Synopsis: Available June 6th Only!
Pigeon Kings takes us through the backyards of South Central Los Angeles, where men are devoted to tumbling pigeons. We watch as enthusiasts breed and train their birds for the Birmingham Roller Pigeon World Cup, where the birds must fly together and somersault in unison, like a flock of synchronized swimmers in the sky. Keith London, a former champion, guides us through this world. His masterwork is his family of birds, a result of decades of quiet patience, determination, and desperation. Keith becomes mentor to big- hearted Choo Choo. Having recently received the “loser award,” a gift of shame from fellow birdmen, Choo Choo is intent on improving his pigeon game. The pigeons provide our heroes with a community and a sense of hope: as long as they have their birds, nothing will stop these men.
I stumbled across the Los Angeles community of men engaged in raising Roller Pigeons for acrobatic competition while looking for a pigeon coop, a key location for I Feel Stupid, my UCLA Graduate School thesis film. In my search, I found myself in an unfamiliar backyard one Sunday morning, looking up at the sky over South Central LA, where a flock of pigeons was doing somersaults in the air. Somersaults in unison. Captivated, and intrigued to know more, I was given a flyer for a “Birmingham Roller Pigeon Lawn Show.” I followed the directions on the flyer to what turned out to be a pigeon auction, attended by hundreds of African American and Latino men wearing pigeon t-shirts. Their passion was infectious, and I immediately knew theirs was a story I wanted to tell.