Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fourteen Major Plane Crashes, Fourteen Sole Survivors

That's the chilling statistic at the heart of Sole Survivor, a feature documentary edited this month in LA and scheduled to debut by fall.

In places where the crashes occurred, the fact that a sole survivor is now speaking is in some cases big news. For example, until the making of the documentary, Jim Polehinke had not talked publicly about surviving the 2006 crash in Lexington, Kentucky of Comair Flight 5191. Co-pilot Polehinke, who is disabled and now lives in Colorado, is front and center in Sole Survivor, as is George Lamson, who survived a crash in 1985 of a Reno flight bound for Minneapolis.

In the interview for the film, Polehinke's wife hints at the fatalism that envelops people caught up in this bizarre, harrowing scenario:

"First of all, he would have rather died," said his wife Ida in a clip from the film. "His conviction as a pilot was so great that he would have rather gone down with the ship. And that is how he felt. His heart was always with the passengers and never ever with himself. It is such an emotional cross that he bears that no one really sees but me. I wish we could convey that. And he would have given anything to have gone with all of them rather than sitting here today doing this."
"In the film, we see Jim's emotion," said the filmmaker. "We get to know Jim quiet intimately. In the interviews, it is very difficult for Jim to talk about. It is very difficult for him to keep his composure, and Ida is able to articulate some of the things that are very difficult for him to say. It's a prison that he will be in forever and maybe it will lessen through time. Who knows? But it is something that he thinks about every day."

Sole Survivor was written and directed by Chicago based filmmaker Ky Dickens, who previously made Fish Out of Water.

[Sole Survivor]

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