ICELAND | 80 MINUTES
FEATHERED COCAINE / Tribeca Film Festival
Directed by Örn Marino Arnarson, Thorkell Hardarson,
Örn Marino Arnarson, and Thorkell Hardarson
Behind drugs, people, and weapons, falcon smuggling has
become the world's most mysterious and profitable illegal
trade. To the wealthy elite throughout the Persian Gulf, falcon
hunting is a passion beyond compare. The coveted birds
regularly command prices from $25,000 to $1 million, earning
them the nickname "feathered cocaine" as thieves race to
ransack vast areas of the world in an addictive quest.
In their directorial debut, Icelandic filmmakers Thorkell Hardarson and Örn Marino Arnarson unspool the shady connections between this falcon trade and royal dynasties, the CIA and KGB, the oil industry, American government, and Al-Qaeda. At the center of their story is Alan Parrot, aka Hari Har Singh Khalsa. After graduating high school in the early 1970s, Alan tricked his parents and took off on a one-way ticket to Tehran, Iran; obsessed from an early age, all he ever wanted was to work with falcons. Raising and training the exotic creatures for the royal court, he went on to export falcons to the president of the UAE professionally, implicating him as the one who first spurred the modern economy for the birds. Hardarson and Arnarson's bold investigation reveals not only the wild behavior of men obsessed with a bird of prey, but the unlikely character behind the movement to impede their smuggling.