THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR and the newly remastered DVD celebrating the 30th anniversary of human-powered flight.1978 Academy Award Documentary Short Subject – From Shedd Productions, Inc. Released August 28, 2007

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the world’s first successful human-powered airplane flight, the 1978 Academy Award winning Documentary Short Subject THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR has been remastered in HD and digitally restored from a brand new Academy Film Archive preservation film print.

Paul MacCready’s Gossamer Condor airplane flew into aviation history on August 23, 1977 and now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum where a clip of this award winning film is part of the exhibit.

The Academy Award winning THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR film tells the inspiring true story of creating and building history’s first successful human-powered airplane. Renowned inventor Dr. Paul MacCready and his team were filmed creating the world-famous pedaled-powered airplane as it happened.

Filmmaker Ben Shedd and Producer Jacqueline Phillips Shedd received the 1978 Academy Award® Oscar® for Best Documentary Short Subject and 14 other International film awards for THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR.

THE RESTORATION AND NEW DVD:  In 2005, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began showing a film series featuring the Documentary Film Academy Award winners through the years.  This fall 2007 brings the 1978 Academy Award winners, including THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR short subject.  The Academy Film Archive has made new preservation prints for many of these documentaries.

Shedd Productions, Inc. placed the film’s original negative in the Academy’s Archive, and in early 2007, the Academy Archive made a new print of THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR film for the Academy’s Documentary Academy Award winners film series.  With the inclusion of the film in a new High School Engineering curriculum – Project Lead The Way’s Introduction to Engineering first week’s classes – and a request from Paul MacCready’s company Aerovironment for 600 DVDs to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Gossamer Condor’s Kremer Prize winning flight, the DVD remastering project was fast tracked and now available.

The Post Group in Los Angeles did the transfer to High Definition digital on a Spirit machine from the Academy’s color corrected preservation 16mm Interpositive, and then did a digital restoration.

Lightning Media replicated the original VHS video cover using the original artwork and created the DVD Authoring and Special Features with director Ben Shedd.

LAGraphico added to the digital restoration of the new DVD cover and printed the DVD holder on environmentally friendly cardboard with soy based inks.

The DVD had its world premiere on August 23, 2007, the 30th anniversary of the Gossamer Condor’s landmark flight into aviation history.  The Academy’s preservation print will be shown in Los Angeles on September 24, 2007 at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater as part of the Oscar Documentary series.

THE MAKING OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR FILM:  Producing THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR film documenting the development of a man’s dream into a scientific and historic reality was, in itself, an extraordinary effort. There was an immense risk involved in making a commitment to film a scientist’s effort at achieving something which had never before been done successfully in all of human history.

Filmmaker Ben Shedd met Dr. Paul MacCready soon after MacCready had drawn the original first plans for the Gossamer Condor human-powered airplane. Shedd used his NOVA producer experience to do extensive research into human-powered flight and MacCready’s sketches, and Shedd recognized that if such flight were possible, Dr. MacCready’s design for the Gossamer Condor should achieve it – and if his design failed, then human-powered flight was probably impossible.

With no guarantee of success, the film team followed the events as they occurred for almost an entire year, filming every stage of the plane’s development.

The Gossamer Condor project took nearly nine months longer than its designers originally thought, and producers Jacqueline Phillips Shedd and Ben Shedd maintained their determined commitment to document the project.

MacCready’s design went through 12 major prototypes and over 400 test flights before finally culminating on August 23, 1977 when Bryan Allen flew the Gossamer Condor into aviation history by completing the mile-long Kremer Prize figure-8 course in 6 minutes, 22 seconds.

The flight won Paul MacCready and his team 50,000 British Pounds, nearly $100,000. All this is captured on film, including the final, historic flight.

The 27 minute film is cut from over 25 hours of cinema-vérite footage, showing the persistent and creative efforts of the plane’s design team.

Filmmaker Ben Shedd feels that finding Dr. MacCready when he did was “like finding the Wright Brothers just before they built their first gliders and following them to Kitty Hawk, camera in hand to film what they did.”

THE FILM TODAY:  THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR film has had many audiences over the decades, from pilots and aviation fans to classrooms of students to the general public.  For the past decade, a clip from the film runs continuously as part of the Gossamer Condor exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

The film was originated in 16mm color negative film and in 1985 a video version was made.  The 2007 Academy Documentary screening coincides with celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Gossamer Condor’s flight into aviation history and, with support from the Academy Film Archives, a brand new DVD has been released, remastered in High Definition and digitally restored from the Academy’s preservation film print.  Now 30 years later, a new High School Engineering curriculum Project Lead The Way is using the film in classrooms and whole new audiences will be seeing the film through the new DVD.  Thanks to the Academy Film Archive for making the new preservation film print from the original film negative for this screening.

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Production Credits:  Churchill Films presents a Shedd Production * Directed & Written by Ben Shedd * Produced by Jacqueline Phillips Shedd * Director of Photography: Boyd Estus * Sound Design and Mix: John Brasher * Edited by Ben Shedd & Mary Bauer * Graphic & Title Design: Jeff McGrath * Associate Producers: Oscar Williams & Boyd Estus * Narrated by Roger Steffens * Additional photography: Fred Elms, Carl Boenish, Michael Murphy, Kyoichi Furusawa, Patrick Allen, Ben Shedd, Terry and Donna Morrison * Sound Recording: Leslie Shatz, Wolf Seberg, Peter Hliddal, George Stupar, Keniche Yoshida, John Barbee, Jacqueline Phillips Shedd * Assistant Sound Editor: Roberta Doheny – FX Recording: Lars Nelson * Special Consultant: Winter D. Horton Jr. Centre Films * Still Photography: Mariana Gosnell, James Joseph, Paul and Judy MacCready * Production Assistants: Nancy Audley, Michael Bloecher, Susan Motteau, Dick Shedd, Mark Brewer, Jan Colmar, Jim Rice * Special Assistant: Nara Shedd * Special Thanks: Harry and Florence Phillips, Robert and Beverly Shedd, * Robert Churchill, George McQuilken, Peter Hoffman, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, Simon Campbell-Jones, Paul MacCready and the Gossamer Condor crew, Aerovironment, Inc. BBC, NBC News

THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR 30th Anniversary DVD Press Release            

Uploaded 08/Dec/2013