In the Works: SOLE SURVIVOR

An in-depth and sensitive look at the lone survivors of commercial airplane crashes.

Director Ky Dickens profiles four people who, through the vagaries of fate, were the single survivors of otherwise fatal plane accidents. Having suffered through not only the physical trauma of a deadly crash, but also the emotional impact of losing loved ones, these individuals have typically been reticent to share their stories. Eschewing sensationalism, Dickens provides them with a platform to revisit their past and try to make sense of what it meant for them to survive when so many others perished.

Dickens has reached nearly three-quarters of her latest Kickstarter campaign for $18,000 in finishing funds with nine days to go. She previously successfully raised more than $20,000 to get to a rough cut. Additional information on the project may be found at its website.

I first learned of this project when the filmmaker contacted me some months ago inquiring about a consultation. I was immediately intrigued – as the film notes, these individuals and their circumstances are exceedingly rare, with only fourteen such cases noted in the history of aviation. That Dickens was able to gain the trust of more than a quarter of them is something of a feat – even one of their stories has the potential to provide the material for a compelling documentary project. Faced with expectations from others that their miraculous survival must have meant they were destined for something more, what happens if they don’t end up changing the world? She handles their stories with care, bypassing the potential “freakshow” aspects of their unlikely survival to pose larger, thought-provoking questions about survivor’s guilt, one’s purpose in life, and how it’s even possible to heal from such profound loss. I’m looking forward to seeing how the project develops further.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, In the Works

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