Fellow: Awarded 1983
Field of Study: Film
Competition: US & Canada
Judy Irving is an Emmy- and Sundance-Award-winning documentary filmmaker whose latest feature, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, is the third highest-grossing theatrical documentary about animals. Set in San Francisco, Wild Parrots is the true story of a Bohemian St. Francis and his remarkable relationship with a flock of wild red-and-green parrots. It was a “Top Ten Film of the Year” (2005 National Film Critics’ Poll), and was the highest rated program on the national PBS series Independent Lens in 2007. Ms. Irving’s other films include Dark Circle, a nonfiction feature about the nuclear industry, recently released on DVD, and a public television series about the wildlife and countryside of the San Francisco Bay Area.
She received her Masters degree from Stanford University and is the Executive Director of Pelican Media, a nonprofit media arts organization based in San Francisco (http://www.pelicanmedia.org).
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is the first in a series of urban environmental films about vivid, colorful characters who reinvent themselves in San Francisco’s unique natural habitat. The second film in this series premiered in 2008 at the Ocean Film Festival: Nineteen Arrests, No Convictions features a legendary bar owner with a fishy nightlife who redeems himself as an open-water Bay swimmer.
Her current, in-progress documentary, entitled Pelican Dreams, features a young brown pelican who landed by mistake—tired and hungry—on the roadway of the Golden Gate Bridge, creating a spectacular traffic jam and re-igniting Judy’s years’-long fascination with these ancient, mysterious birds.