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Broken Wings
Music film & awareness campaign against bird poaching in Southeast Asia - 2023
Directed by Jorik Dozy & Sil van der Woerd
Broken Wings is a unique documentary-music film that unveils the untold story of bird poaching in Southeast Asia. The film captures the journey tropical birds make from forest to cage, revealing how forests are emptied on a massive scale, threatening more than 1,500 bird species with extinction. Yet almost nobody knows about it.

The full film can be watched for free on WaterBear Network.

Directors Jorik Dozy & Sil van der Woerd

“A wild bird in a cage isn't cute or fun, it's a symbol of robbed freedom, suffering, torn families and destruction of ecosystems.”

Birds In Crisis

You might have never thought about it, but where does your pet bird come from? Bird poaching is a global problem that has devastating consequences for ecosystems and biodiversity. Southeast Asia is home to over one fifth of global bird species. This richness has brought about large-scale wildlife trafficking throughout the region to fulfill demand for the pet trade.

Globally, 49% of bird species are declining, one in eight are threatened with extinction.

In an effort to raise awareness on this critical issue, nature focused WaterBear Network and Studio Birthplace teamed up with renowned composer Ludovico Einaudi to tell this story.


Ludovico Einaudi

“Music has the ability to transcend language barriers and connect with people on a deep emotional level, raising awareness on important issues and having a positive impact on the world. With nearly half of the world's wild bird species in decline, and one in eight at risk of extinction, we must stop the trafficking of wild birds. Let's leave them free, let's keep them out of cages.”

Ludovico Einaudi

Being one of the most ubiquitous contemporary composers of the century and the highest-streamed classical pianist of all time, Ludovico Einaudi previously brought attention to the protection of the Arctic Ocean. Now, Einaudi shares his platform to bring attention to the issue of wild bird trafficking.


The team at Studio Birthplace, helmed by directors Jorik Dozy and Sil van der Woerd, set out to capture the story of what a single bird experiences from being captured in the wild, to ending up in a cage as a pet bird. The team conducted extensive on-the-ground research to reveal the shocking methods used to capture and transport birds. To tell the story as accurately as possible, the team followed a real bird poacher for several days and filmed in three wildlife markets.

Broken Wings was filmed over a period of 7 days. Using only natural light, cinematographer Nicholas Chin braved the challenges of filming in a rainforest during monsoon season to capture stunning footage of the bird trade in action. The birds that were poached while filming were released back into the wild at the end of the shoot.

Veteran conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton first brought the issue of bird poaching to the attention of the team at Studio Birthplace while they were filming a documentary in SouthEast Asia. Paul, whose striking images captured the immense suffering caused by the bird trade, is leading the effort to shed more light on the issue and to amplify the campaign further.

Photography by Paul Hilton 

Indonesia-based NGO Thrive Conservation has compiled a report on the wild bird trade in Southeast Asia for viewers who want to learn more. They are working to protect birds in Indonesia, a country with more globally threatened bird species than anywhere else in the world.  Attached to the film is Thrive’s “call to action” that urges audiences to stop caging wild birds, and donate to the cause.

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