Rodney Stotts was born into a semi-impoverished community in the Maryland/DC region. His early life was on the streets, during a crack epidemic, losing friends and family to drugs and violence. He doesn’t look back or talk about it.
Instead he talks about and demonstrates his work as a licensed master Falconer, as well as his environmental work cleaning up rivers with high school dropouts under the aegis of The Earth Conservation Corps, and the creation of his Oak Hill Raptor Center and sanctuary which includes the participation of at-risk inner-city youth who are learning about raptors, nature and personal responsibility.
Annie Kaempfer’s The Falconer follows Stotts as he and his youthful helpers start the demanding work of refurbishing a hundred-year old dairy barn through to the humble yet deeply sincere opening ceremony. His goal is to protect raptors, heal and release them, take care of the birds who are unreleasable, teach children about caring for the birds, and for a few, how to become a Falconer.
Stotts is his own narrator as he speaks of his background, his philosophy of life, the healing he discovered caring for birds, and the children he teaches and mentors.
The Falconer is a richly textured, thoroughly engaging and inspiring film that I whole-heartedly recommend for us adults as well as children.
P.S. Don’t tell anybody, but Rodney Stotts is a very good singer.