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Working Together

Mark Plane
Smooth landing: Student filmmaker Mark Mazur after taking flight with pilot Colin Lee, who built the small two-seater and houses it in his barn.

Share with us some of the most memorable moments from the project.

Mark Mazur: I think the most memorable moment is the first time I started working with Grace and Shawn. Trent and I were thrown into a boat flying across a half-frozen lake with Grace holding on to the side. That’s when I realized I was doing something special and I was lucky to be a part of it.

Trent Hilborn: We hop on this boat and it’s propelled by a jet engine, and there’s no brakes. I literally had to hang off the back of the boat trying to film the driver. As the boat’s bouncing up and down on the ice I’m just trying to get the shot of the guy driving the boat. I think it was really worth it, being able to be pushed to a place I’ve never been before and to shoot something I’ve never attempted. It’s something that you don’t really get to do every day, and I’m never going to forget this.

Grace Plane

View from the Top: Journalism instructor Grace Lim and pilot Colin Lee. Lake Poygan in the background.

Shawn McAfee: When Grace learned that Colin Lee has his own plane in his backyard, she said, “Think he’d take us up?” I wasn’t going there, but Trent and Mark were all over the idea. Trent wanted to take the passenger door off so he could shoot the lake without anything blocking his shot. That wasn’t going to happen. Grace did feel a twinge of guilt when she saw Colin and Trent fly off, what looked like, into the sun. She said to me: “You know how doctors have that Hippocratic oath, something about ‘First do no harm.’” I said, “Yeah?” She said, “Teachers don’t have anything like that, do they?”

As an instructor, what do you think is the benefit of working with students on a project like this?

Grace Lim: Trent and Mark recognize and love good stories, and they are scarily fearless. I loved that they pushed me as hard I as I pushed them. There is one phrase that my journalism teachers have passed along to me that I pass to my students. It is a phrase that pierces the heart of every writer: “Kill your darlings.” That means to get rid of the passages or scenes (in the case of the documentary) that do not move the story along. I knew that Trent and Mark understood that lesson fully when during a highly emotional editing session, they yelled, “Kill your darlings, Grace!”

What was it like working with Grace and Shawn?

Trent Hilborn: Shawn is like a cool summer day, and Grace is like when Armageddon happens and fire’s raining from the sky. But you know what? That’s the fun part. When the fire’s raining from the sky, you’re really excited and get to do things you normally wouldn’t be able to do.

Trailer for Airboat Rescue 1: When the Ice Breaks

Music composed and performed by Andre Gaskins


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