From Detroit to Miami – all in aid of the veterans

By: Film Producer Gail Downey
From: Whirlwind Productions/Nose Art Films
Twitter: @NoseArtFilms

This is the final of three blogs from our friend Gail Downey, the Director and Producer of Nose Art & Pin-Ups. Following on from her previous blog in which she told us how she got the wheels in motion to create her new DVD, she now details the story of her trip across America in search of veterans…..

As mentioned last week, I have been helped in pulling together Nose Art and Pin Ups by Mike Faley, who is on the board of directors of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society. We found Don Allen, crew chief looking after aircraft of the Fourth Fighter Group based at Debden near Saffron Walden in WW and he gave me contact details of around a dozen other veterans.

Because the film was about Nose Art and the stories behind those images, the first question I had to ask the veterans was – did they have Nose Art or Pin Ups on their aircraft?

Thankfully most said yes. This meant I could then go on to ask them to share their stories of life in England and their missions. You must remember of course that these were men in their mid to late eighties and yet when they talked of the past, their friends lost and battles won, they became animated, as though they had gone back in time, so vivid were their memories.

Stories included those from Don Freer, captain of the bombers “Stinky” and “Easy Does It” who spoke of how he had to bail out of the burning aircraft and then watched it explode in flames only minutes later.

Others, like Bob Barnhart, a fighter pilot, told how he had managed to get a picture of his wife painted on his aircraft because it just so happened a portrait artist was on the ground crew.

Once I had their permission to come over and film, my next job was to buy a map of the USA and work out the quickest and cheapest way to get around. When you are self-funding a film you need to make every mile count! So I bought the biggest map I could find, which covered the floor in the sitting room for two weeks – the rule being no-one was allowed to tread on it or move it as it was covered with sticky bits of paper with names, addresses and contact details.

The plan was to interview all the veterans on the East Coast from Detroit to Miami – driving most of the way – but with one internal flight which took us from Washington to Atlanta. What I didn’t count on was just how varied the weather would be – and how border agents in the USA almost stopped the project before it had begun!

Nose Art and Pin Ups is available from Amazon UK and Ebay UK at £15.99 plus p and p.

Please support this project and help keep these veterans’ stories alive. To continue the story, visit the official Nose Art Films blog here.

Gail Downey, Nose Art Films


Posted on September 20, 2012, in "marketing", Social media marketing, Video News Release, Video PR and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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