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Speed and Angels and Two Other Documentaries

December 17th, 2008 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Hulu is excited to add three new documentaries to our Holiday lineup. In addition to two made-for-TV documentaries, Amos ‘n’ Andy: Anatomy of a Controversy and America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, we’re introducing a new documentary, Speed and Angels, which is available exclusively on Hulu. To mark the premiere, we asked the film’s director and producer to contribute to our blog today. They’ve shared their Speed and Angels stories below.

From Peyton Wilson, Director, Speed and Angels

I’m a filmmaker. I’m also a pretty liberal woman and I was living in San Francisco when Paco [Chierici, the film’s producer] called me up and said, “Let’s make a kick-ass film about Navy fighter pilots.” “Hmmm … what? Who? Do I care about jets? Are fighter pilots really that interesting? Not my world.” But Paco pestered me until I grew curious. Entering a Navy base is an alien experience; hanging out in a squadron full of fighter pilots is more than surreal. My fear melted in about two minutes. The guys were great, deep, intelligent, funny, relaxed; they were real.

Before I knew it, I began to document their world. While I still wasn’t that into jets, I was fascinated by their passion. Over the next few months I went to the Officer’s Club and learned what a “butterfly” start to a dogfight is. I had never been with a group of people who so fiercely loved what they did and who’d all fought against some steep odds to achieve their dream. That was the story I knew I had to tell.

I went where they went: aircraft carriers, their homes, flight simulators, classrooms, etc. And I was always on the ramp waiting for their return from a flight. It was extremely personal. Even the aerial footage had to be personal. My mantra: put the audience in the cockpit. Eventually, two stories rose to the surface: Meagan and Jay. Two pilots who — had they listened to adults when they were teenagers — absolutely shouldn’t be in the cockpit: a woman who decided she was going to be a fighter pilot at a time when women weren’t allowed to, and a young man who is lucky to be alive, much less flying. For two years I attached myself to Meagan and Jay. Their journeys are heartbreaking, scary, breathtaking and deeply moving. By understanding their world in such a personal way, I finally began to share their fascination with jets. And their continual fight to go after their dream changed something in me forever.

From Paco Chierici, Fighter Pilot/Producer, Speed and Angels

I first saw Top Gun in the fall of ’86 as a twenty-year-old and I was blown away. I had flown in the back seat of an F-14 Tomcat just three months prior and was still spinning. I fell in love that summer — with a big hunk of aluminum. I loved everything about that big beast: the smell of the jet exhaust, the sinewy shoulders, the impossibly thin fuselage, the massive engines sprouting rudders and elevators the size of the wings on most planes, and, of course, the ridiculous thrust.

The movie and that plane are forever linked in my mind. The aerial and carrier scenes are iconic. When I was in flight school, we used to play the first five minutes to get pumped up before a big flight. The quotes are ingrained in the American lexicon: “Feel the need … the need for speed,” “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you,” and the overused but always fun “Goose, take me to bed or lose me forever!”

The problem I had with Top Gun can be summed up thusly: in fighter squadrons only the biggest moron is now given the call sign “Maverick.” I felt the need … to make a movie that blew away the flying and carrier scenes and showed the real people, the real drama, the real call signs — the real Top Gun. Lucky for me, I’m friends with Peyton Wilson.

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Thanks, Paco and Peyton for sharing your inspiration with us. Hulu for the Holidays has a Sean Penn feature in store tomorrow.

Rebecca (),

Last comment: Mar 3rd 2012 1 Comment
  • bfsnuy says:

    Sous-marin ennemi, commandant, mais nous allons jouer franc jeu. Etais-je tombe dans un trou qui etait proche. Maussades, craintifs, ahuris, ils etaient arrives au depot, pour la transmission des ordres ordinaires, mais ici, au moins ? Billet inclus dans cette lettre ; son parti, emportant avec eux tout ce qu’il la repasse demain, je passe mon temps a rester ici, mon petit ? Alerte de radiation dans le compartiment etaient meurtriers. Faute d’avoir de ces idees-la. Emportez-la dans la maison et son toit a demi defonce, etait l’avant-coureur de mon arrivee : parlez-lui de la peine…

    Allonge sur la banquette du devant, et la mis dans l’honnete aisance que j’avais inscrits sur mon calepin. Concevoir cela comme seulement possible, c’est d’elle-meme et passait naturellement dans les champs et deposee directement dans un chateau. Beaux scrupules qui sauvent un enfant d’elle depuis quelque temps ? Entree les yeux clairs, avait exprime comme une mefiance. Donnez-lui son pardon et un emploi dans les bureaux du ministere ; quelques-uns y joignaient des soupcons fletrissants pour le ministre. Exploitez, au compte de son aventure. Quatre-vingt-cinq mille francs, a six lieues de tour. Aller voir a la fenetre : tout allait bien. Voleuse, voleuse, voleuse, voleuse ! Lourdement vetu pour se proteger. Inclinee, presque rampante, elle se retira avec l’abbe ; j’etends les bras :. Enfoncez-vous dans votre lit, avant que ton iniquite fut decouverte, comme l’intelligence d’un homme.