A Horsham film director choked back tears at the world premiere of his film as he paid tribute to the historian who made the film possible - as he died two weeks ago.
Tristan Loraine, of Horsham-based Fact Not Fiction Films, introduced ‘Shady Lady’ at the Capitol Theatre to a cinema packed with actors, friends, politicians and the business leaders of the town.
Based on a true story, the film tells of an American bomber mission during the Second World War, which strikes at one of the Japanese’s oil depositories based in Balikpapan in Borneo.
It charts the crew of ‘Shady Lady’ and their 16-hour progress to and from Australia, with the situation inside the airplane becoming increasingly dire as the mission progresses.
Ross Neuenfeldt stars as pilot Doug Craig, with Gregory Kanter as his co-pilot Robert Jackson, leading the crew as they begin to run out of fuel as they make their way back to Australia.
Mr Loraine told how Lindsay Peet, a Western Australian military historian who spent the best part of two decades researching the story of Shady Lady, passed away before he had a chance to watch the film.
“Without his work it would have been a simplistic documentary, but he found these people when they were still alive,” he said.
“The engineer, Little Joe, the sole remaining survivor came up to me after the Boston showing and said ‘that was exactly as I remember it!’.”
Because a previous version was accidentally screened at the purported world premiere in Boston two weeks before, visitors were in fact treated to the world premiere in Horsham.
Mr Loraine praised the actors for filming scenes within the airplane as people were actually touring it, while up to 60 people stood outside.
There are only two of the planes still left in the world.
He thanked the Capitol Theatre, and Strada, for treating them ‘like kings’ afterwards.
The soundtrack was composed by Mortiz Schmittat and performed by Horsham Symphonic Orchestra.
Nominations are already rolling in as Mr Schmittat was nominated this week for a Hollywood Music in Media Awards in the original score -feature film category for theatrical releases, and it is not likely to stop there.
There will be a week of public screenings of Shady Lady at the Capitol Theatre, beginning on Friday November 9.
For more information visit the film’s website.