International Dawn Chorus Day

On International Dawn Chorus Day (May 3, 2020), birds from six continents join an online video call. They gossip about storms and cats and wires and dates. They share speculations about Egyptian filmmaker Shady Habash, known for his satirical anti-dictator music videos, who died the day before in Cairo’s notorious Tora prison. They talk about Egyptian queer activist Sarah Hegazi, famously incarcerated for flying a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert, now living as a political refugee in Toronto. They don’t realise that a month later, Sarah will take her own life, unable to bear the pain of her prison trauma. “The experience was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me,” she wrote.
by John Greyson
with Shady Habash, Sarah Hegazi
Canada 2021 English 15’ Colour Documentary form

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • Shady Habash
  • Sarah Hegazi


Written and Directed by John Greyson
Cinematography 40 DOPs from around the world
Editing Kalil Haddad
Sound Design Everett Hooper
Producer John Greyson
Director John Greyson

Produced by


John Greyson

The Canadian film and video artist was born in Nelson, British Columbia in 1960. He studied film at the Canadian Film Center and has made over 60 award-winning feature films, installations, transmedia works and shorts. In 1989, he won a Teddy Award for Urinal; in 1991, he received another for The Making of Monsters. His work combines documentary and fictional elements and explores issues including queer activism, homophobic violence, AIDS activism, anti-apartheid and anti-war struggles, conflicts in the Middle East, police entrapment and prison abolition. He has taught film production at York University in Toronto since 2014.

Filmography (selection)

1989 Urinal 1990 The Making of Monsters; short film 1993 Zero Patience 1996 Lilies 1997 Un©ut 1998 Herr; short film 2000 The Law of Enclosures 2001 Packin'; short film 2003 Proteus; co-director: Jack Lewis 2007 Orange Clouds 2009 Fig Trees · Covered; short film 2010 Rex Vs. Singh · 14.3 Seconds 2011 Green Laser; short film 2013 Murder in Passing 2017 Memurial; short film 2018 Gazonto; short film · Towel; short film 2020 Prurient; short film · Auterson Clock; short film 2021 International Dawn Chorus Day; short film

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021