ENG // Winner of the Emerging Filmmaker Award at Hot Docs in 2019, Emily Gan takes us inside her soft-spoken father’s world, with scenes of family life, interviews and poetic visions captured in the half-light.Painted on a backdrop of the edible bird’s nest farming industry, Cavebirds is a poignant film that reflects on matters of the heart, home and heritage. 

FR // Lauréate du prix de la cinéaste émergente au festival Hot Docs 2019, Emily Gan nous entraîne dans l’univers de son père, un homme à la voix douce, en mêlant scènes de famille, entrevues et visions poétiques saisies dans la pénombre. Sur fond de l’industrie de nids d’oiseaux comestibles, Cavebirds est un film tendre et émouvant, centré sur des questions d’amour, de foyer et d’héritage.An industry that farms edible nests made of bird spit provides the backdrop to a father-daughter film about matters of the heart, home, and heritage.  


“The EMERGING FILMMAKER PRIZE goes to a film that demonstrates a profound connectivity with a long tradition of diasporic cinema. This film is a quiet personal reflection on the complexities of migration and belonging, told through poetic details and poignant autobiographical reflection.” – Jury statement @ Hot Docs 2019

In CAVEBIRDS, the filmmaker tracks her father’s progress in building an edible-nest swiftlet birdhouse in his hometown – a small village in Malaysia he left more than half a lifetime ago. Together they explore the places they call home on opposite sides of the globe, while the birds fly unceasingly from scene to scene bridging the cultural and generational gaps between a daughter and her immigrant father.


I wish to acknowledge the support from the Canada Arts Council Media Production Grant (2013), Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (2016)  and the RIDM Talent Lab (2014)

I also wish to acknowledge the generous support of family members, friends, mentors and collaborators who continue to guide and inspire me.

And a special thanks to my parents: Howard Gan and Grace Gan