Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Premieres Straight Up! Helicopters In Action

Press Release
Sunday September 1, 2002
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Peter Golkin 202-633-2374
Public information: 202-633-1000
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Public Showings begin September 20

The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum will take audiences out for a spin of a different sort with the new large format film Straight Up! Helicopters in Action.

The 42-minute production distributed by SK Films Inc. premieres September 18 in the National Air and Space Museum's Lockheed Martin IMAX® Theater [Public Showings begin September 20].

Narrated by actor Martin Sheen, Straight Up! celebrates the critical, yet often-unheralded, role helicopters play in a turbulent world.

Sheen's narration guides the audience through a series of heart-pounding missions, each one requiring the unique maneuvering and lifting abilities that make the helicopter an essential tool.

Among the film's sequences: a U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance mission; an air-sea U.S. Coast Guard rescue; relocation of endangered black rhinos in South Africa; U.N delivery of humanitarian aid in war-torn Sierra Leone; an air-sea drug interdiction; a dangerous high-tension power line repair; and an alpine rescue and medevac sequence by Rega, the Swiss national air rescue organization, following an avalanche.

As shown in the film, helicopters not only are capable of rapidly responding to emergencies but in some cases make the difference between life and death.

Museum Director Gen. J. R. "Jack" Dailey, a decorated military pilot who has flown both airplanes and helicopters, predicts Straight Up! will give audiences a greater appreciation of the unique nature of vertical flight as they travel along with skilled helicopter crews on a series of adventures .

According to Gen. Dailey, "Not only do we educate, but we inspire. And one of the best ways to inspire people is to give them the feeling that they are taking part in something. When it comes to capturing the experiences of flight without actually leaving the ground, nothing compares to IMAX®."

Straight Up! is the National Air and Space Museum's ninth large format film presentation. In addition to showing at the Lockheed Martin IMAX® Theater, it will have a featured run in the theater of the museum's new companion facility - the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - opening at Washington Dulles International Airport in December 2003.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will be home to the museum's extensive vertical flight collection, which includes the first helicopter to carry a president of the United Sates (Dwight D. Eisenhower), the first helicopter powered by a turbine engine and the oldest surviving helicopter.

Straight Up! director and cinematographer David Douglas (Survival Island, Rolling Stones at the Max and Academy Award®-nominated Fires of Kuwait,) spares no angle to provide the rich visuals. Straight Up! was filmed over 18 months on three continents: North America, Europe and Africa

The film was produced by Jonathan Barker and Diane Roberts. Patricia Rice Woodside served as executive producer along with Barker. SK Films Inc., which produced the film for the museum, will handle distribution to IMAX® and other large screen theaters world wide. SK Films Inc. was established by Shaftesbury Films Inc. to develop, produce and distribute large-format films.

Sponsors are EADS N.V./Eurocopter, Agusta Aerospace Corporation, Bell Helicopter Textron, The Boeing Company, Sikorsky Aircraft, Rolls-Royce North America, the U.S. Marine Corps, Groen Brothers, PPL Corporation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U. S. Customs Service. Additional financing was provided from a group of helicopter operators let by the Helicopter Association International.

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