In this Film Ireland podcast, Gemma Creagh talks to Gavin Fitzgerald, Director of Million Dollar Pigeons.
The Irish documentary is about the passionate and ferociously competitive international pigeon masters, known as fanciers, that will do whatever it takes to win. Big bucks, sweat, tears and sleepless nights are invested into these feathered athletes, yet on race day all they can do is wait, hope and pray.
Fitzgerald’s guide into this competitive racing world is Ireland-based pigeon fancier John O’Brien. A father of two, he has 60 pigeons, including race winner “Big Balls”, that he routinely trains. Citing a vision that appeared to him while hallucinating at confirmation that he was meant to be in the sport, O’Brien has a big dream he wants to achieve.
Flying under the radar are a group of pigeon masters from the US, Thailand, China and South Africa, competing in one of the most lucrative bird races on the planet. Each event is stranger and more exciting than the last. When scandal taints the crown-jewel event, the community is rocked and the future of the sport is up in the air.
The film had its world premiere at the prestigious Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and had its Irish premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh earlier this year.
Million Dollar Pigeons is in cinemas from 25th November 2022.