As the Gull Flies

Contact us for screenings/installation of As the Gull Flies

Created in partnership with the Biosphère

Film Credits

Featuring Anna Lippold, Jonathan Verreault, Stéphanie Mercure, Francis St. Pierre and the gulls of Île Deslauriers

Producer and Director  Elizabeth (Liz) Miller
Cinematographer & Editor  Vincent Donze
Project Advisor MJ Thompson
Additional Cinematography Deborah Vanslet, Elizabeth Miller
Script Anna Houston, Deborah Vanslet, Elizabeth Miller
Sound Design Angus Tarnawsky
Creative Technologist K.P. Morgan
Production Support Émilie Trudeau
Title Concept Matt Soar
Title Design Isabelle Boucher
Data Research Anna Lippold

Thanks to David Clark, Teresa Connors, John Neufeld, Michele Luchs, Joshua Chalifour, Megan Fitzgibbons

With support from Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council Connection Grants and Concordia University


  • Nagy, Kelsi and Johnson II, Phillip David. (2013). Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species. University of Minnesota Press. 
  • Mayntz, Melissa. (2020). Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds. Hardie Grant Publishing. 


As the Gull Flies  is an immersive educational film/installation that explores the relationships between ring-billed gulls, Montreal residents, urban toxicologists, and waste experts and the tensions that arise from the presence of a wild animal that has adapted to thrive off of human discards. 

Each May on the island of Île Deslauriers, just a few kilometres from Montreal’s East end, 70,000 ring-billed gulls arrive to breed. This spectacular event is an opportunity for toxicologists to observe the gulls in order to understand the contaminants they are exposed to while feeding at the nearby landfill. But what to make of the fact that these protected migratory birds, while a subject of concern from biologists, are at the same time a nuisance to nearby city residents or sanitation workers? And, what happens when the toxic waste that humans have squirrelled away is spilled back into the environment through the gulls’ daily movements? 

As the Gull Flies delivers a glimpse of the ring-billed gull from multiple, partial and conflicting human perspectives, and asks the questions: What can the gulls teach us about adaptation? Toxic exposure? Spatial Navigation? How do gulls, often referred to as urban scavengers or waste animals, hold up a mirror to our own evolving relationships to waste? The project ask us to consider “Who really is the waste animal?”

“Despite efforts to disgorge ourselves of waste, millions of people live with, and on, consumption’s cast-offs. Additionally, an undocumented number of ‘trash animals’—gulls, ravens, pigeons, raccoons, rats, mice, dogs, polar bears and so on—eat, defecate, play games with, have sex on, and otherwise live out their lives in our dumpsites.”
(Alexander Zahara and Myra J. Hird, 2015. P. 169-70)

WasteScapes was created by students and faculty at Concordia University in Tioh:tiáke/ Montréal with additional support from a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Connection Grant