April 29, 2009
By Mike Collins
What inspires someone to make a film about aviation? For Will Hawkins, passions for both filmmaking and flight. The fruit of these passions is “A Pilot’s Story,” a documentary that tells the story of flight through the words of pilots; it is scheduled to premiere next year at Sun ‘n Fun.
Hawkins, the director, and Rico Sharqawi, the producer, are teaming to make “ A Pilot’s Story”.
“The film combines sound bites of pilots telling their stories with incredible air-to-air footage,” Hawkins said. The Web site includes two theatrical trailers that showcase their work to date.
“We grabbed an HD camera and took it to the airport, and got pilots to do some hangar flying,” he said at Sun ’n Fun during an evening program April 24 in the AOPA Pavilion.
The film makers’ goal is to inform the public about general aviation and to get them to consider it as a hobby or career, he said.
“We were taking kids on [EAA] Young Eagle flights,” Sharqawi explained. “We wanted to expand that excitement to an audience of more than three people at a time.”
“We want to reach out to kids on a larger scale than one to one,” Hawkins added.
The film is in production. Hawkins hopes to finish work this year and debut the movie at Sun ’n Fun 2010. He then hopes to screen it at museums, libraries, schools, and, of course, airshows.
“Eventually, the film will be available to public television and from Amazon.com,” Sharqawi added.
They’ve interviewed high-profile airshow pilots, television personalities, and pilots they’ve met.
“We’ll be at airports and walk into open hangars and say, ‘Do you want to be in a movie?’” Hawkins said. “Every pilot has something to say. Most say they can’t contribute, but we sit them down and get them talking.”
Among those still to be interviewed are two astronauts. Next month, they will direct a segment over the Internet as a filmmaker in New Zealand videotapes some pilots there.
The pair has fit their production studio into their Piper Arrow. “We still fill the fuel to the tabs, and fly five hours” to a location to film, Hawkins said.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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