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Exclusive: CNN Films Picks Up Aviation Disaster Doc ‘Sole Survivor’ for Early 2014 Broadcast

Exclusive: CNN Films Picks Up Aviation Disaster Doc 'Sole Survivor' for Early 2014 Broadcast

CNN Films has announced today that it is acquiring Ky Dickens’ film “Sole Survivor,” about the only survivors of commercial aviation disasters.  The film, previously a Project of the Month on Indiewire, will debut early next year on the network.  It heads to the Traverse City Film Festival for its world premiere this weekend.

The complete press release is below.

CNN FILMS Acquires ‘SOLE SURVIVOR’ in Advance of Traverse City Film Festival

CNN plans for broadcast in 2014

CNN FILMS has acquired SOLE SURVIVOR, a new, feature-length documentary, examining the complicated emotional aftermath of survivors following commercial aviation disasters.  The film is written and directed by Ky Dickens and will have its global debut at Michigan’s Traverse City Film Festival on Saturday, July 27th.  It will premiere on CNN/U.S. in early 2014, following its theatrical debut.   

There have been 14 major airplane crashes with a sole survivor in the history of commercial aviation.   Most of the lone survivors have never been interviewed, and many remain traumatized by survivor’s guilt. 

Filmmaker Dickens understands well the emotional geography examined in her film.  As a young adult, Dickens herself became a survivor when she traded places in a car with a friend.  “Survivors are often considered lucky and the rescue is often considered the end to their story,” Dickens said.  “But the complexity of true survival is where our film – and the questions that it poses – begins.”

SOLE SURVIVOR centers on the journey of George Lamson, Jr.  Nearly three decades ago, as a teenager, Lamson was the lone survivor of the Galaxy Airlines flight 203 crash near Reno, NV.  Memories of surviving the crash have never been far from his mind: “During the course of my life…I have been curious to know, what makes a person heal?  People don’t understand.  It never goes away.  It’s something that stays with you for the rest of your life,” he says in the film.

Lamson seeks the community of the other 13 sole survivors of airplane crashes.  Among them, Lamson finds a young teenager who had clung to bits of aircraft for hours following her plane’s crash into the ocean, and Jim Polehinke, a former co-pilot whose struggles with survivor’s guilt are also reflected in the conflicting emotions of the family members left behind by the dead.  Each survivor has a unique journey towards healing, with some similar challenges.

“We are delighted about SOLE SURVIVOR as our latest CNN Films acquisition,” said Amy Entelis, senior vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.  “We think the universal life questions explored in this film will resonate with our viewers – who will learn that there was so much more to these stories.”

About CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media.  Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.


About the Traverse City Film Festival

The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable and educational non-profit organization founded by Academy Award-winning director and local resident Michael Moore, committed to showing “Just Great Movies” and to helping save one of America’s few indigenous art forms – the cinema. The festival brings films and filmmakers from around the world to northern Michigan for the annual film festival in late July to early August. The festival has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in the Midwest and one of the most respected in the country. The Festival operates the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay, as year-round, community-based, mission-driven and volunteer-staffed art house movie theaters.

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