Bat City, USA

Bat City, USA is Laura Brooks' compelling new documentary about how a city overcame its fear of one of the world's most misunderstood creatures and now heartily embraces them, largely thanks to the efforts of one man.


Directors

Laura Brooks

Country

USA 

Year

2012

Running Time

57 mins 

Watch the Film

batcityusathefilm.com

 

 

SFGFF Film Program:

Bat City USAA giant colony of Mexican Free-tailed bats moved into an Austin, Texas bridge in the 1980's after a reconstruction project created an ideal roosting habitat. The "bat invasion" launched a media hoopla and alarm among residents worried about bat attacks and rabies.

When the city threatened to exterminate the bats, a zealous conservationist named Merlin Tuttle stepped in and fought to save them. Tuttle, a bat researcher at a Milwaukee museum, moved to Austin, which he called the epicenter of "worldwide bad bat publicity", and founded Bat Conservation International to promote a positive image of bats. To overcome local opposition, he worked tirelessly to change public perception of the bats—from scary disease carriers to desirable creatures who help keep moths and mosquitoes in check, among other environmental benefits. As a pioneering bat photographer whose images were published in National Geographic, Tuttle used his striking photos as one important weapon in his battle for the bats.

Thanks to Tuttle's efforts, Austin now loves its bats. Thousands of tourists annually are drawn to the downtown setting for a fascinating, close-up glimpse of the world’s largest urban bat colony – nearly one million bats.

"Laura Brooks has created a compelling, richly informative film – every bit as rare and wondrous as the flying mammals that fill its frames." – Doug Kreutz, Environmental Reporter, Tucson, AZ

"Bat City, USA is the story of a gifted and passionate scientist who overcame ridicule and rejection to single-handedly save a city's huge bat colony. In doing so, he transformed the city's perception of the bat from a menace to a beloved icon." – John Kerr, Writer, Austin, TX

Screening: October 28, 2013 at Ninth Street Independent Film Center. West Coast Premiere.

Discussion with: Cat Taylor, Naturalist, East Bay Regional Park District; Corky Quirk, NorCal Bats - plus live bat encounters!