Music Box, Films We Like take “Emptying the Skies”

New York-based sales agent Submarine has sold all U.S. rights, barring TV, for songbird documentary Emptying the Skies (pictured) to Music Box Films, with Canadian rights going to Films We Like.
May 9, 2014

New York-based sales agent Submarine has sold all U.S. rights, barring television, for Douglas and Roger Kass’s documentary Emptying the Skies to Music Box Films, with Canadian rights going to distributor Films We Like.

Based on a New Yorker essay by author Jonathan Franzen, Emptying the Skies – produced by RingTheJing in association with Sustainable Films - chronicles the poaching of migratory songbirds, whose population have been declining for decades, with some species facing extinction. The film follows a group of bird-protectors who risk their lives to save the creatures.

French distributor Java Films recently acquired international sales rights for the doc. Meanwhile, Music Box Films plans a U.S. theatrical release later this year.

“We have long admired what Music Box’s Ed Arentz and Bill Schopf have been doing with independent films,” said the Kass brothers in a statement. “Their output is consistently very fine and filmmakers like us have to be impressed with their marketing acumen and focus.”
In a joint statement, Arentz and Schopf – MD and president of Music Box Films respectively – added: “Emptying the Skies, very much a piece with other recent exposés like The Cove and Blackfish, is a call to action for birders, conservationists and anyone who cherishes the natural world.”
About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty