director and Co-Producer/Editor Richard Miron.
Miron brings us into the profoundly unusual world of Kathy, a wife, mother and grandmother who over the course of several years has amassed over 200 birds on her property in rural eastern New York state, much to the chagrin and suffering of her husband of more than a quarter-century, Gary.
I had the opportunity to talk with Miron about his film, which consumed five years of his life including two devoted to editing. I started off by asking him how he originally found out about Kathy and the birds she calls pets. He tells me it all started as a senior project in college focusing on animal rescue and rights. He was working as a volunteer at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary (which plays a prominent role in the film) when he first met Kathy following up on a neighbor’s complaint about the deplorable conditions at her home. It was then that Miron says a long-term relationship with this odd yet compassionate woman developed.
“I felt for everybody in the story and I really cared about Kathy. And I know she really loved her animals.”
Miron says the thing that surprised him most during and after his intimate immersion in this ever-evolving story was bearing witness to the enormous power of change.
“The story morphed from being an animal rescue story to being more about this marriage and the way this couple loved each other in such a complex way over 25-plus years. The capacity for change. The capacity that Kathy has to turn her life around when she was really at rock-bottom.”
The final image Miron leaves us with of Kathy in “For the Birds” inspires a decided feeling of hope. For change, certainly. But ultimately for a future more closely shared with her precious family. And, as damn hard as it will be, apart from the flock of feathered friends that will forever hold a place of empathy and love deep within her healing soul.