The Dawn Chorus

A cinematic meditation of the dawn of May 3, 2020 as observed from around the world during the Covid-19 lockdown

where to watch

past screenings

about the film

Part covid diary, part meditation on the new dawn as we emerge from a year of uncertainty and tumult, The Dawn Chorus is a global film project consisting of cinematic and contemplative scenes of dawn captured on May 3, 2020 – International Dawn Chorus Day – from all over the globe weaved together into a lyrical meditation on the first light and sounds of the day. All scenes were captured safely by professional and amateur filmmakers and sound recordists from their unique vantage point while on lockdown. The film pieces together footage of the dawn of May 3, 2020 into a singular experience as a metaphor for hope as we pause and contemplate the version of ourselves and the world we will bring forward as the dawn breaks on this trying time. 

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.

Henry David Thoreau

director’s statement

We gathered contributions from 35 filmmakers in 13 countries – from Cambodia to Italy to Armenia – to piece together this 20-minute film. The film weaves together meditative shots of the dawn of May 3 as observed, in most cases, from our unique lockdown perspectives as a metaphor of rebirth, something many of us are contemplating during this time as we start to imagine what we and the world will look like when we emerge from these crises. From the exotic calls of a Malaysian Night Heron captured in a park in Taiwan to a Muslim call to prayer captured from a rooftop in Cambodia, each shot also has a story to tell, one in which the sounds and sights merge with a felt presence of the individual behind the camera to form an intimate portrait of a moment in time. The Dawn Chorus is not meant to be a highlight reel of beautiful shots of the dawn but rather an embodied experience of witnessing the first light and sounds of the day, one that mimics the rhythms and pacing of such a gesture. It’s an opportunity for viewers to pause and contemplate the version of themselves and the world we will bring forward as the dawn breaks on this trying time. 

PRODUCED BY Patrick Shen + Brandon Vedder
MUSIC BY Masayoshi Fujita (Courtesy of Erased Tapes Records)


Gershom Arul // Chennai, India
Fred Bell // Searchlight, Nevada 
Caitlin Carroll & Brad Forder // Washington, DC
Marco Coslovich // Trieste, Italy
Kevin Driedger // Three Rivers, Michigan
Ewan Dryburgh // Winchester, United Kingdom
Adam Forrester // Atlanta, Georgia
Laura Giannone & Simon Houk // Joyce, Washington
Angel Perez Grandi // Enniskillen, Ireland
Cassidy Hall // Indianapolis, Indiana
Carlin Hsueh // Garvanza, California
Anna Kolber // Los Angeles, California
Nastassia K T //  Rio Frio Oriental, Municipality of Tabio, Colombia
Benjamin Kitzinger // San Diego, California
Alex Kozobolis // Brighton, United Kingdom
Daniel Kunz // Bellmund, Switzerland
Luwin Kwan // Duarte, California
Peyton Lea // Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Palmer Morse // Oakland, California
Aaron O’Sullivan // Lake Tahoe CA
Makara Ouch // Battambang Province, Cambodia
Patrick Shen // Monrovia, California
Palōmi Rānī Sheth // Venice, California
Tiar Simorangkir // Jakarta, Indonesia
Soumaya & Ahmed Snoussi // Bizerte, Tunisia
Terrance Stewart // Glendale, California
Arthur Sukiasyan // Yerevan, Armenia
Janos Tedeschi // Jura, Switzerland
Mark van Tongeren // Longtan, Taiwan
Ioanna Tsoucala // Attica, Greece
Andy Tzou // Los Angeles, California
Brandon Vedder // Auburn, California