Chicken People

Chicken People

(2016)

May the best chicken win.

In a high stakes world where a single broken feather can mean a shattered dream, Chicken People follows the trials and tribulations of three diverse personalities who breed exotic birds in the world of competitive poultry.... More

Chicken may be just food for most people, but raising the perfect chicken is an all-consuming passion for some. A real life Best in Show but about chickens, the film follows the struggles and triumphs of both humans and their chickens on the road to compete at the Ohio National Poultry Show, considered the Westminster of Chickens.Hide

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Flicks Review

Maybe the most accurately titled film of the year, Nicole Lucas Haimes’s Chicken People — the American Pecking Order if you will — might not be an especially memorable or distinctive entry in the hey-look-at-this-eccentric-subculture brand of doco filmmaking. But the thoroughly compassionate manner in which it communicates the zesty dedication of these chicken lovers is not without appeal. While Chicken People hasn’t quite turned me off a good juicy drumstick (some of these guys eat their chickens too), it at the very least casts those clucking birds in an agreeably affectionate light.... More

We’re allowed to appreciate the finer details of their physical attributes, such as the beauty of a perfectly shaped comb or wattle. More rewarding still, we empathise with these poultry aficionados. Their unyielding sincerity — “chickens don’t judge you”, one muses — is hard to deny.

Competitive poultry exhibition is a valuable, emotionally cathartic, even spiritual outlet for many. Homemaker Shari McCollough battles the scars of alcoholism and childhood domestic violence. Crooner Brian Caraker, who dreams of his owning a chicken farm, has self-esteem issues. Brian Knox, a race engine builder and “hatch-a-holic”, sees his birds as a challenge to attain a finely honed masterpiece.

Centering a narrative around the countdown to crown one chicken a “Super Grand Champion” doesn’t hold much of a suspenseful charge. But Chicken People, if nothing else, delivers on the promise of its title. With its array of chicken mating rituals, wham-bam chicken sex, diapered chickens, chicken deaths, hatching chicks and studmuffin chickens, the doco ensures our senses continue to be engaged, and educated, in all things chicken.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • The beguiling documentary Chicken People proves that truth is not only stranger than fiction, but often more poignant and illuminating as well. Full Review

  • An illuminating and amusingly entertaining look at the thriving subculture of competitive poultry breeders. Full Review

  • A fun and at times astonishing film. Full Review

  • Chicken People director Nicole Lucas Haimes has found an engaging bunch of obsessives to guide us through the complexities that govern the world of the competitive poultry show. Full Review

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