If you aren’t awestruck by the fact that a quarter million people are zooming through the sky right now with drinks in hand, you are probably part of the majority. However, Brian Terwilliger wants to change that.
Terwilliger is the director and producer of "Living in the Age of Airplanes," which premiered Wednesday night at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Dressed to the nines, chatty people crowded under the museum's planes hanging from the ceiling, getting their fill of drinks and appetizers before shuffling into the Lockheed-Martin IMAX theater.
After introductions by the museum director, retired Gen. John R. Dailey, and Brooke Runnette, president of National Geographic Studios, Terwilliger took the stage. He got slightly emotional recalling his eighth grade experience watching “To Fly” in the same theater where his own film premiered.
Terwillinger's film was designed to re-inspire awe in the miracle of flight and it's a bit of a love letter to flight. One person even remarked it reminded them of "Love, Actually."
In a phone interview with the director, Terwilliger said the idea for the film started with the question, “How do I capture the same passion that I have for non-fliers … to get them to see flying how I see flying?”
He added, “You decide window or aisle … it isn’t especially exciting” but there are “people in seats in the sky having soft drinks. You couldn’t imagine this 100 years ago.” Terwilliger hopes audiences see “how the airplane changed the world, changed our lives.”
Echoing a line from the movie, he added that in an airport you are “walking distance to anywhere.”
Production took Terwilliger to 18 countries, on all seven continents. One standout sequence is in Maldives, a country of islands connected primarily through seaplanes. The film argues planes go anywhere boats can go, and some places that they can’t. Terwilliger emphasized that point with a cheeky shot of a seaplane merrily floating past a rusted shipwreck.
Terwilliger argues that the less you like aviation “the more there is to get out of .” In a time when examples abound of air travel's inconveniences and hazards, the director sees his film as a positive perspective “just when we need it.” Terwilliger added he hoped viewers would walk away saying, “‘I’ll never look at airplanes the same way.’”
The 47-minute movie begins its run at the museum on April 10.
The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.